The inevitable will come, your maternity leave will end, it will be time to go back to work, and for most of us, this means leaving our sweet baby with a caregiver. Talk about a stressful choice. Choosing your childcare, who you will trust this precious new life with while you are at work, is no joke. If you are wondering “which child care option is best for me”, then before you even begin to evaluate individuals you’ll need to make a choice, daycare or a nanny. There is no obvious right answer here but there is a slew of pros and cons you should consider. Read on, evaluate the pros and cons of each option and then confidently make the choice that is best for you and your baby.
Daycare Vs Nanny Pros and Cons
Daycare is not unlike a school. There are rules and requirements for how the children are treated and the business is run. This provides a safety net you can rely on, knowing that state standards are being met. To be sure, this only applies if you choose a regulated and sanctioned daycare (versus the pop-up in your neighbor’s basement).
Multiple adults monitoring each other
Daycares will have a staff. This means that multiple adults, by default will be monitoring each other. There will always be an extra set of eyes around. You can find comfort in knowing that these adults not only are indirectly keeping tabs on each other but also providing each other support when needed.
Multiple reference sources
More families utilize a daycare then a nanny could ever support. This means you will have more references to base your choice on. This is good. If you choose daycare as your childcare option utilize those options. Get references directly from your daycare and contact them. Use google to research reviews. Finally, utilize your mom-network to find others who have attended the daycare you are considering.
Early interaction with other children
Attending daycare means your baby will, by nature, interact with many other babies at various stages of development. It seems that this supports their own development as they learn not only from teachers but from their little baby peers.
Early exposure to sickness
Seriously, it’s a good thing. Your little one will begin to develop his immune system earlier on.
Interaction with other adults
As daycares have a staff, your babe will learn early to trust multiple caregivers rather than relying on a select 2-3 (you, your partner and your nanny).
Daycare schedules mean guaranteed care. Institutions don’t get sick or injured. You can count on daycare to be open when they say they will.
The hours are the hours. If you are running late for pick-up it will be a problem.
Lack of 1:1 care
While there are multiple adults, there will almost always be more than 1 child per adult and so your child will be treated as a member of group rather than have undivided attention or a tailored schedule.
Inconvenience of drop-off and pickup
You will need to get your babe dressed and the meals packed (bottles ready) each day, this adds time to your morning routine. Then, depending on the location of your daycare you will most likely be adding time to your commute.
Minimal input into curriculum
It’s amazing that daycares have a curriculum but you have little say in what that curriculum is. You won’t get to pick your little one’s daily activities.
Forced holidays and in-service
The holiday schedule is the holiday schedule. It may not coincide with your work holidays and so on those days when daycare is closed, you will need to find alternative care, which may mean planning to take time off.
Early exposure to sickness
Ok, it’s a con too, your little one will most likely be sick more often than if he was not in daycare.
A nanny’s job, is your taking of your baby and your baby alone.
Your nanny will need time-off, but you’ll be able to negotiate with her which days work best for you and your family.
You pick the curriculum and schedule
You will provide the guidelines to your nanny how your little one’s day should go.
Convenience of at home care
Your nanny shows up to your door. You won’t need to spend time getting your little on or the meals ready in the morning unless you want to.
Consistency of a caregiver
Unlike daycare, this childcare option allows for the same caregiver to grow with your baby. A nanny may be with your little one until he goes to school. This allows for a deeper bond with the caregiver and reduces the stress of classroom transitions some little ones have.
Conflict in parenting style
If you and your nanny do not agree on a certain aspect of parenting such as sleeping, feeding or development, things can get contentious. Pro-tip: Before hiring a nanny be sure you both agree on your key parenting philosophy.
1 unmonitored adult
Your nanny will be alone with your baby. There will be no one there to watch her and be sure she is doing what you want. There will be no one there to relive her if you child is having a long drawn out emotionally difficult day.
Lack of early social interaction
Your babe will not spend as much time learning and growing with friends and therefore miss out on some of the social development that comes with that.
There are a few hidden costs that pop up with a nanny making the option more expensive than just her salary. You may also need to pay for her lunch, transportation, time off and insurance. You will most likely also pay for activities your nanny can take you child to, whereas with daycare, activities are built in.
Time to make your choice: daycare or nanny
Now, you have the pros and cons of daycare vs. nanny. What stands out the most to you? Where do you find the most value? Which cons are non-starters? Take this list and talk through it with your partner. It’s a nerve racking choice, listen to your intuition as well as your mind. Then, make your choice, based on what’s best for you and your baby. You got this mama!
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