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Comparing Child Care: Live-in Nanny versus Daycare


Choosing between a live in nanny and a day care center is not an easy decision for parents to make. Each of these child care services has its own pros which may or may not address specific needs. Both also have cons that can undermine or offset the pros; the reason why this decision is a famous subject for debate among parents. Here are a few things that may help compare these two child care options.

Child Care Qualifications

A day care center is required in most states to carry a license that covers safety and health regulations; however, this does not always guarantee the quality of services. The individual qualifications of the staff, which may include first aid, CPR and early childhood education, are still more important.

A nanny does not need to carry a license but most carry some form of degree or certification in child care. Trustworthiness is also something that parents require as an additional qualification since they would be opening their home to a stranger in addition to entrusting child care to this individual without their supervision most of the time.

Time Flexibility

Day care centers have fixed hours of operations and are often closed during holidays or weekends. Parents who may not be able to pick up their children during the designated time may need to make an arrangement with the center for extended hours. Finding back up child care options during holidays may also be a problem using day care services.

Nannies may have flexible working hours. With the right negotiation and compensation, working hours can even reach up to 10 hours a day or 40 to 60 hours a week.

Accessibility of Child Care

Accessibility is a factor for which nanny care and day care greatly differs. Day care services can only commence when parents themselves drive their children to the center whereas with nannies, child care is available immediately within the home. With the latter, parents do away with travel time and expenses, and the hassle of preparing extra clothes and snacks for children.

In exchange for easy access however, parents have to provide live in nannies with their own rooms, bathrooms and perhaps even a vehicle which they can use for driving kids to recreational facilities.


Day care is one of the most affordable child minding options since centers do not follow a one-on-one ratio. A center can have more than 12 children at any given time so the compensation of each staff is divided among several parents.  

Nannies on the other hand, can provide one-on-one care so the payroll is shouldered solely by the parent. Generally, the compensation of a live in nanny can cost 2 to 3 times more than the fees of a day care center however, nannies can be asked to perform functions that day care centers do not provide. This can include but may not be limited to food preparation, bathing and child-related household tasks.

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