There are a lot of reasons why you might need to use child care services. Whether you need to return to work after maternity leave or you’d like an extra pair of hands around the house, child care is a great option and can make a huge difference. But deciding between sending your child to a daycare facility or keeping them home with a nanny can be a difficult choice.
It comes without saying that deciding on who you want to care for the safety and development of your child is a massive decision. You will be letting this person (or persons) be in charge of the most important part of your life.
Here to help, we’ve put together a list of pros and cons to make it easier for you make a decision that’s best for you and your child.
Daycare facilities are designed to care for a classroom full of children throughout the day. Parents can drop off their little ones at day care and know they are in safe hands with a staff of trained caregivers.
Traditional daycare facilities and in-home daycares are two child care options you will most likely be choosing from. Some people are lucky enough to work for a company that provides daycare facilities at their place of work. Whatever type of daycare you decide, check to make sure they meet licensing standards that prove they provide high-quality child care.
Daycares are state-regulated and accredited. Whether a daycare operates inside someone’s home or at another location, they should be accredited. This proves that they meet certain quality, safety, academic, and social standards—and give you peace of mind that you’re sending your child to a good location.
They can be more affordable. Since the cost of operations is spread across other families at the daycare, it often costs less to send your child to daycare compared to a nanny. The price varies depending on where you live and the type of facility you’re looking at. Child care centers that run out of someone’s home are usually more affordable than traditional daycare centers.
Your child will have more social interaction with other kids. Spending time with other children is an important part of your child’s development. Daycares let them play with children their own age and develop social skills needed throughout their lives.
Your child will get less one-on-one attention with staff. Even though daycare regulations keep the staff-to-child ratio as low as possible, daycare staff are spread thin. Your child will be competing with other children for their attention and care.
Daycares have a less flexible schedule. This could be both a pro and a con depending on your work situation. If you have a 9 to 5 schedule, daycares can be a stress-free scheduling option. But if you need more flexibility in drop-off and pick-up times, daycare’s structured hours may not be your best option.
Your child will be more exposed to germs. Considering the current state of the world, exposure to germs and viruses are a big concern for parents. While daycares should have a thorough cleaning plan in place, there’s no guarantee your child will not get sick from other children at the daycare.
Nannies are child care specialists who provide one-on-one help with your child from your own home. Having a modern-day Mary Poppins helping out around the house can be a great relief. Especially for parents who need an extra pair of hands around while still keeping control of their own schedule and parenting style.
The responsibilities of your nanny can vary depending on whether they’re part or full-time and if they live in your home. But aside from being a watchful eye, nannies can also help with cooking, cleaning, running errands, and teaching your child.
They work around your schedule. If you work from home or have a crazy schedule, a nanny can make sure your child has parental supervision at all times. Whatever hours you need someone to look after your child, you can structure your nanny’s time to fit those needs.
Your child is your nanny’s only focus. When you hire a nanny, their primary responsibility is to make your life easier. There’s no sharing their attention with a classroom of other kids. Your child (or children) get all the love and care they need.
You have more input and control. Since nannies work from your own home, you’ll always be in close contact with them. When you send your child to daycare, what happens there is pretty much out of your control. With a nanny, you can discuss your preferred parenting style and make sure your child is still raised the way you want.
Nannies can be more expensive. That undivided attention and personalized child care can come at a steep price. Nannies tend to cost significantly more than daycares. The price depends on house roles, the number of children they’re caring for, and how many hours they work. But having an individual nanny can be out of many families’ budgets.
There aren’t any nanny regulations. The nanny market is widely unchecked, making it difficult to find a nanny that you can trust with your family. Make sure you hire a nanny through a reputable agency that does background checks and vetting.
They may have a different parenting style. Parents often have specific parenting styles they want to use on their children. If your nanny decides to take a different approach, tensions may arise. Be sure to ask your potential nanny about their child care style, and make sure it aligns with yours.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day you have to do what is best for both you and your child. It will take a while for your child to adjust to someone new taking care of them. But it’s sometimes necessary for you and your family. When making this challenging decision, find out what aspects of child care are most important to your family. Your financial situation, location constraints, and personal health concerns will all be large factors in your choice. But make sure to keep in mind what environment you feel your child will thrive in. After all, they’re the ones who this decision is all about.