Updated: Jan 19
Nanny Vs. Daycare: Advantages and Disadvantages
Every family has different circumstances and needs so in each case the choice of whether to hire a nanny or a daycare will be different and therefore, each family should consider the pros and cons of each before making an informed decision. As a former Daycare Director in NYC and as a nanny employer, I have come to learn the major advantages and disadvantages of Nanny vs. Daycare.
Ultimately it is your choice and our goal to objectively relate some proven facts about each child care option.
Advantages for Hiring a Nanny:
One-on-one care of your children, especially necessary for an infant or young toddler.
Flexible scheduling – the hours are what you need them to be and unlike daycare, the nanny won’t close if you’re stuck in traffic or worse… call the precinct.
Most nannies can help with light housekeeping chores as time permits allowing you to come home to folded laundry and cleaned dishes.
Child activities – nannies can arrange play dates and take children to classes, doctor appointments, shopping, etc. which means interaction for your child as well as less time off at work.
Increased learning – Nannies working closely with children will be able to teach them more effectively and play to your child’s strengths and interests rather than the groups.
Convenience - No need to wake baby or take out early morning in the winter, pack up bottles, etc. before work. No need to rush home for pick up.
Trusted loving Care – You will choose who to hire as your personal nanny vs. daycare where you have no real say so in who is in your child’s ‘room’.
Long Term Care – A nanny can stay with your family for many years, but it is likely in day care your child will switch daycare teachers at least 1x per year or more if turnover is high.
More involvement and outdoor activities – you can create your own schedule and your child’s day, you can plan museum outings, etc.
Studies show that young infants and toddlers develop best when they have only one primary caregiver (other than parents) during the majority of their day.
Disadvantages for Hiring a Nanny:
Cost – a qualified full time nanny will cost anywhere from $500-800 per week.
Supervision – a nanny usually works unsupervised which makes some families uncomfortable that they don’t always know what their nanny is doing.
Privacy – the nanny will work closely with your family and will likely become somewhat apart of the family and may come across confidential or personal information about your family.
Reliability – a nanny is one person and may get sick or need some time off for whatever reason or may possibly be late a time or two.
Advantages of Daycare:
Socialization with children of the same age usually, although some daycares mix all ages together.
Reliability – Daycare has set hours, days of operation, etc. so generally there are no last minute surprises.
Checks and balances – most daycares have more than one worker in each room and a director who oversees them all which may cut back on any mistreatment or neglectfulness.
Cost – Daycare will usually cost half of that of a nanny ($200-400 per week) but this is not as much of an issue if you have more than 1child needing daycare.
No employee/employer relationship. No need to worry about employer taxes and managing an employee in general (communication, figuring sick days, vacation, benefits, etc.)
Disadvantages of Daycare:
Lack of individual attention for each child. Daycare groups are usually 7-8 for infants and 10-15 for toddlers and more for preschoolers. In particular for infant groups, it is impossible to care for every infant on demand. Some will cry until hands are freed from caring for other babies – this is probably the toughest part of daycare, especially for young children.
Sickness and accidents – with more children and less attention to hygiene, sharing, etc. it is normal for children to frequently spread germs from one to the other. Accidents, falls, biting are all common because even the best daycare program cannot keep an eye on all children all the time.
Turn over – turnover is generally higher than that of a nanny so classes may go through 3 or more teachers in each room per year. Some daycares have a different staff come in for the afternoon session to relieve the earlier workers.
Lack of convenience – strict times, closings, and drop off/pick up may make getting to and from work more difficult.
No sick care – since illness is more prevalent in daycare, children who are sick cannot attend (rightfully so), and there will surely be calls to home for sickness pick up and the child will need to be fever or sick free for at least 24hrs before returning.
Our Personal Recommendation:
We recommend that families hire a nanny for a minimum of the first 2 years before placing the child in any daycare program. At 2yrs, we suggest very part time daycare enrollment (2 half days) with a combination of nanny care. Each year, daycare hours may be increased according to your child’s individual adjustment. With that being said, everyone’s circumstances are different and we have found success in both nanny and day care – the key is finding the right fit for your family and the best care for your child.