The Daycare Decision

One of the most common questions I’m asked by soon-to-be moms is, “How did you figure out the best daycare solution for your kids?” Rightfully so, this is probably one of the biggest and more complicated decisions for a new mom. And there’s no best situation because everyone has different needs, so here are some pros and cons to consider:

  • Live-In Au Pair

Pros+ Flexibility of hours and support; Cost-effective compared to a Nanny; Can expose your children to other cultures and/or languages

Cons– Less privacy for you; Resources needed to provide room and board; Extra involvement in helping them assimilate into the country; Caregiver may use the job as a springboard to something else, so you may lose her/him after the contract ends

  • Daycare Center

Little boy is eating applePros+ Will never cancel on you due to illness or life event; Predictable hours; Daily instruction and socialization; More resources vs. an in-home center; Cost-effective compared to a Nanny

Cons– No support outside of the center hours; Some centers can be expensive; Kids get sick more often; Less 1:1 attention vs. a nanny or family member

  • Family Member

Pros+ Peace of mind that your child is with someone you trust; Lots of 1:1 attention; Less exposure to viruses vs. daycare centers; Depending on the arrangement, can be the most inexpensive and flexible childcare option

Cons– Fewer socialization opportunities; Children end up getting sick later when they start school; Potential drama if you and the family member disagree about parenting techniques

  • In-Home Daycare

Pros+ More attention for your child compared to a larger daycare center; Socialization opportunities; Less expensive than a daycare center

Cons– Fewer resources than a daycare center; Can be unreliable if provider is sick or has a life event; Not regulated in the same way as a large daycare center

  • Nanny or Babysitter

Pros+ Great flexibility; 1:1 attention; Some nannies even help with chores around the house

Cons– If the Nanny gets sick or a life event occurs, you’re out of luck; Most expensive of all options; can be a difficult/time-consuming process to find and interview

One last thought before anyone stresses over this choice: you can always change your mind. If you find the situation not turning out as you expected, you can always change centers, nannies, etc. Go with your gut after meeting with a childcare provider and check references – how you feel about the situation should be the greatest priority, followed by location and fit with your schedule.

Still pondering your options? Check out BabyCenter’s take on the topic.


Categories: Family, Work

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