When it comes to childcare, considering the pros and cons of different options can seem overwhelming. We have several articles about childcare programs, but what about nannies?
Here are some things to think about when considering benefits and drawbacks of at-home care with a nanny.
Benefits of Nanny Care
Hiring a nanny has several benefits, including:
Staying home. Routines at childcare centers are usually different than routines at home. With nanny care, your child is in a familiar environment where she can stick to her usual eat, play, and nap times.
More control. Maybe you use cloth diapers, which childcare centers may not accept. Or perhaps you want to be able to choose your child’s activities rather than depending on a childcare center to do it. When you hire a nanny, you get to make the day-to-day decisions that are important to you.
Getting one-on-one attention. There are a few advantages here, so we’ll break them down:
- While plenty of childcare centers maintain a small adult-to-child ratio, one-on-one attention is a bonus for your little one during a time when development thrives on interactions with caregivers.
- A nanny often becomes an attachment figure for the child(ren) she cares for, and secure attachment is also foundational to development.
- Although not true in every case, a common downside of childcare centers is high turnover. While nannies can also resign or move, happy nannies often stay with families until a child starts school. This provides a sense of security for little ones.
Being exposed to fewer germs. A main drawback of childcare programs is that little ones catch everything that’s going around. This is especially true for infants, who still have sensitive immune systems.
Convenience for you. With nanny care you don’t worry about drop-offs, pick-ups, or having to keep your child home when she is sick. What’s more, you can set the schedule based on your needs.
Option to add additional duties. Many nannies are happy to tack on extras like light housework if the pay aligns.
Drawbacks of Nanny Care
Hiring a nanny also has downsides, including:
No regulations. Unlike workers at childcare centers, who are usually required to have at least some training in child development and child safety, nannies need to be screened for this.
No oversight. Because it’s just the nanny and your child(ren), you don’t know for sure how your child’s day goes. You can install nanny cams, but that can become a hassle if you’re constantly checking them.
No backup if your nanny is sick. Childcare centers stay open even a staff member takes a sick day. Not so with a nanny; if she needs a sick day you will have to stay home or find backup care.
Cost. Hiring a nanny tends to be the most expensive childcare option (cost will depend on where you live, but the average cost for a full-time nanny in the U.S. is $700 per week). Some families arrange a “nanny share” with another family, which can bring the cost down if you only need childcare part time.
Managing an employee. Hiring a nanny, especially if she’s full-time, requires managing a salary, work hours, sick days, vacation time, and taxes.
Childcare philosophy conflicts. Although you can get ahead of this by aligning and establishing open communication with your nanny from the beginning, it’s common for things to come up that you and your nanny disagree about in terms of nutrition, activities, sleep, discipline, etc.
Plenty of parents are happy with their nannies. A big part of that is hiring and setting expectations in a smart way. To read more, head over to our article about how to hire and get on the same page as a nanny.