Like most new moms, my husband and I debated whether to place my child in daycare or
hire a nanny once I returned to work (when Naomi turned a year). We
didn’t really start thinking about it until Naomi was about six months.
We considered the pros and cons of both options, and eventually,
decided to put Naomi in daycare.
Immediately after making the
decision, we visited many, many daycares, and interviewed their staff
until we found one that met our expectations.
For the first four
months after I returned to work, Naomi was part-time at daycare, and
part-time with my mother-in-law. We were lucky that we had family who
wasn’t working and was willing to take care of Naomi (in fact, she
volunteered!). Today, at 17 months, Naomi is in a daycare full-time,
well cared for and enjoying herself.
Frankly, choosing daycare
over having a nanny wasn’t all that difficult for us. Yes, we did think
seriously about each option, but it was more difficult finding and
deciding on which daycare to out our child in was the hard part. The
following were my lists of pros and cons, which we considered during
the nanny/daycare decision process.
- Dedicated one-on-one attention
- No need to wake baby up at an ungodly hour every morning
- No rushing to drop-off baby
- No rushing to pick up baby (and get stressed in traffic). Did you know that daycare fines for being late are $1.00 a minute?!
- Baby is in a comfortable and familiar environment from the beginning. Less transitioning needed.
- Extra help with caring for baby (ahhh.... maybe we can eat dinner in peace)
- Visions of a super tidy house and dinner waiting came to mind. (Of course there's no guarantee nanny will do all that.)
- Potentially quite expensive (“potentially” because the fees of certain daycares are shockingly expensive too)
- Would require us finishing the basement of our home (sounds like a lot of money and work but we were prepared for this option)
- Not enough social interaction - this is a really big deal to me
- No stimulating activities (Maybe Nanny will be boring and Naomi will end up watching T.V. all day.)
- Nanny could be serial killer (I get really paranoid when it comes to my child!)
seriously, how do I know if the nanny is hurting or being mean to my
child?? I don’t want to have to put nanny cams everywhere. And do I
really want to live like that where I can’t trust my caregiver? This
was a drawback I couldn’t get over.
- Well, opposite of all of the above pros for the Nanny option. Also:
- People tell me kids in daycare get sick more often (unfortunately, for the first 2 months, this was true)
neglect due to lack of staff (The daycare we eventually decided on
bragged about always having extra staff. And you know what, it seemed
Naomi got extra attention on the days she needed it.)
of fun activities including circle time with songs and reading, arts
and crafts (yes, they do it for infants), indoor and outdoor play, and
various other programs
- Will learn to be more independent and
become comfortable with another caregiver other than mommy (At the
time, I really, really hoped this would be true.☺)
interaction with other kids. It drives me crazy when people tell me
that young children (under two or three) don’t need to interact with
other children. Okay, so a child may turn out “ok” being alone at home
but believe me, children do benefit from playing and being around other
kids their own age! It would take another blog post for me to list all
the benefits (maybe another time) but don’t take my word for it—do your
Naomi has learned from other children by trying to
imitate what they do. It has motivated her for example, to try and
stand/walk sooner rather than later. I do know that Naomi loves being
around other children. I’m sure this could be partly genetic (being a
social creature) but it’s also because in her first year, I took her to
my mommy and baby get-togethers, classes, arranged frequent playdates,
and I just always tried to find opportunities to have her be around
my fear was that if I left Naomi with a nanny, she would miss the
social interaction, perhaps get used to it, and become one of those
kids that get overwhelmed when around other children. As well, I wanted
her to benefit from children’s activities in the same way she did when
I took her to music and play classes.
But my biggest fear is not
knowing how my child is truly being treated by the nanny. Until my
child can speak and tell me what goes on, I will never be comfortable
leaving her alone with one person who is not family. And this is the
same reason, we decided against home daycare. I’ve heard too many
horror stories of overcrowding and children being abused in private
I know there are good nannies; I know there are good home
daycares. In the end, it’s really what you’re comfortable with, and you
do what you believe is best for your child.What about that list of disadvantages for daycare?
it is a bit hectic in the mornings. But Isak (my husband) has flexible
hours so he doesn’t have to be at work by 9am sharp. Not even 10am,
- Naomi is not woken up at an ungodly hour— she wakes us up earlier than we would like ☺.
- Yes, transitioning week was hell. I cried. But we all got through it.
- I don’t have to kill myself trying to make it home by 6pm because mom-in-law picks up Naomi between 4 and 5pm (HUGE help).
And what about visions of a super-tidy house? Well, that still remains *just* a vision.(first published in The Working Mama on Feb. 17, 2009)