Options for Childcare: Nanny Vs. Relatives

source: nannyoptions.ie

When searching for childcare options, parents tend to look at ways to keep their children home first. From the time, a baby is born until they start Kindergarten is the only time that children are truly free of responsibility.  Many parents want them to spend these first years relaxed and learning fundamentals.  They want to allow their children to stay at home if possible.  This is normal, especially with the world the way it is today.  By nature, children under the age of 6 are more vulnerable than children over the age of 6.  The most common options for childcare at home is to hire a nanny or have a relative watch them.  


Nanny – Average Cost $500-$700 Per Week

source: babycenter.com

Hiring a nanny means that you are hiring a professional to provide care for your child when you are not at home.  This is typically someone that is unrelated to the family.  Before hiring a nanny, parents should make sure that they do research on the person that they are hiring.  They should make sure that they are considering both the background and the history of the person they are hiring.   A nanny provides total care for children while the parents are away, often in the home.  It is critical that parents ensure the nanny they are hiring is qualified, experienced, and has the patience and knowledge that is needed for the parents to trust their children are safe.  Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages to hiring a nanny.


When parents hire a nanny, they are hiring a professional that can provide their child with more individualized childcare than what is provided in a facility.  The caregiver can pay more attention to the child and therefore there is less of a chance of something being missed throughout the course of the day.  Accidents are also less likely.  Finding childcare in-home is normally a more convenient option that out-of-home childcare options.  Nannies also tend to be more flexible than facilities.  Hiring a nanny also provides children with more familiarity because they stay in settings that are familiar to them.  


The biggest disadvantage to hiring a nanny is that it is the most expensive option for childcare. Nanny’s also do not typically have a supervisor that they must answer to, meaning that there is less accountability.  The nanny or the parents must arrange for the children to socialize with other children, whereas this is built-in to facility childcare options.  There is also a lot of paperwork involved in legally hiring a nanny.  When a nanny becomes sick, quits unexpectedly, or is unavailable to come to work, parents can find themselves in a bind.  


Relative Care – Average Cost Varies

source: brookings.edu

Relative care is typically the first option for low-income and many middle-income level families.  Relative care is when parents leave their children with a family member while they are at work.  Relative care is typically free.  There are times, however, where families choose to pay relatives for providing childcare.  In these instances, payment can be made in numerous ways.  An individual can choose to pay a relative with money, by doing chores for them, or in several other ways.  There are both advantages and disadvantages to having a relative provide childcare.


The biggest advantage to relative care is that someone that already cares for the child is providing care for the child.  Parents are leaving their children with someone that they already trust and that already has a personal interest in keeping the child safe.  Relative caregivers can provide a higher level of individualized attention.  Relatives also typically share the same or similar morals and/or values as the core family itself.  This means that children are typically held to the same standards that they are expected to live up to at home.  Relative childcare is also typically the cheapest option.  


One of the biggest disadvantages to relative childcare is that establishing a working relationship with a relative is difficult.  There are also times where opinions on child rearing may vary and it may be more difficult to discuss this with family members.  Someone must arrange times for the children to play with others their age.  Relatives also do not have to report to a supervisor or regulatory board, making them less accountable.  Older relatives also may have a difficult time providing quality care for younger children.


Bringing it Together


Childcare that is provided in the home allows children to remain in settings that they know.  Each option has its advantages and disadvantages.  At the end of the day, what matters is the option that fits you and your family.










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