Which is better a Nanny or a Home Daycare?

Here are the advantages of both so you can make the right decision

What kind of childcare is best for your child?
What kind of childcare is best for your child?. Getty Images/Vetta

Question: Which is better a Nanny or a Daycare Center?

Sometimes, parents who object to the large size of a typical daycare center will choose a family daycare as an alternative to a nanny. But before making this decision, it's helpful to understand the pros of a nanny versus a home or family daycare.


When you're choosing child care for your baby, you may ask what are the advantages of a nanny versus a family daycare center. Here are the pros of each choice.

The Advantages of hiring a Nanny 

The most obvious advantage of a nanny is that your child will receive one-on-one attention from an adult who isn't distracted by other children. Moreover, you don't have to pack up your child every day for drop off at a family daycare center because you receive child care in your own home. This also protects your child from other children's germs, so she will likely be sick less often.

If you are fortunate your nanny may be willing to do household chores, fix meals and even do the children's laundry.  If this is the case include these tasks in the terms of your Nanny's contract.

A nanny may be able to offer more flexible hours than a family daycare like if you have to travel for work, need to stay late on occasion or you only need part-time child care.  

Be aware though that unless you work through a nanny agency, you're on your own to research a nanny's credentials, work history and suitability as a child care provider.

The Advantages of enrolling in a Family Daycare

Unlike a nanny, a family daycare will usually have more than one adult supervising a group of children of mixed ages (so more eyes on your child). Your child will socialize with other children and learn to play with older and younger peers.

Your family daycare most likely will stay open even if one adult caregiver calls in sick, so you won't have as many last-minute, unexpected emergencies like you may experience with a nanny.

Because your child will be exposed to colds and viruses from the other children, your child will develop a stronger immune system and will be less likely to get sick as soon as she enrolls in kindergarten.

Family daycares are typically licensed and inspected by the government, as opposed to nannies.

Finally, a family daycare will surely be the less expensive child care compared to a nanny or a larger daycare center.

In the end you need to trust your intuition

Clearly, there are many important factors to consider when choosing between a nanny and a family daycare center. But the most important decision isn't theoretical, it's what options are available in your community at the time that you need child care.

If you have your heart set on a nanny, but nobody you interview seems adequate, then that family daycare down the street may start to look pretty good. On the other hand, if your neighborhood family daycare center is completely full for the next six months, you might find that you love the nanny you hired on a temporary basis -- and want to stick with her after the family daycare finds an opening.

Trust your mother's intuition is the best advice I was given.  It can never steer your wrong.

Edited by Elizabeth McGrory

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