Daycare Vs. Nanny Care

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For parents who are looking for child care, both daycare and nanny care can be viable options. Since no child care arrangement is one size fits all, parents who are considering child care must examine the pros and cons of their child care options and choose the option that best suits their families’ lifestyle, schedules and budget.

Pricing Differences

While the cost of child care can vary from state to state, according to a 2010 report by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, the average cost of full-time daycare ranges from $4,000 to $13,000 or more per year. In comparison, according the 2010 International Nanny Association Nanny Salary and Benefits Survey, depending on where nannies work, their level of experience and the hours their work week includes, they can earn from less than $300 per week to $950 per week or more. This roughly translates to a national average salary of between $15,600 and $49,400 per year. In addition, since many nanny employers offer benefits like health insurance and are legally required to withhold employment taxes, the cost of employing a nanny can be significantly more. Parents who choose to find their nanny through a placement agency will also incur additional placement agency fees.

Provider-Parent Relationship

In a daycare arrangement, the parents and children are clients of the daycare center and provider. Parents pay for a slot in a classroom, and the child must adapt to the schedule, curriculum and rules of the program. Since there are several children in the classroom, it’s impossible for each child to receive customized care. In nanny care, the parents are the employers of the provider. This means that the parents can dictate the schedule, decide the rules and outline how they wish their child to be cared for. When parents choose nanny care, they can customize their child care arrangement.

Licensing Requirements and Regulations

Daycare centers are subject to mandatory licensing and regulation. The licensing requirements and regulations vary from state to state. The regulations outline requirements for providers, the provider-to-child ratio and safety standards and practices. In addition to required licensing and regulations, the daycare industry also has voluntary certification and accreditation options. In comparison, the nanny industry is largely unregulated. To be a nanny, a person does not require any special training or licensing. The International Nanny Association, or INA, however, does offer a Nanny Credential Exam that can be taken to become an INA-credentialed nanny.

Potential for Flexibility

Daycare centers have strict hours of operation. You must drop your child off and pick your child up at a set time. If you are early or late, you can incur financial penalties. Most daycare operations do not stay open late, so if you work outside the normal business hours, daycare may not be the best option. Nanny care allows for the ultimate in flexibility. In addition to defining your nanny’s schedule, most nannies are willing to be flexible if you need to work late or travel. By law, live-out nannies who work more than 40 hours in a seven-day period must be paid overtime. Live-in nannies are not subject to overtime laws, but they must be paid for each hour worked.

Considerations When Choosing Child Care

When considering if daycare or nanny care is best for your family, you must take several things into consideration. In addition to considering your budget and need for flexibility, you must consider if you are comfortable having a child care provider in your home and part of your daily life. When managing a nanny, you must invest time to build and strengthen the relationship. Daily check-ins, weekly meetings and annual reviews are things that are required when employing a nanny.

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