1.) Fewer children. This can mean less opportunity for illness; socializing in small steps; interaction that's more like siblings in a loving family; more adult attention. (Depends on the ratios of children to adults, which varies by municipality or state/province.)
2.) One caregiver (stability of emotional attachment for the children).
3.) Older caregiver. Often the caregiver is an experienced mother; many have been doing this for years, and will do a little mothering of the mothers, too.
4.) Home environment. Children are in a home, so the atmosphere is more "family" than large centers.
5.) Children not segregated by age. Often, large centers are required to separate the age-groups. In home care, toddlers and babies interact, allowing older children to learn to nurture, and younger children to emulate more advanced behaviors.
6.) Flexibility (re: naps, food, hours of care). This varies by provider, of course, but with only a handful of children to tend, there is the potential of greater flexibility. A caregiver who stands to lose 20 percent of her income if you remove your child might be more flexible than a center which has a six-month waiting list.
1.) No outside monitoring (varies by jurisdiction). This puts the onus on the parents.
2.) Fewer children. Less opportunity for social interactions. If your child doesn't get along with the one other child in care, you have a problem!
3.) Training. Is "the nice lady down the street" going to provide the same quality care as the trained professionals at the center? Evaluating her expertise is harder without that piece of paper.
4.) No back-up. When caregiver takes time off or gets sick, she rarely provides back-up.
5.) May not have contract. How will conflicts or misunderstandings be resolved?
It's pretty clear that in the discussions throughout WIM, a nanny in your home is widely considered the Gold Standard of child care, particularly for children under the age of 2 or 3, when their social needs become stronger. The advantages of a nanny are obvious:
1.) Convenience. She's in your own home! No racing the child out to daycare, no racing the clock to get back before the late fees kick in.
2.) Training. Depending on the nanny, of course, but there are very well-trained nannies out there.
3.) Focus. One-to-one attention for your child.
4.) May do light housework as well. Imagine coming home to a house that not only holds your happy child, but is also tidy!
1.) Expense. With very few exceptions, nannies are the most expensive childcare option. This puts it out of the reach of many families.
2.) No back-up. If she's not with an agency, you have no backup if she bails/is sick.
3.) Focus. Some parents worry that too much attention can produce passive, attention-dependent children.
4.) Socialization. Parents sometimes feel the child needs more socialization than can be provided by a nanny in the home, particularly as the child gets older.