One of the hardest decisions a working mom will make is about childcare. The day care vs nanny debate is one you think about all through your pregnancy and maternity leave. Both have advantages and disadvantages you have to weigh.
My kids stayed in a day care until they started school and transitioned to after school care at the same facility. They also attended the during the summer break until this year, when I hired a nanny. Here are the pros and cons I have for each if you are trying to decide.
- Facilities are licensed and regularly inspected by a state agency. In Texas, those audits are online for you to review.
- A set learning curriculum is in place from about two/two and a half onward.
- Your kids are around other children and learn to make friends at an early age.
- The structured schedule helps them when they transition to school.
- A recent article on Yahoo! Parenting revealed that studies show that kids in day care may be getting an educational and social advantage compared to kids in other types of care environments.
- Your wishes may not be a priority. Your children are expected to follow the day care provider’s schedule (out of necessity), and that means your schedule, relaxed or otherwise, is not.
- Other children – Not only do your kids learn how to make friends at an early age, they may also learn about hurt feelings and bullying.
- Sickness – Kids carry a lot of germs, and the more kids your children are exposed to the more germs (and illnesses) they will bring home. The good news is that by the time they start school their immune system should be really strong.
- Studies show that aggression and disobedience may be an issue for “day care kids”.
- Your kids are at home in their own space. This is probably the biggest advantage from my kids’ point of view. They loved being home this summer.
- You are the boss. That means you set the schedule and everything can be done the way you want. For the most part. No two caregivers will do everything the same, and no one can replace the momma.
- Limited exposure to other kids and their germs (see above).
- For me, the biggest is how well can you really know another person. You can take precautions with background checks, references, and nanny cams, but for me, I liked the accountability of more than one person taking care of my children when they were small.
- Socialization may be harder when your kids aren’t around other children as often. This can be helped with play groups and other activities.
- Your child may not be as ready for school as kids that have been in daycare and/or pre-k. Not just from a learning standpoint, but also from a knowing how to sit still in class, be quiet, and listen to instructions. Or so I’ve been told by teacher friends.
- Expense – One on one (or two or three) care is more expensive. Plus you have the added expense and aggravation of payroll taxes.
Neither option is perfect for all families. Each mother needs to decide what is best for her and her children’s needs. The most important thing is to do your research before AND after you decide. Be ready to adapt your childcare needs to your growing and changing family.
It would be nice if the day care vs nanny debate was over and done once your decision was made, but that isn’t always the case. Just like with my kids, you may need to make a change.
Did you use a nanny or day care provider with your children? What tips do you have for moms trying to make this decision?
p>I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.