Daycare vs Nanny: 9 Pros and Cons

For working parents, finding the perfect care for their child is an important and often very stressful decision. Here are some of the largest factors that should be considered in making the best possible decision related to childcare for you and your family.

Daycares provide qualified caretakers and improve social skills, but lack flexibility in schedules and increase germ exposure. Nannies are generally more expensive and require tax paperwork, but they offer individual and personalized care at the family’s convenience in both location and hours.

There are many benefits and downfalls to both daycares and nannies. It is important to decide what is most important to you as parents and to your child’s specific personality and needs. Keep these key components of ideal care in mind when gaining more information on the childcare options available.


Daycare ProsDaycare Cons
Multiple Teachers with Higher QualificationsLess Flexibility
Improved Sleeping Habits High Staff Turnover
Access to Toys, Books, and Learning MaterialsMood and Behavioral Effects
Improved Social SkillsStrict Sick and Fever Policies
More Cost-Effective

Pros of Daycare

Multiple Teachers With Higher Qualifications

Most daycares have hired multiple teachers that will be working with your child. Many of these workers have studied child development and other related fields that help them know how to best help and care for children. They also have experience with a variety of different personalities, ages, tendencies, and behaviors.

Qualified and educated caregivers can be extremely influential in the academic development of children when introduced in their younger years and provide additional educational opportunities for your child.

Improved Sleeping Habits

In addition to daily activities and games, the majority of daycares also have designated nap times for children to be quiet and sleep for a part of the day. When conversing with parents who have used daycares, the majority report that their children’s sleep patterns and habits improved from their time attending.

These workers know exactly how to help children get to sleep, and will make nighttime routines and nap times at home much easier for you to manage at home!

Access to Toys, Books, and Learning Materials

There are always shelves and piles of toys in daycares. They make use of books and learning materials that are not always available at home. Children will enjoy the variety of entertainment in a new location and are less likely to lose interest in their toys at home as quickly.

Most daycares provide a more educational experience for children. Qualified and educated caregivers can help your child progress academically through games, lessons, and activities. This prepares young children for school environments and learning as they get older.

Improved Social Skills

Children who attend daycare will interact with many other children with different personalities, backgrounds, beliefs, and educations. This will help prepare them for upcoming mile-markers such as school classes, sports teams, activities, and jobs in the future.

They will learn how to be patient, share with other children, and not always get exactly what they want. This will also provide built-in friends for your child, and help you to meet other working parents in your community.

More Cost-Effective

The average cost of a daycare service in the United States is listed as $1,230 per month. Prices vary largely between states and can be viewed on This is generally cheaper than hiring a personal nanny, but cheaper and more expensive options can be found on both ends.

Cons of Daycare

Less Flexibility

The majority of daycares have a fixed schedule, generally open from about 8 am to 5:30 pm. This does, however, vary largely based on the specific daycare. For parents who work jobs that require time outside of the 9 am-5 pm range, additional arrangements will be necessary to care for your child in the additional hours you will be unavailable.

Another important piece of information will be the policies of daycares in your area for late arrival to pick up your child. While some programs are more forgiving than others, it is common to charge an additional fee for parents who leave their child at the center for longer than the allotted time frame previously established.

High Staff Turnover

With multiple teachers and workers in the daycare, your child will grow an attachment to multiple caregivers. This can, however, be difficult for children when staff members change daycares, work fewer hours, or leave. Many daycares have staff changes rather regularly, which may be difficult for your child.

Mood and Behavioral Effects

Increased social interaction can be a positive aspect for developing children but bring negative effects as well. As a parent, you are unable to control which children will also attend the care center or your child’s behavior during the day.

When their classmates act in a way that is contrary to the habits or accepted behaviors of your child, it can be difficult to respond to the consequential reactions. Their peer’s behaviors and tendencies will have a large effect on what your child believes to be acceptable, and additional conversations and teachings at home will most likely be necessary to help maintain personal parenting styles and approval.

Strict Sick and Fever Policies

When your child is sick or has a fever, other arrangements will need to be made for their care until the symptoms have passed. Daycares often have strict health care policies to prevent the spreading of illness between multiple households.


Pros of a NannyCons of a Nanny
Works with Your ScheduleDifferences in Parenting Style
Individual Attention and Care Higher Cost
Forms A Healthy Attachment and RelationshipManaging an Employee/ Tax Papers
Child is Comfortable in HomeNo Required Qualifications
More Parental ControlSick Days and Time Off
Reports on Your Child

Pros of a Nanny

Works with Your Schedule

One of the largest benefits of using a personal nanny for your child is that the hours can be based on your personal preferences. This is extremely beneficial in situations where work hours vary or follow an untraditional schedule.

Your nanny can work longer in the evenings or earlier in the mornings, following your family’s needs. This is also helpful when running late from work or caught in traffic. Your nanny will be waiting at home with your child and can leave when you come home or are available to take over the care of your child.

Individual Attention and Care

Personal care for a child allows them to grow and learn at their own pace. Activities, games, rewards, and teaching opportunities can be personalized to the preferences and abilities of the child. They won’t be lost in the needs or bustle of groups of other children in a daycare.

Forms a Healthy Attachment and Relationship

Having a nanny is easily the most similar situation for a child to the care of a stay-at-home parent. They will learn to love and respect their nanny and have a strong relationship with an individual outside of family ties. This will help them in forming friendships and respecting teachers and family members.

The Child is Comfortable in Home

When being taken care of by a nanny, children can sleep in their own beds and wake up as they please. A normal and natural daily routine can be established without rushing them out the door to get to daycare when you need to leave for work.

They will be comfortable with living and being at home and do not need to adjust to new people, toys, and environments. Your child can meet and play with other children in the neighborhood, enjoy local parks, and have a comfortable world at home they are familiar with and know how to navigate.

Some nannies help around the house with small housekeeping tasks such as cooking for the child, tidying up the house, switching a load of laundry, or other requested duties.

More Parental Control

Specific instructions, parenting methods, and preferences can be left with the nanny for the care of your child. They can grow to have consistency in rewarded and punishable behaviors.

Reports on Your Child

Upon request, nannies can provide reports or photos of how your child is doing throughout the day. Many parents like to receive a message knowing that they learned a new skill or a picture of the child’s newest artwork. If this is something you would enjoy, having a nanny may be the kind of personalized experience you are looking for.

Cons of a Nanny

Differences in Parenting Style

Children learn and adapt to standards, habits, and expectations established by adult figures in their lives. When spending such a long portion of their time with a single nanny, they will learn and behave in accordance with the parenting style of the nanny. This may have both positive and negative effects based on how you and your nanny compare expectations and treatment of the child in a variety of situations.

Higher Cost

According to the International Nanny Association, the average nanny charges from $500 to $700 a week for childcare. The many benefits of having one on one care for your child are reflected in the cost. However, it is important to look at the prices of daycares near you before making your decision.

Managing an Employee/Tax Papers

By hiring a nanny rather than using daycare, you become an employer. This means that you will need to pay Social Security taxes for your nanny and also file a W-2 for them. For many people, this is a dreaded task, but one way to avoid it may be hiring your nanny through a nanny agency.

This would help with filing taxes, background checks, and even sick days (some agencies can send another nanny if yours calls in sick).

No Required Qualifications

It can be a stressful and long journey when searching for the right nanny. Facebook groups, recommendations from friends or colleagues, and nanny agencies are all wonderful tools for finding the right fit for your family.

Some prominent nanny agencies include Sitter City and Nanny agencies often do background checks for you and offer a variety of nanny options.

Sick Days and Time Off

One downside to having a nanny is apparent on days when your nanny calls in sick or takes personal time/days off. While daycares have plenty of workers to balance this type of event, having a personal nanny leaves your family in a rather inconvenient situation. You will need to find care for your child, likely with little notice.