Like every type of childcare, there are pluses and minuses to nanny care. Of course I believe the pros far outweigh the cons but is it the right choice for your family? Here’s a list to help you decide.
One-on-One, Quality Childcare Of course this is the most important benefit of having a nanny, providing your child with a loving, capable caregiver that’s devoted to creating a safe, happy, nurturing caregiving environment.
In-Home Environment The safety, familiarity and convenience of the home environment is a great plus to kids of all ages. With nanny care, your child will nap in her own bed, have meals in her own kitchen, and play with her own toys. Her daily schedule and routine will reflect her individual needs, not those of a group. And on those days when she’s home sick or school is closed because of snow or a teacher in-service, you won’t have to miss work or scramble to find back-up care. Your nanny will already be there.
No Kid Commute If you’ve ever had your child in daycare, you know how difficult the morning and evening commute can be for them. And you. Children often have to leave the house in the morning way before they’re ready. Simple things like getting dressed and having breakfast are frenzied or put off until they arrive at daycare. You get home in the evening with a hungry child who wants all of your attention but you have to focus on fixing dinner and getting a jump on the rest of the chores piling up. With a nanny, this day-to-day stressor is eliminated. Your child can follow his natural schedule for sleep and meals and the in-home environment supports his natural pace, weather that’s fast, fast, fast or sloooow.
Healthy Environment Daycares are infamous for sharing illnesses. For many parents it can feel like bugs get passed around over and over again. Although nanny care doesn’t make your child immune to sickness, it does greatly lessen the number of viruses your child is exposed to. This is especially important for infants and toddlers who have weaker immune systems than older children. And with in-home care, you won’ be forced to miss work if your child does get sick. A familiar and loving nanny is a great companion for under-the-weather kids.
Flexible Schedule For parents whose work hours don’t fit into the typical nine-to-five schedule, the hours available in other childcare settings just don’t cut it. If you have to pick up your son or daughter no later than 6 PM, what do you do when you have a client dinner, a late afternoon meeting runs over or you have to travel? Many parents hire a nanny because a nanny’s schedule is tailored to fit their individual needs, whatever those needs may be.
Control Over Daily Activities With an in-home caregiver, your child’s day has endless opportunities. Do you want your child to take an art or music class? Learn how to swim? Explore nature through the local arboretum program? Or do you want your child to simply have lots and lots of unstructured play time? Whatever you want your child’s day to be like, a nanny can create it.
Organic Socialization Nanny care doesn’t offer a built-in social network like group care does. However quality nannies understand the importance of social development and involve their charge in lots of great activities. This means your child will make friends in a more natural way. She can play with neighborhood kids, spend time with the children of your friends and family or make friends doing her favorite things; taking a swimming class, participating in a local wildlife program or just going to the park. In group care, your child becomes friends with whomever’s in the group, regardless of interests, social connections or temperaments.
Consistent Caregiver Common sense along with an abundance of research tells us that having a long-term caregiver greatly benefits a child. A nanny often works with a family for years, providing consistent care through the many stages of a child’s life.
Household Support Person Imagine not having to spend the weekend catching up on laundry, not having to stop for milk on the way home or not having to go into work late so you can register your child for swim lessons. Nanny employers don’t have to imagine. By handling the multitude of tasks that keep your household and family life running smoothly, a nanny can lessen the time you spend keeping up and increase the time you spend enjoying your child.
Travel Care If you’d love to have an extra set of hands along on your family vacation, a nanny’s a perfect choice. You can bring along a caregiver you and your children know and trust, someone that can pitch-in whenever you need and can even care for the children of the family you’re vacationing with. Yes, there’s an extra cost involved but for many parents having adult only time with a spouse or friends, one-on-one time with each child and some guilt-free alone time is well worth it.
No Built-In Social Network When your child attends a daycare, preschool or family care center, there are built-in playmates. That’s not the case with nanny care. A nanny has to make an effort to provide your child with social opportunities by spending time at the park, joining local play groups, etc. Fortunately most nannies want to get out and about too so they’re proactive about creating an active social network for your child.
No Built-In Back-Up Childcare When a daycare or preschool employee is out sick or takes a personal day, the director simply assigns another worker to her classroom. However when you’re the employer and your nanny is out, you have to find an alternative caregiver or become the alternative caregiver. Fortunately there are lots of back-up options for nanny employers. By registering with a center or service in advance, you can avoid a last minute crisis.
No Direct Supervision of Your Caregiver Unlike centers where caregivers are regularly observed by colleagues and supervisors, a nanny works almost exclusively on her own. This can lead to a lack of quality care if the nanny isn’t fully committed to maintaining professional standards. To make sure your nanny is providing the level of care you expect, it’s important to put in place checks and balances and then stay alert for potential problems.
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