Nanny or daycare: Which is best for you?

Nanny or daycare: Which is best for you?

When it comes time to go back to work, you have a few options available for childcare that you’ll need to decide between. You can use traditional daycare that is run from a centre, family daycare that is run from someone’s home, hire a nanny in your own home or if you are lucky, get help from family and friends.

For the purpose of this article, we are going to look at the pros and cons of using a nanny vs using a traditional daycare centre.

A nanny is a professional person with early childhood development training, just like the staff you’ll find in a daycare. You can hire a nanny just for the business hours when you are at work, or you can go for a more permanent option and have a live in nanny. If you choose this option, you’ll need to have the space for a nanny to have her own room and separate bathroom.

Some of the pros of hiring a nanny vs daycare are:

Beat the rush

Have you ever done the morning rush when you need to not only get yourself ready for work and out the door, but you also need to have your child up, fed, dressed and their daycare bag packed for the day. Managing the drop off on your way into the office each morning takes a huge amount of organisation. If you have a nanny, you only have to worry about getting yourself out of the house. You don’t need to dress or feed your child before you go … in fact, they don’t even have to be out of bed! As long as the nanny is there to hand over to, you are free to get yourself sorted and into the office on time. The same can be said for the evening rush back home again. Daycare has a very strict policy for when their doors close each night – and for good reason – but this means the pressure is on to hightail it out of work right on time each evening and praying there are no disruptions to your commute.

Depending on the agreement you have with your nanny, instead of running to get your child before the overtime clock starts ticking at daycare, you can relax knowing your child is calmly being fed their dinner while you are travelling home to them.


If you have a job that requires more flexibility than what a daycare centre can offer you, then a nanny might be your best option. Shift workers find daycare centre hours are almost impossible for them to work around, as their work hours are not within the usual nine to five. Night shift, super early mornings or late evenings mean daycare isn’t even an option. The same problems arise if your job involves a lot of travel, or last minute overtime. Having a full time nanny who understands this is part of the job upfront will take one more stress off your mind when your work hours are getting crazy.

More control

When you decide to get a nanny, you will go through an interview process until you find the right person who you feel most comfortable with. Aside from educational qualifications, it is a good idea to see if a nanny shares the same family values with you when it comes to things like discipline, allowing TV time or junk food and routines. When a child goes to daycare they are exposed to many different personalities from other kids, and may pick up some bad habits. They will also be exposed to teachers who may have different ideas on discipline etc than what you have. This can be a good or a bad thing, but if you have a nanny in your house she will work by your rules so it gives you a higher element of control in what your child does all day long.

Sick days are for when you are sick

Every hard working parent out there knows the stress of having to take sick days not when they are sick, but when the kids are. Come winter, these sick days can really start to add up as you can’t drop your sniffling child off at daycare. By the time you have picked up a cold or flu yourself, you’ll probably be lucky to have any sick days still owing to you. But when you have a nanny, you can leave your sneezing munchkin in bed while you get a full day of work done. And you don’t even have to feel guilty, because you know they will be getting great one-on-one care by a nurturing nanny in the comfort of their own home.

There are, of course, some cons for hiring a nanny instead of using daycare, but you can usually work your way around them. These are:

More expensive: A private nanny will set you back more than the daily daycare rate, however you can always look into doing a nanny share with a friend, which means you can split the costs and make it more affordable for everyone.

Less social interaction: Attending daycare will give your child the chance to hang out with kids their own age. While this is great for their social skills, it doesn’t mean they have to miss out entirely if they are at home with a nanny. Organise for your nanny to take your child to the park, on playdates or to some activity classes on a regular basis.

Sick days: All nannies will become sick at some stage or another, and if you don’t have a back up sitter it can pose a bit of a problem to you and your schedule. Chat with your nanny agency to see if they have any back up plans for such an occasion.

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