Babysitting Series: Daycare vs. Nanny
For my first official post of the babysitter series, I decided to talk about both the pros and cons of having a nanny and sending your child to daycare - so you can choose what the best fit is for you and your family! As a former preschool teacher and current nanny I can give you advice based on my experience - not everything I am going to say is applicable to every situation so please keep that in mind!
I will start off talking about Daycare/Full-time Preschool.
I absolutely adored my time as a preschool teacher. It was extremely difficult at times, but by far the most rewarding job other than being a mom! I believe there are so many pros to daycare and full-time preschool.
Starting off with the pros, your child will. . .
1. . . . have a ton of playmates during the day
It is always good for children to have peers to look up to and to play with. This is the best way for children to learn and work on their social skills!
2. . . . learn how to listen to their teacher
It is so important for children to learn to listen to adults other than their parents. Whether it is a grandparent, a babysitter, a family friend, a teacher, this is always a great skill for your child to have.
3. . . . get comfortable in the school setting
The first day of school is difficult for some children. You’ll always have those kids who run into class ready and excited, but other kids need to warm up to the thought of being away from their primary caregivers. When your child goes to preschool they will be switching classrooms and teachers as they grow up, but they will become more accepting of change when it has to do with school.
4. . . . learn responsibility by taking on classroom jobs
Most preschools give the students classroom jobs: the line leader, the caboose of the line, the child who helps pass out lunch, and so much more. Children love having responsibility and want to have a special job!
5. . . . focus on learning shapes, numbers, colors, letters, and will be prepared for school when they are older.
Preschools are a lot more academic based. Their goal is to not only care for the child while the parent is away, but to teach the child so they are ready for kindergarten. They will be in an environment that is geared towards teaching and developing their mental skills.
That is definitely not all of the pros of using daycare, but I feel that those are the 5 most important! But it is super necessary to not only highlight the pros, but also the cons.
My three biggest cons of preschool are your child will. . .
1. . . .not receive much 1-on-1 attention.
The ratios in California are 1 adult to 4 babies, 1 adult to 6 toddlers (until the age of two), 1 adult to 12 children (ages 2 and up). And if they have changed or I got those wrong, please feel free to correct me in the comments below! This can be a positive thing, but at certain ages it is vital for a child to get that 1-on-1 attention from their caregiver.
2. . . . get sick very often.
Again, this is something that depends per child, but when I taught preschools I noticed children getting sick frequently. This is definitely to be expected since they are exposed to new germs constantly. Children do get sick a lot since they are building up their immune systems but if you can’t afford to take off work or you can’t handle your child catching colds often, it may be best to have a back up sitter or go with a nanny.
3. . . . have a teacher that you may not like.
I have seen so many preschool teachers that I would absolutely hate to have teach my daughter. Everyone has their own personal preferences and standards, and I guess mine are high, but I feel that if I do not agree with someone’s teaching or parenting styles I would not want my daughter in their class. Again, this is not always seen as a con since there are always going to be people out there that you do not like who are your child’s teachers, but I feel the first few years of a child’s life are so vital. And you want to KNOW you can trust who is watching over them.
Now I am going to talk about the pros and cons of having a nanny!
Starting off with the pros, your child will. . .
1. . . . get more 1-on-1 attention.
Whether you decide to have a nanny who will bring their own children with them, or one who will be caring for your child alone, having a nanny will definitely mean your child is getting more attention.
2. . . . possibly learn just as much as they would in preschool.
If you have a great nanny, they will be using their time wisely and teaching your child. I think it is so important to teach children the basics of their alphabet, numbers, shapes, and colors but I also think it is so necessary for them to learn social skills and to work on their emotional control.
3. . . . get out of the house more.
If you trust your nanny to drive your child, they can go on “field trips” whenever they want! They could go to the park, take classes,on a walk, run errands, and they just have the opportunity to do whatever is fun in your area. At daycare the children are typically limited to the school grounds.
4. . . . be with a caregiver that you choose.
You have the power to choose who is your nanny. If you do not trust them or do not agree with their parenting techniques or the way they discipline, you are 100% capable of finding a new caregiver for your child! You can decide whether or not you want to background check them, have them be CPR and first aid certified and you could possibly even ask them to read parenting books you recommend if you wish.
5. . . . hopefully make a strong bond with their nanny.
Since your nanny will be with your child so often, your nanny will become an extension of your family. You want your child to enjoy the time they spend with the person who is taking care of them, and in return you want to make sure your nanny truly loves and cares for your child.
Again, I could not manage to write every pro, but those are my top 5! So now I will list my top 3 cons of having a nanny.
My top 3 cons of having a nanny are. . .
1. Sick days and vacations.
When your nanny gets sick or takes a vacation, you will need to either take off work or have a backup caregiver ready to watch your child. Which is not the biggest con, but it is definitely something to consider!
2. You HAVE to make sure you have the perfect match.
You don’t ever want to have any doubt in your mind that your nanny would harm or neglect your child. It is so necessary to ask all of the right questions and ultimately follow your gut when it comes to hiring someone to watch your child for you.
3. Sometimes paying for a nanny is more expensive than preschool.
Depending on the hours and days you need care, and who you are hiring, the price for having a nanny can be more expensive than sending your child to daycare. But it all depends on where you live, hours and days needed, and who you are hiring. It is still very possible to find a nanny that fits your budget, though!
Again, those are not all the cons, those are just my 3 main cons I see with having a nanny.
I am the type of person who sees the good in both having a nanny and sending your child to daycare, and I think if it is possible that once they reach a certain age (about 2 1/2 or 3) it is good for them to go to preschool half-day and have a nanny the other half! That way they are preparing for school and still getting that 1-on-1 care they need.
In my next few blog posts in this series I will be going more in depth about daycares and nannies and giving you my best tips on choosing the right one for you and how to know you have the right fit. I really don’t think you could go wrong with either as long as you follow your gut and are doing what is best for your family.