Childcare Providers: In Your Home vs. a Childcare Center
byKathryn WalshMay 01, 2014
Choosing between hiring a nanny or sending your child to a daycare center shouldn't feel agonizing. First, forget about comparing your family to any other. Prioritize your list of requirements for a care setting and go from there. A nanny's ideal if you need flexibility; if your kiddo thrives in a crowd, a center might be best. There's a right setting for every family.
The average annual cost for an infant in a center ranged from about $5,000 to $16,000 per year according to a 2012 report by Child Care Aware of America. Prices are usually highest in urban areas. Typically, full-time, in-home child care is more expensive than a center. The nanny placement service Nannies4Hire.com claims the typical salary for a nanny in 2012 was anywhere from $250 to $850 per week. It all depends on her experience and the cost of living in your area.
Your Child's Experience
A center isn't geared toward individual experience says the University of Michigan Health System. Constant one-on-one attention isn't part of the deal. However, if your child is nearing kindergarten age, center experience could help her learn to make friends and function in a classroom setting. In a home setting, she can learn at her own pace without being overwhelmed by other children. Babies used to schedules could have trouble adjusting to the times set by a center. At home, a nanny can follow the schedules to which your baby's accustomed.
Being the boss comes with its own set of challenges. When your in-home caregiver catches a cold, it's up to you to find a replacement — and you're the one responsible for monitoring her behavior and investigating her background. And if you employ an in-home caregiver, says Care.com, you'll have payroll and tax responsibilities that vary by state. Before signing enrollment paperwork at a childcare center, verify that background checks are done on the staff, that the center follows state and county licensing requirements, and has adequate staff to care for your child.
Child care centers are structured, while in-home care is flexible, says the UMHS. Centers have set daytime hours, so the flexibility of in-home care is a bonus if your work schedule is a problem. In-home care can also be more affordable than a center if you team up with another parent to split the cost of a nanny to watch both your children. The child's temperament matters too. A baby who's a light sleeper, for instance, might struggle in a care center where there's a lot of activity during her usual nap times.