Nanny vs Daycare – Pros and Cons

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A big question you ask when you are preparing for the arrival of your first child or making a change to your current childcare setup, is which is a better fit for my family – nanny vs daycare? Should you focus on a daycare or should you find a nanny near you? Both of these options have pros and cons that deserve a thorough review and comparison. Let’s review a nanny vs daycare

Personalized Attention

Nanny: A nanny will provide your child with personalized one-on-one attention throughout the day. The nanny can easily tailor feeding and nap schedules specifically for your child. 

Daycare: 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.

Educational Benefit

Nanny: In exchange for the personalized attention a nanny can provide to your child, you may miss out on the daycare benefit of caregivers who are trained in early childhood development. A parent can get around this by hiring a nanny who has this experience. 

Daycare: A daycare oftentimes operates similarly to a pre-school, where caregivers have been trained in early childhood education. They can teach reading, motor skills, etc. to your child. 


Nanny: Generally, nannies are more expensive than daycares. If you have multiple children or do not need full-time childcare, hiring a nanny could be more economical. One way to cut down on costs is to create a nanny share and split the cost with another family.

Daycare: Many daycares are less expensive than having a full time nanny. However, 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. 


Nanny: In general, a nanny can provide more flexibility. For instance, a nanny might be able to modify their hours more easily if you need them to come earlier or later on a given day.

Daycare: Daycares have fixed hours of operation and most are closed for weekends and major holidays. If you arrive for pickup late, there might be a fee. If your job requires you to be available at odd hours or for long shifts, the daycare structure is likely not suitable for you. 

Social Interaction

Nanny: If your nanny keeps your children at home all day, your child could 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: 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.

Physical Health

Nanny: Your home environment may be cleaner than a daycare, and your child is likely to be exposed to fewer germs as a result. Some parents prefer exposure to some germs earlier in life to help their child build immunity.

Daycare: 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. 

Nanny vs Daycare – It’s a matter of personal choice:

The best way to determine with certainty which childcare solution is right for you is to explore each option. 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. Regardless of which option you decide on, make sure to ask for references and read reviews, if available.

Need help searching for a nanny? Search for part and full-time nannies at UrbanSitter

The Pros and Cons of Daycare Revealed by Studies

Pros and Cons of Daycare

Does Your Choice of Child Care Effect Your Child’s Development?

Nearly 11 million children under age 5 are in some type of child care each week, which isn’t surprising since nearly 70 percent of mothers with children age 17 or younger work full or part-time. Almost 30 percent of these kids are enrolled in center-based child care, such as a daycare center, nursery school, pre-kindergarten, Head Start, or other early childhood education program. Choosing child care—such a day care center or in-home daycare, nannybabysitter, or an au pair that is right for your kids, your schedule, and your budget can be a tough, emotional decision, and one parents often second guess. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of daycare.

Take comfort from the experts: The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, the largest and longest-running study on the effects of child care on development, shows that what happens at home—family and parent-child interaction—has a greater impact on how a child develops than does a parent’s choice of child care. (Hear the huge sigh of relief from parents everywhere!) However, it’s important to carefully evaluate childcare options for your family.

The Pros and Cons of Daycare


  • Socialization—Daycare enables children to spend time with other children, helping them develop important social skills, such as sharing, taking turns, negotiating, and self-control. It helps them to function in groups, to understand social norms, and ultimately allows them to learn from each other.
  • Cognitive and Language Development— Many daycare centers provide some instruction or exposure to the arts and academic concepts. Studies show that kids who attend center-based daycare have somewhat better cognitive and language development, as well as stronger pre-academic skills involving letters and numbers. colette-play2
  • Dependable Care—Because centers have several childcare providers, parents can count on dependable childcare. There’s no worry or scramble to find alternative childcare if a provider calls in sick.
  • Strengthened Immunity— Really! Parents bemoan the constant stream of germs and sickness kids pick up and bring home from daycare, but a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine shows that daycare may enhance immunity. Babies who attend large-group child-care centers get more respiratory and ear infections than those cared for at home, but they are less likely to come down with these ailments once they start elementary school, signaling that some immunity building is at work.


  • Inflexible Hours—While daycare offers dependable care, it doesn’t necessarily offer flexible care. Daycare centers have set hours that may not match parents’ work hours or accommodate a parent’s need to stay late at work. Centers that offer late pick-ups often charge a premium for the convenience.
  • High Cost of Quality CareStudies show there is a big difference between low-quality and high-quality daycare. High-quality day care centers do not come cheap. They can often cost as much or even more than a year of college education at a four-year university.
  • Behavioral ProblemsThe NICHD study found that kids who attend daycare may have more behavior problems at age 4—such as disobedience and aggression—than kids who are cared for by a parent or other caregiver.
  • Inconvenience—Unlike childcare in your own home, daycare requires a drop-off and pick-up, which isn’t always convenient for time-stretched parents. Additionally, daycare centers have strict sick policies (germ control!), which mean parents need to find alternative childcare if their child isn’t feeling well.

Evaluating Your Own Pros and Cons

Every child responds to care and benefits differently due to his own unique nature and needs, so you’ll want to create your own list of pros and cons for daycare. If you decide daycare is the right choice for your family, talk with family and friends for referrals, and visit centers to evaluate facilities, programs, and instructors. Be sure look for the most recent state license and National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation.

To find a nanny or sitter to care for your child, services like UrbanSitter can connect you with local providers that accommodate your unique schedule, budget and childcare needs. Choose what works for you.