Many parents struggle to determine where to send their child while they are at work. While it’s great that some families have the option to lean on grandparents to help out, many others don’t have that option and are left to find child care on their own. According to the Center for American Progress, 1 quarter of children under 5 are in some form of child care.
So, which do you choose?
Your decision will be determined by two things: time and money. While daycares are typically less expensive on a weekly basis than hiring a nanny, it’s also important to consider not only which will be best for your child, but for you as the parent, too.
Studies have shown that the wellness of parents is influential on a child’s IQ, well-being, and ability to form a relationship, reports Sarah Griesemer, Ph.D. So ultimately, what affects you will eventually trickle down to your child. We’ve laid out the pros and cons of both hiring a nanny or enrolling in daycare that you should consider when choosing what care provider to go with.
Works with your schedule
One of the best parts of having a nanny is the ability to have them when you need them, and not just between certain hours of the day or week. Need to run errands for the day? Have the nanny come over or go when they are scheduled to be at your house. Overall, you get to decide when you need the care.
Whether you have one or three children working with the nanny, your child will have individualized care tailored to their needs that they may not necessarily receive in daycare.
Can help with additional duties
A nanny can cook, help with housework, run errands, or take your children where they need to be. This option is great for parents who don’t always have time for the chores around the house.
You’re the boss
Since you’re the employer, you have a say in everything. You get to decide how your nanny will work with your children, what days and times they will be at your house, and how much you will pay them. Generally speaking, you have more flexibility with hiring a nanny as it is tailored to not only your child but your needs as well.
Lack of oversight
When you hire a nanny, you don’t actually know how they interact with your child and that they are doing everything you ask of them. Because of this, some parents install nanny cams throughout their home to avoid that lack of oversight.
More tax-related paperwork
As the employer, you will be responsible for paying your nanny’s taxes and filing a W-2 for them.
Generally more expensive
According to Care.com, nannies, on average, make about $565 a week, totaling roughly $27,120 a year. However, this will depend on where you live, as well as what you are asking the nanny to be responsible for. The more responsibilities you ask for, the more you will have to increase the rate. Care.com explains how to determine what you should pay per hour.
May need to provide accommodations
If you have a nanny that needs to drive children around and they don’t have a car, you may need to provide them with one, or specifically find a nanny that can provide transportation. If you’re looking for an in-home nanny, they will need to have a place to sleep with furniture as well, which can be costly.
Parenting style conflicts
There are no structured rules or regulations with a nanny like there are at daycare. A nanny may approach a situation differently than you would as the parent, which can be confusing to the child and therefore cause problems between you and the nanny.
Having to manage someone yourself
You’re the boss. You have to communicate everything with your nanny and discuss problem areas, communicate schedules, manage the taxes and payroll, and not to mention, make sure they are providing quality care to your child!
Needing to have a back-up plan
If the nanny is sick, has an emergency, or goes on a vacation, you have no back up plan. You are now stuck taking care of your child. At daycare, you always have the option of care. If our teachers at daycare call in, we have immediate replacement for coverage of your child.
Teachers and providers are licensed and knowledgeable in the area and are providing that care with your child.
Structured space and hours
If there’s one thing you probably know best by now, is that children work best while on a schedule, and it’s important to build one starting from the very beginning. Daycares provide a structured schedule that you don’t have to worry about or come up with, which can then be transferred into your life at home. Another benefit of structure is that the schedule provided usually doubles as a school. What more could you want!
As obvious as it is, daycares provide the social interaction that your child may not get at home. With a nanny, you only have the children in that home to interact with. Children won’t be exposed to different personalities and behaviors, and being in the comfort of their own home doesn’t build confidence in children when they are outside of their home. Daycare forces children to gain independence, and allows them to learn and play with other kids that is imperative to their development.
Part of the community
Your child becomes part of the community separate from the parents. They are active participants in our preschool world.
Toys, books, other resources
There is an abundance of toys, books, and other resources in daycares that your kid might not have at home. These resources allow children to explore new things in this space and learn from them.
Daycares are legally required to follow state regulations regarding safety, staffing, and sanitation within their environment. Whereas for a nanny, these protections over your child don’t legally exist.
Wisconsin’s Daycare Regulations
Care.com reported that the average weekly daycare cost was $215, totaling about $10,320 a year, which, on average, is about $16,800 less expensive than a nanny.
High staff turnover
There tends to be high staff turnover in daycare centers. Your child may work with different teachers and inconsistency may throw them off. However, the more adults your children interact with, the more comfortable they can become around adults and realize that there are adults beyond their parents out in the world.
So many kids, so many germs! Your child will be exposed to lots of germs while in a daycare center. The positive side of this being that your kid will build up their immunity to illnesses. The downside is that when your kiddo isn’t feeling well, they can’t come in, so you will have to find an alternative for the day or stay home with them until they are better.
Whether you’re picking up or dropping off, running behind is stressful when you have to stick to the strict schedule of your daycare. At Cornerstone Academy, we are generally flexible with drop-offs/pick-up times if you are running slightly behind. We also allow a 1 hour grace period for drop-offs.
Daycare is an expense. But, so is any other option that you go with. Daycare is the cheapest option if you don’t have a grandparent or someone else to take care of your child. Contact us to discuss enrollment options and cost.
There are pros and cons to both hiring a nanny or enrolling your child in daycare. At the end of the day, whichever option you choose, it will truly come down to your time, what your budget is, and what is better for you and your child!
Check out why daycare is important for infants and toddlers.