Pros & Cons of Daycare vs. Hiring a Nanny

Pros & Cons of Daycare vs. Hiring a nanny

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Many parents struggle to determine where to send their children while they are at work. While it’s great that some families have the option to lean on relatives 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. Whether these are child care centers, school-aged care programs, babysitters, or nannies, each of these options comes with its own pros and cons. 

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.

Nanny Pros

nanny care

Works with your schedule

One of the main benefits 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.

Personalized care

Nannies provide one-on-one care for your child, which allows for a more personalized and focused approach to their development and well-being. 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.

Household help

Some nannies may also assist with household tasks like meal preparation, laundry, homework, additional errands, and light cleaning, which can be a significant benefit to busy parents. 

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.

Nanny Cons

Having to manage someone 

You’re the boss. You have to communicate everything with your nanny and discuss problem areas, communicate schedules, manage taxes and payroll, and not to mention, make sure they are providing quality care to your child! 

Lack of oversight

When you hire a nanny, you have no idea how they connect with your children or whether they are doing all you ask. Because of this, some parents install nanny cams throughout their homes to avoid that lack of oversight. If this seems like an option for you, it is at your discretion to disclose the nanny cams. 

Tax-related paperwork

As an employer of a nanny, you will have legal responsibilities such as paying taxes, filing a W2, providing benefits (if you agree to this), and adhering to employment laws. This could be an extra hassle to some busy parents so make sure to do your research on nanny employment and taxes

Generally more expensive

According to, nannies, on average, cost $736 a week, totaling roughly $38,257. 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. explains how to determine what you should pay per hour.

May need to provide accommodations

If you have a nanny who 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.

Needing to have a backup plan

If the nanny is sick, has an emergency, or goes on a vacation, you need to have a backup plan. This isn’t always the easiest problem to solve if you have one main nanny who cares for your child. At daycare, you always have the option of care. If our teachers at daycare call in, we have an immediate replacement for coverage of your child.

Daycare Pros

daycare care

Licensed providers

Reputable daycares employ trained, licensed, and knowledgeable staff who are skilled in child development and safety.

Structured space and hours

If there’s one thing you probably know best by now, its that children work best while on a schedule. 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?

Social interaction

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 homes doesn’t build the same confidence in children. Daycare forces children to gain independence, and allows them to learn and play with other kids which is imperative to their development.

Part of the community

Your child becomes part of the community separate from the parents. Your child can learn from and be inspired by their peers, which can lead to more rapid development in various areas. 

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.

State regulations

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.

Learn more about the Wisconsin Child Care Regulation Information here

Generally cheaper reported that the average weekly daycare cost is $284, totaling about $14,768 a year, which, on average, is about $23,489 less expensive than a nanny.

Daycare Cons

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 is 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 relative or someone else to take care of your child. 

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! 

Here at Cornerstone Academy, we prioritize safety, movement, social development, independence, and fun! Contact us today to discuss enrollment options and cost. Or stop in for a tour! 

Check out why daycare is important for infants and toddlers.

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