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 is to objectively (as possible) relate some proven facts about each child care option.
Advantages for Hiring a Nanny:
One-on-one care of your children, especially beneficial for an infant or young toddler.
Flexible scheduling – the hours are what you need them to be and unlike daycare, the nanny can usually work earlier or stay later when needed (including weekends).
More Help - Most nannies can help with other chores and light housekeeping as time permits offering help to fold laundry, clean dishes, bathe baby and organize play areas.
Child activities – nannies can arrange play dates and take children to classes and outings, which means interaction for your child as well as less time off at work.
Individualized Care – Nannies working closely with your child and will be able to engage more effectively, supporting your child’s individual strengths and interests.
Convenience - No need to wake baby or bring out early morning in the winter, pack up bottles, etc. before work. No need to rush to daycare for pick up.
Your Preferences – You will choose who to hire as your personal nanny vs. daycare where you have no real say so in who is actually caring for your child all day.
Long Term Care – A nanny may stay with your family for many years, unlike daycare where turnover and room changes are relatively frequent and unpredictable.
More Involvement – you can create your own schedule and your child’s day, you can plan museum outings and more, working closely with the nanny.
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 $20-35/hour.
Supervision – a nanny usually has full-charge care of the children so they typically have less direct supervision during the course of the day.
Privacy – the nanny will work closely with your family and will likely become somewhat apart of the family and may learn confidential or personal information about your family.
Availability – a nanny is one person and may get sick or need some occasional time off for vacation or personal reasons.
Advantages of Daycare:
Socialization with other children throughout the day.
Reliability – Daycare has set hours, days of operation, etc. so 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 increases supervision.
Cost – Daycare will usually cost half that of a nanny but this becomes less of an issue if you plan on having more than one child.
No employee/employer relationship. No need to worry managing an employee and figuring out time off, pay increases, 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 very common 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 – Pay is typically lower and turnover is generally much higher in daycare so classes may go through 2-3 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 home and 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 24-48 hrs 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 (2-3 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.
For help with finding the right nanny for your family, submit your child care needs and one of our Nanny Placement Specialists will be in touch with you soon!
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