Choosing a nanny vs. day care
Decisions about child care are deeply personal — what works for your friend or sister may not be right for you and your family. While licensed day care centers and in-home facilities are fantastic options, some families prefer the personalized attention their child gets from a nanny.
In addition to one-on-one care, many families choose to hire a nanny because the arrangement tends to be more convenient. Nannies work around your schedule, meaning you don’t have to drop off or pick up your child at a certain time, or take time off from work when your wee one is under the weather.
Having a nanny come to your house also makes getting out the door in the morning easier, since you don’t have to pack extra clothes, shoes, lunch and snacks for day care — everything your baby needs is right there at home.
A few possible downsides to consider? A one-person staff may not be as dependable as center-based day care — if your nanny is sick or can’t make it to work, you’ll have to stay home or locate backup care. You may also have to adjust to having a non–family member in your home (though it’s not uncommon for a nanny to eventually feel like part of the family).
Finally, although it can vary depending on where you live, nanny care is typically the most expensive of child care options.
Hiring a nanny
Write a job description
Before you begin your search for a nanny, think about what is important for you and your family, then write down your needs in the form of a job description.
Detail the hours you’ll expect your nanny to work, including start and end times. How much experience do you want a caregiver to have? Do you want someone who is certified in infant CPR? Is proficiency in a second language important to you? Will your nanny be expected to empty the diaper genie or perform non-child care related tasks like grocery shopping? Determine what you’re looking for and make sure those needs are clearly spelled out.
There are a number of ways to connect with potential nannies. Word of mouth from other moms and dads is about as good as it gets — ask parents you see at the playground, baby classes or during group meet-ups. Often, someone will know of a nanny who has “aged out” of another family — meaning the kids are now old enough to be in school all day or are self-sufficient and don’t require as much, if any, supervision.
If you want to widen your pool of potential candidates or don’t have time to track down leads from friends and family, reach out to a nanny-placement service for help finding the right candidate. Call a few local agencies to get a feel for their placement style and methodology. Ask about their process and how they make their recommendations. You’ll also need to consider your budget — every agency has their own policies, fee structures and replacement guarantee timelines.