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.
Nanny Advantages. The most obvious advantage of a nanny vs. a family daycare 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; you receive care in your own home. This also protects your child from other children's germs, so she will likely be sick less often. Sometimes, your nanny is willing to do other household chores, fix meals and even do the children's laundry. (Make sure to write these into your contract!) A nanny may be able to offer more flexible hours than a family daycare, if you have to travel for work or stay late on occasion. (Or, if you only need part-time child care.) Unless you work through a nanny agency, you're on your own when it comes to vetting a nanny's credentials, work history and suitability as a child care provider.
Family Daycare Advantages. Unlike a nanny, a family daycare will usually have more than one adult supervising a group of children of mixed ages. 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 falls ill, so you won't have as many last-minute, unexpected emergencies as with a nanny. Because your child is exposed to colds and viruses, she 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 less expensive child care than a nanny or a larger daycare center.
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, 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.