What’s a better care option for your child, an in-home nanny or a quality day care provider like Childventures? A lot of families ask us this question when they’re trying to figure out child care. Although we’d love to say that a great quality day care is the ideal (and we do feel pretty strongly about all the benefits children get by coming here), the answer really depends on your specific situation. You have to factor in your childcare budget, how many children you have, your work schedule, and how important school readiness and social skills are to you.
There are some family situations in which a nanny could be the right choice.
- If you work evenings or nights, travel a lot or have an unpredictable schedule, the structured approach of a day care facility might not fit with your needs. Nannies, particularly the live-in variety, offer flexibility and around-the-clock care.
- If you have three or more children who need care, a nanny may be a more budget-friendly way to go than paying for multiple spots in a day care facility.
- If you need someone who can provide both childcare and light housekeeping duties, a nanny will often do basic chores (cleaning, walking the dog, grocery shopping) and cook meals for the family.
- If you have a job that makes it difficult to take time off when your child gets sick, a nanny can take care of him or her so you’re free to go to work.
However, if your work schedule is predictable and falls within regular business hours, a centre like Childventures Early Learning Academy can be a better choice than a nanny – both for your child and for you.
Social opportunities. The biggest downside to having a nanny is that your child stays at home without other kids around (or only with older or younger siblings), and doesn’t get to interact with peers on a regular basis. In a daycare environment like Childventures, the opportunities for peer interaction are virtually unlimited, making it easier for your child to develop important social skills like sharing, taking turns, conflict resolution, kindness and communication. Plus, it’s more fun to be with other children, and it gives your little one the chance to play with friends almost every day.
Language development. A significant percentage of nannies come from countries where English is not the primary language, and children who are being cared for by someone with limited English skills may experience language delays. In a structured care environment like Childventures, on the other hand, there’s never any shortage of talking and interaction. Children learn through play, song, games, and other activities designed to foster language development and other key skills.
Academic development. A warm yet structured learning environment gives children an excellent basis for future learning; they build literacy, numeracy and self-care skills earlier, experience better school readiness, and transition more easily to a traditional classroom setting. While an in-home caregiver may work with a child to build school skills, there is no guarantee of that person’s academic background, or of their effectiveness as a teacher. When you have trained educators helping your child learn, however, in a stimulating, engaging environment like Childventures, the effectiveness of that learning is enhanced. When they’re exposed to more learning opportunities, children learn more.
Trained staff. Unlike a nanny, who may not have educational or child care qualifications, our staff all have an ECE and first aid training, and criminal background checks have been carried out on every single person who might come in contact with your child.
Multiple caregivers. If a nanny gets sick or goes on vacation, parents usually have to scramble for backup care, or stay home themselves and miss work. In a child care centre like ours, that’s never a problem. Your child is always in a supervised environment with several adults present. If someone calls in sick, there’s always a backup available.
Safety for kids – and peace of mind for parents. Our state-of-the-art facilities are designed with child safety in mind. Plus, parents can watch their children any time they like via a secure web site with real-time video.
You don’t have to share your home. With a nanny, you have to open up your house to someone outside of your family. Whether it’s a live-out caregiver or a live-in, that person is there when you’re not. It’s a situation that has potential for problems, plus it makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Plus, you have to deal with payroll, health benefits, and other hassles that come with being an employer. When your child is in a care centre, you maintain your privacy, and your home remains your own.
You can have the best of both worlds. Many of our parents see the benefits of having an at-home nanny AND exposing their child to all the wonderful experiences a high-quality daycare centre can provide. They often combine the two, bringing their children to Childventures two or three days a week (or just for mornings or afternoons) so they can get in some quality social and learning time, and then have them spend the rest of the week at home with the nanny.
Ultimately, hiring a nanny or choosing quality out-of-home day care is a personal choice that has to be based on what’s right for your child and for your family. If you have questions about the content of this blog, or about Childventures in general, please feel free to leave a comment, or get in touch with one of our child care professionals. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.