First and foremost, deciding whether to hire a nanny or go the daycare route is strictly a personal decision and depends on what is right for your family's needs. Even as someone who owns a nanny agency, I could never say that one is better than the other. They both have their pros and cons.
For example, having someone at home with your child certainly provides a lot of one-on-one attention and opens up a bit of freedom for you as a parent. Instead of rushing to pick your child up from daycare and get dinner on the table, you can return home to a child that has already been fed and bathed. Also, having a child in daycare can sometimes, although not always, expose him/her to more colds and/or other sicknesses that come with being around a lot of children.
On the flip side, placing your child in daycare allows him/her to interact with more children and allows him/her to get acclimated to a classroom setting at a young age. Daycare can also be the more economical way to go. However, depending upon how many children you have in daycare, how many hours you require them to be there, and whether or not your schedule ever keeps you late at work, that cost can fluctuate. I know some parents who have actually saved money by hiring a nanny as opposed to putting all of their children in daycare.
When making the decision between hiring a nanny and choosing a daycare, ask these questions:
- Do your work holidays match those of the daycare? If not, do you have plan set in place for those situations?
- Do you want your children in a classroom or group setting, or would you rather they receive more one-on-one attention from a single caregiver? Getting your child acclimated to the routine of a classroom setting at an early age can be very beneficial when your child starts kindergarten or pre-k.
- If you are interested in having a nanny but still want that classroom/group play interaction, you can always enroll your children in a Mother’s Day Out program two or three days a week.
- How will you handle snow day situations? If your daycare is closed will you have someone to watch your children or will you need to call in to work?
- What is the daycare’s sick child policy, and how will you handle a situation where your child is sick and you still need to go to work for a meeting?
- Are you ever going to be asked to stay late at work and will you have a back up plan for picking up your children? This is important because some daycares will charge fees when you are even minutes past the set pick up time.