Deciding what kind of care is best for your child is a real challenge. Often accompanying the decision is the added emotional weight many mothers encounter when they face an impending return to the workplace. It’s a difficult challenge to be sure, but one you will overcome with the knowledge that your child will receive proper care every day.
Now you have to determine what kind of care your child needs. To get you one step closer to that decision, here are the pros and cons of hiring a nanny.
The Pros of a Nanny
Hiring a nanny is an excellent option for any family who likes having more control over what their baby does throughout the day. You will directly employ the nanny and set their work expectations, as well as your child's daily routine. If this sounds like a good fit, hiring a nanny might be the decision for you.
Individual Attention for Your Child
Unlike a day care center, which has multiple children in a room, your child will be the sole focus of whichever nanny you decide to hire. Your child won’t have to compete with other children for attention or toys – it’ll be all about your baby.
Your Child Will Build a Strong Attachment
It’s easy for your child to form a secure attachment with their nanny because they spend countless hours together. Also, the nanny consistently cares for your child, which helps them know they are well-loved. Secure attachments are crucial to healthy childhood development. Having an additional connection with a nanny will significantly benefit your child throughout life.
Lessen Your Household Load
Household responsibilities get a lot less complicated with a nanny in the household. Say you need to schedule a repair person to look at your air conditioner during the day. Instead of needing to zip home from work to let them in, the nanny can take care of it.
Many nannies cook for the child throughout the day and do minor cleaning tasks around the house. Depending on how you make arrangements with your nanny before you hire, you can set things up however you are most comfortable.
The frequent provider turnover in day care centers could prove unsettling for your child. Nannies typically have a record of much more consistent care, staying with families from infancy through the school years. You can encourage your nanny to continue working for your family by offering insurance and benefits. Not all states require you to do this, but it's easy to understand how this could attract and keep a solid employee.
Many families appreciate the flexibility working with a nanny has to offer. Unlike day care centers with their rigid schedules, you can set your hours with the nanny, and they can change depending on the day. If you’re stuck in traffic on your way home, you can call your nanny to let them know you’ll be late. It’s a relief knowing there’s flexibility built into the system, rather than everything being a mad dash.
The Convenience of at-Home Care
Another perk of hiring a nanny is the angle of convenience. When your nanny cares for your child, she comes to your home. That means you don't have to worry about transporting your baby in the early morning across town to the day care center. You don't have to repeat the step 15 minutes later when you realize you forgot your pumped milk in the fridge at home. Leaving all necessities at home and having a nanny care for your child in their natural habitat is a definite perk.
The Cons of a Nanny
When considering a nanny, you need to prepare to be someone's employer, which involves taxes. Additionally, you'll want to be sure you’re OK with the prospect of someone else in your house raising your child.
A Difference in Parenting Style
Continuity in your and the nanny’s parenting is crucial for your child’s emotional regulation. Any critical differences in parenting styles could lead to conflict in your working relationship as you fight over the best way to raise your child. When you conduct interviews with potential nannies, screen for any that might not mesh before hiring. Be honest about how you parent and ask them to be open as well.
The bottom line is nannies cost much more than day care centers. The price depends on your location, how many children you have and additional factors. However, there are ways you can make hiring a nanny more affordable. Consider a nanny share or hiring an au pair.
When Your Nanny Gets Sick
What happens when your nanny gets sick or needs to take a personal day? Either you’ll have to find backup care or stay home from work. These things are vital to consider as you decide if you want to hire a nanny.
No Nanny Regulations
At the moment, there are no regulations for nannies. Many have CPR or first-aid certifications, but this isn't required. Make sure you specify any licensures your nanny should have when you hire.
Managing an Employee
Because you are hiring a nanny, that makes you their employer. As such, you will need to manage them accordingly. Draw up a contract and discuss vacation days and sick time at hiring. Ensure you pay for your nanny “on the books” and pay additional taxes on their salary. Take advantage of tax breaks with the Child Tax Care Credit or utilize a dependent care flexible spending account to pay for nanny fees.
Is Hiring a Nanny Right for You?
There is much to consider when thinking about the right choice for child care. Draw up a list outlining your pros and cons as to why getting a nanny might be the best choice for your family. Once you have all the information you need to make an informed decision, your choice should be clear and you can proceed with confidence.