In the US, 62% of children younger than kindergarten attend daycare while 20% are cared for by a non-relative.
You work hard for your family and you want your children to have the best possible care. So when you can't be there, who should care for your child?
Should you hire a nanny or find a childcare provider? Read on for the full scoop.
There are many reasons why you might opt to choose to send your child to a daycare center. Here are some of the main benefits.
Children who attend daycare centers have the advantage of socialization with other children their age.
A recent study found that children who attend daycare are better behaved and better socialized than those who stay home.
Your child will be stimulated by other kids and will develop social skills through their daily experiences in the center.
Daycare centers can offer your child access to a wide variety of gross and fine motor play. From playgrounds to sand tables and building blocks and art supplies, daycare centers have it all.
Often, daycare centers offer additional activities from time to time such as bringing in small animals for petting or musicians. Often, these extras are included in your regular fees.
Another great perk of sending your child to daycare is that they will get access to many wonderful teachers who specialize in working with kids. Most will be trained in Early Childhood Education.
Having multiple teachers allows your child to form bonds with several individuals. This is also helpful when the time comes for your child to move to another classroom or when a teacher changes rooms.
Compared to hiring a nanny, the cost of daycare is more affordable. That's because you share the cost of the service with the other families who attend that daycare.
While there are many daycare pros, every option has some drawbacks. Here are some to consider.
Children in childcare centers come in contact with many children. They touch the same toys, their faces, and mouths. So the spread of germs and illness is inevitable.
A child in daycare could possibly get sick more times a year than one not in daycare.
Also, most daycares have strict policies about when you can't bring your child in. That means you will have to make alternate arrangements for your sick child or with your work.
Most daycares operate during specific hours. They generally are not open on evenings and weekends. So if you work shifts or have irregular hours, the inflexibility of daycare hours might pose a challenge.
If you are late picking up your child, you likely will be charged. However, you can search for daycares that offer flexibility in your area.
Now that we've explored the pros and cons of daycare, let's turn our attention to the pros and cons of a nanny.
A nanny is a dedicated individual who cares for your child during agreed-upon times. Here are the pros of choosing a nanny.
Your nanny is solely focused on your child's specific needs. There is no competition for attention with other children (besides your own).
An in-home nanny means that you don't have to travel to and from daycare. The nanny comes to you.
Sometimes nanny will do some light housework such as cooking meals for your child and putting away their laundry. These small tasks can take the load off you.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of having a nanny is that you can find one to be as flexible as you need. Whether it's unusual hours or on-call service, a nanny can work with your schedule.
With nannies come parenting style conflicts and issues with regulation. Here's why you may not want to have a nanny.
Nannies usually cost significantly more than daycare centers. And you may or may not be getting better care.
If your nanny is ill, has to take a day off, or has a family emergency, you don't have backup. You will have to take time off work or find an alternate solution yourself.
This isn't an issue with daycare centers.
Similarly, you are at the nanny's mercy when it comes to tardiness. If they are late, it puts you late and there's nothing you can do.
When you hire a nanny, you become an employer. That means you have to be responsible for payment, sick or vacation time. You are also responsible for creating an agreement or nanny contract.
If you are unhappy with their service, you have the uncomfortable task of dealing with that conflict or firing them.
Now that we've covered the pros and cons of hiring a nanny versus choosing a daycare center, it's time to make a decision.
One way to think about this question is through the lens of your child. How does their personality and their needs fit into the equation?
How much stimulus does your child need? What about routine and social needs?
Thinking about your child can help you make the right choice for your family.
There it is! Now that you have a full rundown of the benefits and drawbacks of both options, you can now decide if you should hire a nanny or opt for daycare.
At FindaDaycare, we make finding childcare simple. Contact us to get started.