I will never forget the difficult process of finding childcare for my firstborn. I talked with many nannies as I weighed these options.
I also discussed the process with my mom’s friends who had hired nannies and those who decided against them. Here’s what I found out.
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The Pros & Cons of Hiring a Nanny
A nanny is a caregiver who is dedicated to your child or children. Nannies can be full-time, part-time, or live-in.
There are a lot of good reasons to hire a nanny. However, there are also good reasons to consider other forms of childcare like babysitters or daycare.
The Pros of Hiring a Nanny
1. Individualized Care
Your child is the only child being cared for by your nanny.
You don’t have to worry about your child being forgotten or lost in the maelstrom of children they might find at a daycare facility.
The nanny will focus on your child’s health, well-being, growth, and development.
A good nanny will work with your child to ensure they are meeting milestones every day.
Let the nanny know your specific expectations during the interview process. If you want a nanny that will help tutor your growing child or provide rides to and from activities, make sure they know this in advance.
Having a one-on-one nanny means you can tailor the job as needed to suit you and your child.
Just make sure you’re completely transparent with all the job responsibilities before hiring your nanny.
2. More Flexibility
A daycare, whether corporate or in-home, usually has very strict hours for dropping off children and picking them up. It’s a rare situation when a parent finds a daycare with flexibility.
This can be extremely difficult for parents who don’t have typical daytime schedules.
One of the reasons I didn’t choose daycare for my firstborn was for this very reason. I had a job that required me to be available into the late evening hours on occasion.
There were simply no daycare options for this.
Conversely, you can tell your nanny in advance the hours you need babysitting services. Because they work for you, it is you who decides the hours of childcare and not some corporate entity.
3. Your Child Builds a Relationship
Your child will build a significant relationship with a nanny in a way that they don’t with daycare workers.
The deep bond built between a nanny and a child is an important one that will help your baby learn how to interact with others as they grow.
Your child might begin to think of your nanny as a second or third parent. For some moms, this is a downside. You might not want your child to look to anyone else as a parent.
Don’t let feelings of jealousy keep you from hiring a nanny. A child growing attached to the nanny only shows that you have made a good hire.
4. Total Control
If you’re like me, you want to know exactly what is happening every day of your child’s life.
You’re hyper-involved and always looking for ways to improve. Having a nanny lets you do that.
You can ask that your nanny read specific books, avoid certain programs, feed specific meals, and observe sleeping schedules.
Early childhood is a really important time for a parent to have full control over their child’s day-to-day. You can ask your nanny to help with potty training, shoelace tying, and shape-sorting.
You will not get this option in a daycare.
The Cons of Hiring a Nanny
1. No Back-up
Your nanny is sick. What do you do? A daycare has multiple employees who can step in when one caregiver is sick.
As your sole daycare provider, your nanny has no one to cover their place if they are ill.
Illness is not the only issue with nannies. A broken down car, a doctor’s appointment, or a family emergency are all things that can pull your nanny away from your child.
While you can’t fault a nanny for having an emergency, you also don’t have another option for childcare when the nanny is away.
2. Can Be Very Expensive
Arguably the biggest drawback of hiring a nanny is the cost. You will pay no less than $15 per hour for a good nanny though the price can go up greatly from there.
Keep in mind that you’re asking someone to devote all of their time to your child. Looking for a cheap nanny is never a good idea.
Some parents think they’re hiring a housekeeper when they hire a nanny. That is not the case. Your $15+ per hour covers childcare only. You’ll pay quite a lot more for someone who will also tidy around your home.
3. Your Nanny is an Employee
A daycare bill is expensive, but it’s easy to pay. You write your check, pay online or set up automatic deductions and you are done.
At the end of the year, you can even write off some of your daycare costs on your income taxes.
A nanny isn’t so easy. You have hired an employee, which means you will need to pay a nanny tax. You’ll pay social security, Medicare fees, and unemployment taxes.
It can be a lot to manage for a busy parent.
4. Difficulty Saying Goodbye
Part of hiring a nanny is saying goodbye.
Your nanny may be able to continue picking your child up from school or spending time with them during summer breaks, but most nannies need a full-time income.
When your child no longer needs childcare, you will have to bid them farewell.
There may also be the case of a nanny resigning for some other reason. When that happens, your child will likely be devastated at saying goodbye to the nanny.
You will need to be prepared for those emotions.
Whether or not you decide to hire a nanny depends entirely on whether the pros outweigh the cons in your mind. You may find that a nanny is ideal or that it doesn’t work at all.
What types of childcare are you considering? Tell us about it in the comments!