Whether you are preparing for the arrival of your first child or you are ready to make a change to your current childcare setup, you may be wondering if you should focus on daycares or if you should find a nanny near you. Both of these options have pros and cons that deserve a thorough review and comparison.
A nanny will provide your child with personalized attention throughout the day and can easily tailor feeding and nap schedules as needed. In a daycare environment, one caregiver is often assigned to watch at least six to 10 kids. The exact ratio is limited by the specific laws in your area. While daycare teachers do their best to cater to each child’s needs, their attention is understandably divided. They also must stick to a strict schedule for the benefit of the group.
In exchange for the personalized attention that a nanny can provide to your child, you may miss out on the daycare benefit of caregivers who have been trained in early childhood education and can teach reading, motor skills, etc to your child. A daycare can operate similarly to a pre-school, therefore an individual nanny may not have some of this desirable training. However, some parents overcome this challenge by hiring a nanny with similar credentials to daycare employees.
Generally, nannies are more expensive than daycares, but this is not always the case. Some daycare rates can be astronomical, especially when you have to pay for a full day regardless of the hours you use and that cost multiplies with each additional child. On the other hand, if you have multiple children or do not need full days of childcare, hiring a nanny could be more economical. You may also share a nanny and split the cost with another family.
Daycares have fixed hours of operation and most are closed for weekends and major holidays. If you arrive for pickup late, you may be assessed a penalty. If your job requires you to be available at odd hours or for long shifts, the daycare structure may not be suitable for you. A nanny may provide the essential flexibility that you need.
The social interaction of a daycare setting is a major benefit. This daily interaction can help young children to prepare for preschool and learn how to behave in a school environment. If your nanny keeps your children at home all day, they may have minimal social interaction. Parents can overcome this challenge by setting up playgroups and taking advantage of other group activities, such as music classes for the nanny and child to attend.
Daycare facilities must comply with strict cleanliness standards, but germs can still spread like wildfire through the classrooms. For example, one parent may bring a sick child to class, and many other children in the class could become ill. On the other hand, your home environment may be cleaner, and your child may be exposed to fewer germs as a result. Some parents prefer exposure to some germs earlier in life to help their child build immunity.
The best way to determine with certainty which childcare solution is right for you is to explore specific options. You can find a nanny near you that lives up to your expectations, and you can compare specific benefits against those offered by a daycare near you.