Hire a Nanny or Enroll In Daycare? Part 2

This is part two of yesterday’s post about hiring a nanny vs enrolling your child in daycare. Today I’m going to talk about the pros and cons of having a nanny. Again, this is purely based on my experience. I have been a nanny for two families (including my current one) for a total of just shy of 3 and a half years.

With a nanny, you, as the parent, are responsible for hiring. You don’t tour a daycare center and get a “childcare show” put on for you. Instead you interview potential hires and choose who you think is the best fit for your family. Every family is different. Their needs are also going to be different. During the interview process you need to clearly explain what your needs are for the nanny – what will their responsibilities be? Laundry? Cooking? Shopping for the kids? You also need to do research in a sense on any nannies you are considering hiring. What is their educational background? What experience do they have? Criminal history? Etc. You will need to get references from the prospective nanny as well.
Once hired, a nanny can do many things for your child or children. After a period of time, there will be a tight bond formed between the nanny and your children. This is important for your child’s development. Your nanny will not only provide all the obvious care for your children (diapers, feeding, putting down for naps, kissing of boo boos, etc) but many also do “extra” things around the house – children’s laundry, dishes, cleaning of their play area, etc.
A quality nanny does various things with your child. For example, arts and/or craft projects are completed on a semi regular basis. Children are taken on various “field trips” of sorts. To the library, park, zoo, different stores, and so on. Lots of different experiences are provided and opportunities for growth and development in all areas (physical, cognitive, social, and emotional) are given. Quality nannies are not only experienced but educated as well. Most hold certificates for various training and a lot also have degrees.
With a nanny, your child will get more one on one attention than they would in a daycare setting. Each state has a ratio of teachers to children. Typically, each center is filled to this capacity in order to make the most money. As much as I strived to give each child in my care while I was working in daycare plenty of one on one time, I also had to recognize that I was caring for multiple children and had to keep a close eye on all of them as well. With a nanny, because of the more individualized attention, experiences can be created around and tailored to your child’s preferences and likes and dislikes.
A daycare splits children by ages. A nanny can care for a mixed age group of children. This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. With a mixed age group, the younger children typically learn from the older children. This can be great for language development. On the other hand, with a mixed age group sometimes the older child who is more independent can feel left out since the younger one needs more attention and help. It can also be hard to plan lessons or activities that are beneficial for each age group simultaneously. That said, a good nanny can easily overcome this.
The other issue is children cared for by a nanny having a lack of social experiences and interaction with children of their own age. This too can be overcome by a nanny who is willing to find and join playgroups and classes as well as willing to take your child or children to places where they can interact with other children.
Another benefit of hiring a nanny is that parents don’t have to take a ton of days off when a child is sick. Children not in daycare usually get sick less often than children who are. Nannies are usually built in sick care. Most nannies care for children with colds, other viruses, and stomach bugs. Not that it’s our favorite thing to do, and parents have to understand (especially in regards to stomach bugs) that if we care for sick children we may also catch what they have and need a day or two off.
Nannies are almost always more expensive than putting a single child in daycare. For multiple children it sometimes evens out or is relatively close (particularly in the case of infant multiples).
Overall, it’s going to be a completely individual/family choice. You have to figure out the right balance between your wants and needs, what you can afford, and what the prospective nannies you interview have to offer. I may be a little biased, but I tend to advise people to go the nanny route if they can 😉
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