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child care advice - nanny vs. daycare for 1 year old?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I will be going back to work FT in January. I am lucky enough to be able to do some WAH, so I will probably do 3-4 days a week in the office.

We put a deposit down at a good daycare that we liked (but didn't love) in order to make sure we weren't in a bind when I go back to work in January. The daycare is nice, just not where we see DS longterm or for preschool. They are by my DH's work, which is about 30-40 minutes away from my work and our home (but only 2 minutes from DH's office, so he could check in). At the time, we figured it would be more consistent to start him there, and then when we got a spot at our fave daycares (which only enroll by lottery twice a year, so we're not sure if and when we might get a spot), we could switch him.

We interviewed a nanny who was working for a family interested in doing a share - because the share family wanted to switch their DS to daycare as soon as they got a spot, we turned it down, because we didn't want to have to change it up at a moment's notice. Their DS has gotten a daycare spot, so the nanny is now available. She was fabulous - really energetic. She is taking night classes to finish up her premed requirements, so she does have other commitments. She is younger, (maybe 23-24?) but seems responsible. Also, having her come 4 days a week would cost a lot more than the FT daycare - on average $400 more per month. We could do it, but it would be tight. Right now DH and I share one car, and we would have to continue doing so if we had a nanny. I also worry about what would happen if something came up for her and we had to scramble for childcare (which is not easy to find quickly here - we are in a major metropolitan area).

Money aside, I really want to do what would be best for my DS. I'm having such a terribly hard time with this decision. I'd appreciate any advice you have.
post #2 of 13
I think the daycare situation sounds more sensible. It would save you money, you are not left to the whim of an individual, and really there is a good likelihood of your LO liking daycare just for the other children there. This is a smaller issue than it may seem to you right now, especially if you really do at least like the daycare you can get.
post #3 of 13
I vote for the daycare situation. Most kids thrive in group situations after 12 mos or so. He'll get a routine down and probably love the other kids (after he gets used to it). Good Luck!
post #4 of 13
I did daycare with DS1 from age 3 mo to age 10 mo and ditched it for a nanny. DS1 is now 4.5 and we still have the same nanny. The extra money was worth it to me. The advantages of the nanny situation for us is that she takes DS1 and now DS2 to classes, museums, petting zoo, library etc., she does all the kids laundry, and provides consistent care. DS1 and DS2 can wake up when they are ready, hang out in their PJs for awhile when the weather is bad before getting dressed and going outside, they only eat the food that I buy (organic, no artificial anything), and still do lots of games, crafts, projects like at a DCP. The ratio is 1:2, which is great most of the time (just not quite as great when nanny is sick or tired). We don't need to send in clothes for them, schlep them back and forth, adhere to DCP illness policies, or find alternate care during the DCP closings (which were many)! Nanny shows up in snow, ice, and when the kids are sick. She works during the hours we mutually agreed to. Also DS1 had 5 ear infections while at daycare and 0 since we pulled him out. While some of the working ladies at the DCP had been there for years, there were lots of new faces as well, and DH ended up dropping off DS1 several times with people he never met and didn't know. DCP also fed DS1 allergenic foods that he had not tried yet, against our wishes, because of the new faces who must not have gotten all the relevant info from the full-time ladies. *However* we keep an extra car so that the kids aren't being driven in her very small 1997 sports car, we have to do payroll services, workers' comp insurance, and keep the house warm all day in the winter and cool all day in the summer, and we scramble when she is sick or has other issues and can't make it here.

This is longer than I intended. However, I am a big fan of using a nanny, and thought I'd chime in on *our* pros and cons for DCP vs. nanny.
post #5 of 13
We have a 6yo and an almost 4yo. We've always had nannies until about 3 months ago. Then my 6yo started school and we put the 4yo into a playschool/daycare run by one of our former nannies.

I have to say - I prefer nannies, absolutely. For all the reasons that Aran mentioned in her PP. Even though it is possible for the nanny to get sick, it hasn't really happened that often with us. What happens MORE often is that our own children get sick. Now, if they had been in a daycare situation, they would not have been able to go and we would have missed work. But a nanny, a good one - a pro - will care for sick children.

Yes, nannies will need to take time off - but daycares are also closed from time to time for holidays, etc.

I loved that our children were able to sleep in when needed, nap in their own beds, go on fun outings, eat good food, have playdates with friends, etc.

The part about going out - that is huge to me. Our girls have gone to the beach, pool, aquarium, parks, forests, streams, gardens, fun parks, library, friends' houses, music class, gym class, art class, you name it - all because we had a nanny who was able to take them out.

I think the hardest part for them to adjust to was when they had to go to school and this playschool/daycare where they are there ALL DAY - not able to get out in the world and experience things. I HATE having them cooped up there. But it is what we have to do at this time... And believe me - their school and playschool are decent, nice places with good people, etc. But it's not like the freedom of having the nanny.

The one thing I would say about socialization is this - if you get a nanny, MAKE SURE you get one who is a people person. Someone who is friendly and outgoing and will talk to the other nannies/Moms out there and who will set up playdates and find little friends for your child. You do not want someone who will just stay home like a bump on a log and never take your child anywhere. In a daycare, you get that built-in socialization, but with a nanny - it all depends on the nanny. You need to carefully ask them about this - talk to former employers and find out if the nanny is good with other people and making connections.
post #6 of 13
We have a nanny and one car. We do have two children, though.

Without a nanny, we COULD NOT be a two-income family with only one car. Even though DH and I both work right on a bus line that stops four blocks from our house (15-20 minute ride each, in opposite directions). Because we have a nanny, she can drop DS1 off at preschool and pick him up, so if one of us needs the car *and* needs to go to work earlier, that's not such a problem (usually that's me; I have meetings sometimes off-site, and they're usually at the crack of dawn for some reason).

So think about the fact that, if you choose daycare, it's possible that you will not just have the option of getting a second car, but will HAVE to. And a second car is more insurance, more gas, more of a lot of expenses that you might not be calculating right now.

I prefer a nanny for many of the reasons stated by PPs: I like our kids being in our home, with a single care provider, who can come even if they're sick. It's also a real boon to have someone who can be home during the day to accept packages or admit service personnel (plumber, handyman, etc.) She does all the dishes, does the kids' laundry (and folds ours if we leave it in the dryer), straightens up, changes the sheets, can run to the store if we need something, and also takes the kids to the park and stuff. We haven't gotten seriously into outings, but I'm sure she'd be willing. DS2 is still enthralled by everything and DS1 does go to preschool three days a week.

The hours are more limited; we're doing a 40-hour work week for her, which means that one of us has to leave before she arrives to get a full day in, and we don't always manage that ;-). Fortunately I'm on 80% time, so as long as I work at least 32 hours, I'm ok. But if we *need* her an extra hour or two now and then, she can accommodate that.

The biggest disadvantage is price, but the advantages of having someone come to us very much outweigh that for me.
post #7 of 13
I'd do the nanny and try to find someone to share her with you. My daughter would not have done well in a group setting as a PP mentioned, and we ended up sharing a sitter with our friends, and the little ones had a blast together, but it wasn't overwhelming.

Pick which one you think your kid will do best with. Once you find someone to share the nanny with (pretty easy, post on craigslist), the cost will likely be less than daycare, but for infinitely better care given the age of your child (in my personal opinion of course, but again to each their own).
post #8 of 13
Originally Posted by mamasaurus View Post
he part about going out - that is huge to me. Our girls have gone to the beach, pool, aquarium, parks, forests, streams, gardens, fun parks, library, friends' houses, music class, gym class, art class, you name it - all because we had a nanny who was able to take them out.
I'm glad you posted this. I realized that I often take for granted how much "out and about" my DD gets b/c we have a sitter rather than daycare. Sure the daycare we would've had to put her in would take her out for walks, but it's nothing like getting to do all the cool things she does now.
post #9 of 13
My DS is a week shy of 14 mo. Up until this point he has had a Nanny, but on Monday we will be trying him at a DC.
We decided to make a change because it seemed we were constantly accomodating my Nanny's needs and not getting our needs met. I think a nanny can be a good thing as long as the work roles are clearly defined and you dont allow her to get "too comfortable" kwim?
post #10 of 13
I have been a nanny for several years, although prior to that, I worked in two different daycares. I have several friends who have also worked for daycares. I have become nannies for people who pulled their kids out of daycare because of the same problems. All of us have come to the same conclusion for daycares, big or small, no matter how great they seemed at first: there are almost no daycares out there that can compete with a nanny. When I was a daycare teacher, ALL of the other teachers would scream and yell at the children all of the time (WHEN THE PARENTS WERE GONE). THey would tell me I wasn't firm enough if I tried to get down on their level and talk to them. There was a huge turnover rate at the daycare I worked at, which meant that teachers were constantly changing, being switched around, etc. Teachers would call out, causing a lot of changing around. My assistant teacher would miss at least 2 days a week, leaving me with a different helper every day...CHAOS for 2 year olds! The helper would sit at the table chewing gum while I changed diapers...and watched 2 year olds beat each other up. There was only so much I could do--state ratios allowed my director to put 22 two year olds in the room as long as I had a helper. Every single day I had to fill out 2-3 incident reports for biting, hitting, pushing, etc. The kids learned bad words from each other, as well as bad habits, and every single one always had a runny nose. ALWAYS. Several times, rotavirus went around the daycare and we would be changing diarhea diapers nonstop all day because unless the temps were really high, directors didn't call the parents. There's only so many times in a day you can change a diaper when you have 22 children, and most of the kids would have diaper rashes as well.

As a nanny, I spend one-on-one time with the children I work with. I NEVER yell. They are changed and fed much more regularly. We go out and about, have field trips (museum, library, park, etc), I set up play dates, and I read books to them constantly. A GOOD nanny will do all of these things, as well as come up with fun games, activities, crafts, etc.

If you CAN afford a nanny over daycare, I would do it. Have her sign a work agreement that says that she will give you 30 days notice so that you have time to find childcare. A good nanny will not call out sick often, and she will provide much more physical, intellectual, and emotional stimulation/interaction than any daycare will.

I'd like to add that I am sure not ALL daycares are bad. I may in fact have to put my LO in daycare part time at some point, and I hope and pray that I can find one without horror stories attached to it. If you can find a daycare you LOVE and are 100% comfortable with, that is a good option as well!
post #11 of 13
At one, my daughter LOVED the small in-home daycare we used. She was really social, and was bored at home with a sitter, but totally fascinated by other babies and toddlers. It was much more fun and stimulating for her, and there were usually three adults around (the provider and her paid assistant, plus her college-age daughter would come over in the afternoons because she loved playing with and cuddling the babies) so we didn't have to worry about what would happen if the provider got the flu or whatever.
post #12 of 13
This is a very personal decision and no one right answer. I have 2 DDs that are now in daycare but I insisted that both remain with a nanny until at least 6 months of age. With my older DD we transitioned her when she was almost a year because she was very clingy and not very social. She's now about to turn 3 and LOVES school.

While I miss the convenience of having a nanny, a nanny can't provide everything those children need. They crave to be with others their own age. There are other things to consider but I would always choose a good daycare center with excellent teachers over a nanny for children over 6 months.
post #13 of 13
Originally Posted by mommy2naomi View Post
While I miss the convenience of having a nanny, a nanny can't provide everything those children need. They crave to be with others their own age.
I assume you mean your own children? One of mine is strongly prefers the company of adults to children his own age. Also, good nannies don't sit at home all day with children. They go out and have normal everyday interactions that include other children - classes, library story time, museums, parks, playdates.
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