When choosing which childcare option is the right fit for your family there is much to consider. New parents may find themselves overwhelmed weighing out the differences between a daycare and a private nanny for your child. It is important to have as much information as possible on both options so that you can make the choice that is best for you. A Daycare center is a cost-effective choice, especially for families on a strict budget. Daycares run on specific hours so be sure that your work schedule aligns with them. Many of them charge an extra fee if you are late picking up your child. Quite like school they also have a no sick policy. If your child becomes ill, they will be sent home. If they have a fever, they will need to be fever free for 24 hours without medication before they can return. You will need to be prepared with backup care or have the ability to stay home from work yourself when this happens. Your child will be with a group of children each day with several caregivers, and a snack, lunch, and nap time schedule set up by the individual daycare. This is to ensure that the day runs as smoothly as possible having all of the children on the same schedule. The pros of interacting with other children are part of the daily routine, while the cons of being exposed to group toys and germs often means your child becoming sick more frequently then when they have in home care. Most daycare centers will send you home with a daily update on your child’s diaper changes and meals. While the caregivers tend to the children, they must split their time between all of the children so that all are cared for. Similar to guaranteed hours that a nanny requires, a daycare will also require consistent payment even when you have times away. This is part of keeping your child’s spot and the costs involved with running the daycare and paying the employees.
A Private Nanny is a very personal form of childcare and is the most expensive form of childcare. A professional private nanny is well worth the expense if your family is able to do so. Unlike a daycare center who has many children coming, your nanny is hired specifically to care for your children and to focus on their growth, development, and individual needs. Your nanny will come to your home allowing you to be able to head to work without having to pack up the children and leave early to drop them off. You can choose a nanny who is available for your specific work hours rather than running on the set hours of a daycare. Having an in-home nanny means a special personal relationship for your children that can allow them to feel secure, safe, and loved in your absence. Nannies are most often willing to work when your child is sick allowing you to continue to work. Keep in mind if your child has the flu, stomach bug, or other extremely contagious condition it is best to send your nanny home so that she stays well. With the common cold, ear infections, and other such things that arise in children frequently you will have peace of mind that they are in good care with your nanny. With a nanny you and your nanny have control over setting schedules for meals, naps, activities, and outings that are appropriate for your child. Your nanny is not splitting her time and attention with many children, but rather giving just yours the highest quality of personal care in the comfort of their own home. The social aspect for your children is not lost when hiring a nanny. In fact, instead of interacting in one place all week long, your nanny can take your children to many outings and activities such as story times, the science center, museums, play dates, classes of your choice, and so much more. Nannies help out with the children’s laundry, children’s meals, cleaning bottles, helping to maintain tidy play areas and bedrooms, all of which can make your daily life a lot easier. A nanny is often a preferred choice that allows parents to have a work and family life balance. Your nanny can keep a daily log specific to your child with feedings, activities, and many other details of their days. She may even send you pictures of fun things your child did on their outings. She will help with milestones such as Potty training, and an experienced nanny can be a valuable source of information for you. Together you can discuss the needs and growth of your individual children and have a weekly schedule and plan tailored just for them. Nannies who have been with families for several years often remain a special friend to your child after they are no longer needed full time. They may enjoy keeping up with your family over the years having built a relationship with you during their time as your nanny. This type of bond is unique to having a nanny.
The bottom line is there is no right or wrong. Choosing the childcare that is right for you is a very personal choice and one that only you can make. It may be a good idea to make a list of things that are important to you so that you can best choose which option makes sense for you at this time. If a nanny feels like the right fit for you yet is a stretch financially you may also consider a Nanny-share. We will discuss this further in a future blog, but it is a great way for two families to share a nanny and the costs that are involved while giving their children personal care.
We wish you the best and are happy to answer any questions that may arise while you make your childcare choices!
By: Anne-Marie Ferraro