Member Questions

Ask a question

Nannies vs Daycare: I work full-time, my husband may be reentering school. We're considering a nanny or daycare. Any tips on screening nannies/daycares. Any views on advantages/disadvantages to both. Average cost for a nanny (2 kids under 2 y/o)?”

7 replies so far...

  • We've had nannies so far. Our twin girls are just under 3 years old. The nanny has been great because we have irregular work and travel schedule and we need *someone* to be constant. Our current nanny is very reliable. She's a live-in, and we pay SSI and other taxes. We also offer medical and dental coverage, so our costs are high. (Also we live in a relatively high cost-of-living part of the country--S. CA.) The nanny has been wonderful for young children. She adores babies and is very very loving and kind.

    I think that we are kind of outgrowing this particular nanny at this point--she has not helped me with potty training and other growth items, and I have to explicitly as for any changes (like from sippy cups to now open cups). On one hand, that is fine, but on the other, it would be nice to have some help/initiative here!

    However, our kids are also in preschool 3 times/week and have a music class an additional time/week, because I want them to have the socialization and also the stimulation of a classroom environment and things to do. Our nanny doesn't teach.

    She also doesn't cook or clean, although she does laundry and is good at keeping the kitchen neat.

    So at the moment our childcare costs are extremely high. I very much try to remember the good things--easy to live with, neat, kids adore her, never says "no" to what I ask and not focus on the negatives.

    I think it is really dependent upon your personal needs. There is no one right choice.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by spacegeek on 1st July 2009

  • I think an ideal childcare arrangement provides a good balance of allowing the child one-to-one nurturing as well as socialization/education, with the balance shifting gradually from an emphasis on the former to an emphasis on the latter as the child grows. For me, this has meant hiring a full-time nanny, but enrolling my daughter in part-time "classes". For others, it might mean full time day-care, but having a babysitter or family member on call if the child is sick or otherwise needs extra attention or care.
    As far as cost goes, that seems to depend entirely on where you live. I am in NYC and I pay my nanny $650/wk plus overtime for 1 child (and I am extremely fortunate to have found an amazing nanny at that rate). Reading these comments was a reminder to add "move to another city" to my long-term to do list. I'm really curious where in Florida Ree lives :)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jesse on 1st July 2009

  • I have been in this situation and we choose Daycare.
    Daycare ( a good one) will have certified teachers as they get older ( which happens in a blink of an eye).
    They have structure, daily schedules, progress reports ( again, as they get older).
    My friends with nannies seem to have children who are not as outgoing and high maintence.( aka- spoiled).
    I see lots of nannies at the park who just talk on their cells the whole time, or text all day.
    Those were prob not good nanny picks.
    But under 2 is hard, since you wouldnt want them around so many children as infants.
    But if they get attached to a nanny, when do you start daycare?
    Child interaction is key- IMO
    I would go for Daycare, a center that is certified, has teachers, and structure.

    my .02
    best of luck
    They are both super expensive!!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by DebR on 1st July 2009

  • I just had my second child in February. I was going around and around with this same question. The daycare that my first child had been at would've cost us $330/wk for both kids! My husband made a joke one day that we could afford a nanny for that! So that got me thinking. I posted a couple of listings online ( and one other?) clearly stating my weekly salary requirement and I couldn't believe the overwhelming response!!! Not sure if it was because of the economy or what but we got a lot of qualified people. Here I am, 3 months later and completely satisfied with our nanny. Its made our lives sooooooo much easier!!! The kids are happy at home, I don't have to take vacation if they're sick, they get a lot more from their naps, if we have to work late, its usually not an issue - a nanny was definitely the way to go for our family!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by moonlightmom on 30th June 2009

  • I typed out a long response and lost it so, here's the short version: all other things being equal, I'd recommend a nanny. We've done both and have been very lucky with our nannies. Or, if it's at all possible & palatable for you and your husband, an au pair or live in nanny can be a great cost-effective option. We have 3 kids (1, 7 &8 y/o) and a live in nanny. We call her our practice teenager (she's 19) and we pay her approx $200 per week plus room & board. For three kids, the price can't be beat and she does the kids' laundry!!!! Overall, it's been great. We had a nanny when the older two were little & I think the cost for 2 kids was about equal, maybe a little more for the nanny. Also, we were incredibly lucky to find a wonderful person -- we live in Fla, she lives in Chicago and we are still in touch -- she even visits for kids' birthdays. Here's what i say, a nanny is a necessary luxury -- think about the difference b/w getting 3 people ready to go in the morning (you plus two kids) versus just one (you). The kids get to stay in their own environment and get sick far less often. Also, if you run out of milk, the nanny can run errands!!! If your husband's schedule is flexible, you can avoid the issue expressed below that no one is watching the nanny. I did have this concern when we hired our first nanny, but my husband works from home a lot so we had some eyes and ears around to make sure things were working out well. Trust your gut and don't be afraid to re-evaluate down the road. This is not a irrevocable decision. Good luck!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by ree on 29th June 2009

  • Our kids always went to daycare. Main reason being my husband's resistance to leave the kid(s) trusting a single person. He prefers the daycare setting where there is overseeing in the care and also parents coming and going at different times. The cost here in Tennessee is $160/ wk for the baby and $100/wk for the 5 year old. It depends a lot on location. When we were in Michigan, the cost for our baby alone was $350/wk in a daycare. The only thing I do not like about daycare is the fact that kids tend to fall sick quite often during intial year +. Luckily after my older one turned 3.5, she has not been sick at all.

    As far as screening, Tennessee has a state rating for child care centers with 3 stars being best. We went by references as well, we picked a place where friends' kids had gone, my colleague's kid was there before etc...

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lakshmi on 29th June 2009

  • I hired a nanny when my kids were 12 mos and 15 mos old. She is an independent contractor so I pay her enough to cover self-employment tax and MSA/insurance. She earns $750/week.

    Things to consider: you want to screen for the long term, and/or be clear about how finite the position will be. In my case, Nanny's English was good enough for infants / young toddlers, but now my kids are getting confused (at age 2.5) - and she hasn't done the things she said she'd do to improve her English or transition to Spanish-only with the girls. Also, Nanny's experience was with young toddlers and while she had lots of good ideas for that stage, her ideas aren't growing with the girls' abilities / maturity. She is very reluctant to encourage their independence skills. Which brings up another issue - if I say I want something done a certain way, she very often ignores me because she doesn't agree with me or "that's not how it's done in the day care setting." In my mind, I am paying twice as much for a nanny precisely because I wanted things done differently than a day care center would do them. I have been frustrated many times because I don't like to have to give an instruction repeatedly, and we end up "discussing" it in front of the girls, which I very much dislike. As a result of all these issues, I've given my nanny notice, and she has taken it very hard, because in her mind, she was "long term." (It's been 1.5 years.)

    So from my experience, I would make sure your prospective nanny has experience or education for the entire range of years you intend to use her; be very clear about the timeline and have a probationary period; and make sure she states her agreement that she's here to cater to your wishes, not impose her own childrearing views. And have a review every 6 months or so, including an update on goals (like, in my nanny's case, improving her English and my kids' Spanish within a reasonable time frame).

    One thing I thought would be a factor, but ultimately wasn't, was age (ducking to avoid flames). My nanny is a mom with four adult children, and she was able to manage although the job involved a certain amount of lugging two tots up and down stairs. Her experience with her own kids meant she had a good sense of how to react to the various big and little crises. It may have also affected the extent to which she is dependable (very).

    I don't have much experience with day cares, so I'll leave that for wiser women.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by SKL on 28th June 2009