Nanny vs. Daycare
Let’s jump right in :)
The first thing that we should talk about is the big elephant in the room, cost.
Having a private nanny for your child is most likely going to cost you a lot more than if they were in daycare. But not always. Depending on how many hours you do it will make more or less of a difference, but in general, a nanny is more expensive than daycare.
The second big question for me as a parent is how much your kid is going to be sick when they are little. There are many variables there, but in general a child in daycare is sick a lot more than one that is with a nanny. But of course, if you are lucky enough to find a daycare where parents don’t bring their kids when they are sick and follow good guidelines, then they might not be as sick as with a nanny who is not well versed in hygiene and illness prevention. But again, generally, for the first year or so, a kid in daycare is sick a lot more than one with a nanny, which might even end up costing you a lot more in lost work time, so a lot of the money saved putting a child in daycare might be lost in sickdays where you either miss work or have to get a, wait for it, nanny.
Getting your child socialized, able to make friends, share toys and function in a group happens organically in most daycares. But, on the other hand when you have a great nanny, he or she will be taking part in playgroups, meet with other kids, learn basic social skills, including good manners and interacting with others, so in this case I think it’s more a question of having a great nanny with an intentional routine, vs how it happens kind of on its own in daycare.
Making friends is closely related to socialization where your kids will make friends from an early age. Again this happens more organically in daycare, but with some organizing you can do the same things with the same kids every week, like music or dance lessons. It’s not really the same as spending all day together though, so if this is important, daycare has the advantage.
The last point I will go over is attention. Your child will get much more personalized attention with a nanny, and this has both advantages and disadvantages depending on your point of view. And again, with a skilled and experienced nanny it will never be an issue. I know kids who have grown up without siblings and with a nanny who are perfectly well adjusted and don’t have any of the possible issues anyone who thinks too much attention can create. A great nanny will meet your kids needs in a way no daycare really can.
So what do I think you should do? I think it really depends on your situation and your values. Ideally I think being with a full time care taker for the first few years of life is beneficial. Less stress, slower pace, more focus and attention. Then going into school goes seamlessly. And if being part of the daycare community where you live is important to you, then that’s what you should do. I come from a culture where people put their kids in daycare at age one. I would personally not make that choice, and didn’t, but it seems to work for lots of people. Even though they do complain a lot of how sick their kids are all the time, so there is that part too.
Nannies, when you are talking to families these are all points you can bring up when discussing their needs and how you can help them :)