ARTICLE

Choosing A Childcare Arrangement For Your Child

You want the best childcare for your family! This article will help you decide if that means hiring a nanny or going with a daycare.

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For many, choosing a child care arrangement isn’t the easiest decision. If this is your experience, just know that you are not alone.

When considering between hiring a nanny or choosing a daycare, there are several variables to look at. We’ll help you assess your family’s personality profile and cover the primary considerations to help you decide what type of arrangement will work best for your family.

Family Personality Quiz

Nanny Care

Great for families who value:

  • Individualized care
  • Convenience 
  • Say over how care is provided

Not so good for you if:

  • You aren’t ready for the responsibilities of being a domestic employer.
  • You aren’t able to afford to pay a competitive rate, and/or you aren’t willing or able to do a nanny share.
  • You don’t feel comfortable with someone in your home while you are not there.

Common types of in-home care:

  • Babysitter: casual, occasional childcare
  • Nanny: regular, professional childcare
  • Household manager: assumes other household responsibilities in addition to caring for the children

When to start your search:

Nannies occasionally start their job search well in advance. This typically happens when the family who employs them moves or the child they care for is ready to start school. More often, a nanny or other types of in-home care providers are looking for a job more immediately.

It is recommended to start your search 2-4 months before the start date.

Daycare 

Great for families who value:

  • Structured activities
  • Schedules
  • Socialization

Not so good for you if:

  • Your work schedule doesn’t fit within daycare drop-off and pick-up times.
  • You’re particular about your child’s individual learning; most often, they will be expected to mold with the masses.
  • You don’t have the flexibility to stay home with your child when they are sick (formal daycare programs have strict policies for sick children and you must be available to leave work at a moment’s notice if they fall ill)

Most common types of daycare:

When to start your search:

The length of daycare waitlists can vary just as much as the quality of the program and the price points. Therefore, it is advised to start your search well in advance. You will need ample time to do your research, tour the facilities, and register for the program. Due to limited child care options in some communities, waitlists for top daycares can be over a year long!

Consider a Combination of Care Arrangements 

Why not keep your child in the home setting with a nanny for the first few years and then enroll them in a daycare or preschool program once they are older?

Research shows: “For the first three years, infants and toddlers do best in home-based settings. They tend to experience less stress, less illness, and fewer behavioral problems.”- Dona Matthew Ph.D. 

If you can swing it, this will provide your child with individualized care at home during their earliest years and as they grow older, introduce them to a more structured care setting.

Financial Considerations

Often budget and finances dictate childcare decisions more than we’d like. Real wage growth is falling, while childcare costs have risen higher than college tuition costs in 28 U.S. States

Check out average childcare costs in your state.

Employing a nanny is on the high end of the cost spectrum. If you need or desire in-home childcare but it isn’t within budget, consider a nanny share.

Nanny shares can save you over $10,000 per year on high-quality care! When you come together with another family, you can both benefit from a 33% reduction in cost while feeling great about creating a higher-paying job for a nanny. 

For example, if the single-family rate for a nanny is $15/hr, the nanny share rate would be $10/hr per family. The nanny then earns $20/hr.

If you prefer a daycare setting, home daycares (also known as family childcare) are often more affordable for families. Just be sure the daycare is licensed. Learn more about licensed daycare options in your state here.

Final Thoughts

Whether you go with a nanny or daycare, your child is in good hands. They have a parent that takes the time to read articles such as this and thoughtfully make decisions. Good luck with your search!

Meet The Expert


Emily Louange

Emily has held positions as a care provider for over two decades. She’s managed care as a nanny, home health aide, and as a RN after earning her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. When she became a working mother, she was astonished by the insufficient systems in place to support and guide families. She strongly believes that our children and those who care for them deserve better support and solutions. Called to do something to help; she founded a childcare networking platform, Via The Village, served on the Board of Directors for the US Nanny Association, and helped start CareNectar!