Regardless if you’re looking for full-time or part-time care for your little one, the nanny vs. daycare discussion will inevitably come up. For working parents, having somebody else look after your child is necessary, and without a family member or friend to assume the interim caregiver role, you will need to choose between hiring a babysitter or nanny and enrolling in daycare. 

Both childcare options have their pros and cons, and your choice will depend on numerous factors, including location, cost, the unique needs of your child and household, and how involved you want to be in the process. This article highlights some of the key factors to help you decide what will work best for your family. 

Nanny vs. Daycare: 5 Factors to Consider

Choosing between entrusting your child to a daycare center and to one person depends on your needs. Here are five factors you should look into. 

1. Cost

The cost of a nanny vs. daycare is a major consideration. After all, the reason why parents are forced to return to the workforce is because they need to remain financially prepared as their children grow. 

Twenty-twenty data from the Center for American Progress reveals that the average cost of hiring a nanny is $612 per week, compared to the average of $340 per week for a daycare center. Work hours for both the nanny and the daycare center are similar, usually taking up a full day. Parents who frequently work overtime and on weekends will also have to pay the nanny more for the extra hours or hire an after-daycare or weekend babysitter, which can cost an additional $244 per week.

2. Location

Where you live and the proximity of daycare centers is crucial. If you hire a nanny, you will need to ensure that the person is able to get to your house on time everyday so you don’t show up late to work. This means that your nanny should have the means to come in consistently. If there are daycare centers nearby, it might be more beneficial to drop your child off in the morning before heading to work and then just pick them up after. 

Your location also has a lot to do with the reliability and availability of childcare. With a nanny, you need to wait every morning for the person to arrive and, if they suddenly call in sick or are unable to come, you will be faced with a dilemma. Meanwhile, you know that a daycare center will remain operational and can accommodate your little one for the day even if one of the teachers isn’t available. 

3. Availability of toys, books, and other resources

Most daycare centers have a wide range of books, educational games, creative tools, toys, and play equipment to help with various developmental levels in children. There are centers that also include extra activities like yoga and music to their curriculum. Meanwhile, with a nanny, tools will be limited to what the nanny or you can provide. 

4. Structure

Both the nanny and the daycare generally follow a schedule for your child’s daily activities, though it’s more predictable with the latter. Daycare centers are run by licensed teachers and early learning specialists who are well supported by resources and tools, so you can expect your child to be exposed to a multitude of activities. Meanwhile, the nanny-created schedule will tend to be tailored to the day and depend on your child’s unique requests. 

5. Parental control and involvement

How involved will you be in your child’s care? If you prefer more control over what your child is exposed to, having a nanny may be beneficial. Given the individualized care that a nanny provides, versus a daycare where activities are mostly group-based, a nanny can place more attention on what your child needs and follow your preferred schedule and to-do list. 

On the other hand, since daycare centers are managed by professionals, you can also rest assured that what your child is learning at daycare will be according to their developmental needs — so there’s no need to be so involved. 

If you work long hours and need someone to take care of your child during the day, then daycare may be the best option. However, if you want to spend more time with your child, a nanny may be a better choice.

Nanny or Daycare? The Bottom Line

Both childcare options have their merits, so your decision really depends on what’s important to you as a family. If you want your child to have one-on-one attention with an experienced caregiver who can provide personalized support, nanny care is probably the best choice for you. However, if you’re looking for a more affordable, structured option with plenty of social interaction, daycare may be the better fit. 

In choosing between a nanny vs. daycare, it’s important to do your research and find a facility that meets both your child’s needs and your budget.

Nurture Your Child’s Development with Cadence Education

Cadence Education offers a skills-based curriculum with individualized instruction to foster a love of learning and create a solid foundation for later education. As one of the leading childcare providers in the U.S., Cadence has remained true to its mission of cultivating confidence in every child. Our programs prioritize children’s unique skills and capabilities, developed in a nurturing environment just like home. 

Find a Cadence facility near you to learn more about our daycare and early education programs.