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Making the transition from nanny to daycare

Categories: Balancing Act, Parenting & Family


In two days, we’re moving. For the past year or so, we’ve had an incredible, amazing, can’t-say-enough-great-things-about-her nanny taking care of our daughter during the day while my husband and I worked. As a working mom, you know how important it is to be happy with your childcare arrangement and that’s what we were - happy and thrilled to have our nanny.  And now we’re extremely sad to be saying goodbye.

Our daughter is turning three soon and even if we weren’t moving we were thinking of putting her in daycare instead. She loves to be around kids and while we’d love to keep our nanny and send our daughter to preschool a few days a week, we can’t afford to do both. So when we move she’ll start at a preschool/daycare program where she will be from 9 to 3:30pm every day. We’re excited for her to have many new friends and to learn to be more independent, but have reservations as well, which include less convenience and the crazy juggle that’s about to come our way once she starts getting sick (which, we’ve been told, happens much too often!)

And while I’ve chosen to not give much weight to the studies that suggest that kids who spend lots of time in daycare have more behavioral issues (these were well within the norm for the particular age group, as finer reading of the research later suggested), I do worry whether we’re making the right choice. Will the day be too long for our daughter? What will we do if both my husband and I have scheduled meetings and there is a snow day at school?

These are the worries all working parents live with and I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you juggle. And if you’ve had a nanny and sent your kids to daycare, please share your perspectives - I am sure I am not the only parent going through this change with my daughter right now.

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6 comments so far...

  • Hi Nataly. First, thanks so much for starting Work It, Mom! It’s like a breath of fresh air to have a place to read/talk about how to juggle work and home…pretty much the driving question of my life right now. We’re planning to do the same thing at 3 years (right now my daughter is just 1 1/2) so I don’t have experience with the question about the length of the day. But, for the past year, my husband and I have had someone who comes into our home to care for our daughter. Your question about what to do about a snow day really struck home with me because, despite the fact we’ve had very reliable help, there was at least one time that our nanny was sick and couldn’t come on a day that both my husband and I absolutely had to be at work. Luckily, we work at the same university and we were able to just swap off on campus all day long–and for the 2 hours that we both had previously scheduled meetings, we hired one of our students to watch our daughter right on campus. It was all less than totally ideal, but at least we managed. Anyway, I guess my point is that I think that unscheduled lack of daycare is just as likely to happen with a nanny as it is with an actual center…maybe even more so.

    Jennifer  |  May 25th, 2007 at 8:39 am

  • Jennifer,

    Thank you - I am so glad you find Work It, Mom! a great place to be - we’re working very hard to make it better!

    And I totally hear you re the nanny - in fact, mine just called to ask if we could come home a bit earlier today so she can get her son from school. So the juggle is on with nanny or daycare, it seems.

    Nataly  |  May 25th, 2007 at 10:50 am

  • Nataly,
    I have been reading your posts for a while now, love Work It! Mom, and finally found a minute to leave a comment this evening!

    I am a mother of three, they are all at school now, but when I went back to work following my maternity leave with each one, we hired a nanny for about a year. This so much helped ease the transition - more for me than them I think.

    When they were each about 2 to 2 1/2 we transferred them to long daycare on a part-time basis (I only worked part-time after I had my kids), so I would drop them before 8 and collect them again at 5:30 - 6pm three or four days a week. By the time I had my youngest, though, I was working from home, so I used to collect him a bit earlier, as the guilt would set in :)

    I found daycare more reliable than the nannies, and once they were that old, they all really enjoyed the company of other children and the variety of the interaction.

    The problem with sickness only really happens with your eldest child - they catch everything going their first year in daycare (and boy, do I wish I had know that… it wasnt until the end of the first year that someone told me it was normal!) and it helps to have a contingency plan for mild illness…

    Anyway, this is getting to be a very loooong comment. To answer your question - my children are now 17, 14 and 9, and they are all well adjusted, happy, doing well at school and genuinely NICE. Daycare didn’t hurt them one little bit! [I think it was always harder on me, guilt and all, than it was on them].

    And my last word? In a couple of short years, she will be off to school… it is all temporary and as long as you trust your gut when it comes to selecting a daycare, your daughter will be just fine.

    Karen Wallace  |  June 5th, 2007 at 1:30 am

  • Karen,

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment - I really appreciate it and as our daughter nears her first day in daycare, it gives me comfort.

    And I am thrilled to hear that you like Work It, Mom! - as every entrepreneur, I wake up with in cold sweats worrying whether we’re building a truly great offering for busy working moms and hearing first-hand that someone is enjoying what we’ve done is tremendously encouraging!

    Nataly  |  June 5th, 2007 at 7:41 pm

  • Hi Nataly,

    Almost every mom that I talk to struggles with this problem of daycare vs. nanny. While daycare does provide children with great opportunities for socializing with other children, they end up missing out on that personal attention and care that they receive from a nanny. I want my children to have this one-to-one care, but also can’t afford to pay the exorbitant prices that many nannies charge.

    Through one of my good friends, I discovered a wonderful solution to this seemingly never-ending childcare dilemma. Hosting an international au pair in your home not only gives your children the personal attention that they need, but it is also incredibly affordable and flexible. At just $300 per week, regardless of the number of children that you have, and au pair can provide up to 45 hours of childcare per week - and these hours can be any hours that you want!

    Another benefit to this childcare option is that an au pair can teach your children languages and cultures from around the world. To learn mroe about this great childcare option and to read why it has been a growing trend across the U.S. for the past few years, visit

    Kate  |  July 25th, 2007 at 7:10 am

  • I feel that kids should be sent to daycare as it really helps them to get matured when they grow. And they also learn from other kids.

    Australia Biz Opp  |  March 30th, 2010 at 11:15 am