Nanny Vs. Daycare - Royal Oak,MI

Updated on February 03, 2011
A.G. asks from Royal Oak, MI
13 answers

I am considering hiring a nanny for my 2 girls (4 mo and 3 yrs) when I go back to work. What is the going rate for a nanny these days? Pros/cons of having a nanny vs. daycare? What things should I look for in a nanny? Can I just pay by personal check? Anything special with taxes? I don't want to do anything wrong on that end. Any overall suggestions? I've had my oldest daughter in daycare before (regular and in home) and I've been disappointed over and over. I'm just not sure I want to go that route again. I'm having a hard time imagining someone coming into my home and taking care of my kids. I feel like on one hand it could be such a blessing to have someone to love and take care of them but on the other hand there has to be a lot of trust involved and so much could go wrong. I just want to protect my babies. What to do?

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answers from Tampa on

I used both. From 3 months to about 27 months, I had a nanny/sitter in my home M-F 9 to 5. I work from home and really liked knowing I could at least hear my baby all day and could jump in if any emergency happened. In addition, I liked that he was receiving more individual attention than he would at daycare. After he was 2, I moved him to part time day care (3 days) and part time nanny (2 days). I did this because at this age, and with him being an only, I wanted him to have more interaction with other kids. Right before his 3rd birthday, we moved to full time daycare/pre-school. I don't think he was being engaged enough here (some other nanny's may be excellent in this area however). He had a lot more fun/more activities at school. His school is a block from my home so I don't loose much more time with him than when I had the nanny. I am saving a TON. Preschool is working out to less than half of what I had to pay for full time sitting. However, I only have that gap will be much smaller for you because the Nanny's rate would not fluctuate as much between 1 and 2 children as the daycare would.

However, you need to do what is best for you and what you are comfortable with. If I did not work from home/had to go to the office each day, I would have had to use daycare. I don't think I could have ever found a nanny that I felt comfortable with being alone with my child all day. I was not always as like this...motherhood brought this out in me :-) I trust very few to care for him solo. Although both the nanny and daycare teacher are certified etc, I would feel more comfortable leaving him at a daycare (that I researched etc) where there are several teachers around, parents stopping in to "observe" at random times etc. than I would with my nanny who was a stranger up until a few days before. Good luck. I know it is tough and heart wrenching.

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answers from Houston on

A friend of mine pays her live in nanny $1900 for 6 days out of a week in Texas, she only has one kid. From tax perspective, you need to apply for a FEIN for domestic helper, if you go to websit and download publication 926, it will tell you all about what you need to do, you probably would also need to make online deposit with social security and state unemployment tax etc. which requires you to register online to do so.

The advantage of having a nanny is time saving, and you do not have to worry about kids getting sick in day care. But you really need to find someone you trust, I think interview process is a must. You may want to hire nanny that has state issued license, which are a little more trust worthy.

Have you considered family day care as an alternative.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Just from my experience as a Nanny.

I worked for one family for over 8 years here in MN. Parents were both Doctors at the local University. When I started they had one child (almost 2 years old), and a few later added a daughter. I myself had a child 5 years into the arragement, and after 2 weeks of maternity time off, then 2 weeks of half days, she came to work with me each and every day.

Trust is important. I had full access to their entire home, including open mail they left laying around, etc. I have heard of some higher end nannies signing non-disclosure type of agreements?? I never did (but this was also over 20 years ago when I started working for them). I had car seats provided by them and was allowed to go wherever. The kids were in classes and I ran errands for them and sometimes myself in there too. They were easy going and I was trustworthy. Things also changed after time passed. 8 years is a long time. After a while, I had my own charge card for sundries/diapers and groceries for the house, activities for the kids, etc.

If I were to do it again (would love to again with another great family??) I would need them to provide a vehicle and ins and such. I didn't realize the risk I was taking by not having specific car insurance to drive their kids. Its a work related sort of driving and in this state its a grey area that ins companies can , in the end when they might have to pay out, deny claims on such a basis (just like with home daycares who transport). would be the employee. You HAVE to do the taxes that way. There are websites that can guide you.
Both of these have alot of resources, articles and FAQ sections that can answer questions.

Personally, my experience with this family was fantastic! Of course I always wish I got paid more, But I got other perks. For the last 3 years I got to bring my daughter to work with me. I got alot of paid time off (they took 6-8 weeks of vacation each year)..the first few years they needed a dog sitter when they went out of town, which was nice for me and my (then) boyfriend (now hubby) get out of our small apartment for a week at a time and stay at their nice home, and get paid extra to do. I got to travel with them a few times to places I never would have gone (it was work for me...and I was ready to go home, but still worth the experience and the extra money I made going)...when they remodeled, I got free furniture and other things. When my daughter was born they set up a college account for her, etc. See?..lots of perks. I worked 10-12 hour days plus my commute. I did a few odd hours of care. I got to go home early when their schedule allowed for it or relatives were in town. We helped each other out and made it work. They were my bosses..but we WERE a team.

And I can proudly say I had a BIG something to do with helping to raise their 2 wonderful, intelligent kids, who I will always love.


answers from Chicago on

We decided to go the au pair route with Cultural Care and couldn't be happier! We have been in the program 2 years now (I have a 3.5 yo, 2 yo and baby on the way). We looked into a nanny but the problem is that if you do not do the proper thing with taxes (which many nannies want paid under the table) you CANNOT claim the child care tax credits, use your dependant care FSA, etc. Both my husband and I are attorneys and cannot afford to NOT do things legally....all in all, it would have cost us $40,000 a year to do things above-board with a proper nanny in the Chicago area. If you pay under the table, obviously you can do things much cheaper (especially if you don't need one 10 hours a day like we did for commuting, etc), but you lose out on those tax benefits and pre-tax income savings. As for daycare, my kids were ALWAYS SICK! One month my daughter had an ear infection that was antibiotic resistant (she was 9 mos and ended up with tubes) -- my husband and I missed 19 days of work in 1 month due to her 103 degree fevers that wouldn't quit. The next year my son got a virus (not RSV) just a cold that hit him hard and he ended up on a nebulizer for 3 MONTHS (he was 5.5 mos when he got sick). We quit daycare in September before that next cold season hit -- September 2009. If you want to know more about the au pair route, private message me. It has been AWESOME for us! In total you spend like $17,000 a year legally and get 45 hours of childcare a week plus all your child-related chores, cooking, laundry, driving, etc. done too. It has been a GODSEND and has been much cheaper than even our daycare for 2 kiddos!



answers from Denver on

nanny all the way....

when mine were young (before I quit), it was actually cheaper to do a nanny than day care. we were only needing 3 1/2 days per week, because my hubby and I were splitting schedule to minimize the care needed. Oh, but we needed some flexibility so we would've had to pay full time to any daycare!

anyway, the pros are that you don't have to rush the kids out of the house in the morning. if the baby wants to take an hour to eat her cereal (when she gets a little older), then she can. you completely control the food. you completely control the schedule - you don't have to make your weekend schedule fit the daycare schedule, rather the nanny has a schedule that works for your kids and the parents on the days parents are home. one on one attention. less exposure to germs. more flexibility. with a little notice, I could be really late and then have her come in late the next morning. dinner prep can be done - we wanted the nanny to focus on the kids so we didn't have her do much cleaning or cooking but if I was running late, she could start something thawing or get the brown rice going. also, you don't have to stay home from work w/sick kiddos - unless they're really, really sick. our nanny never seemed to get more than a cold, so she never took any sick days.

cons - can be more expensive. less socialization - but really a generation ago there wasn't "socialization", there were moms meeting for coffee.... our nanny did library story time every week and brought her kids to work (hers and ours were stair stepped a year apart), so it worked out great. really, I can't think of any other cons. you can have a bad nanny but there's tons of really bad day care out there too.

as for finding one - 7 years ago there were some great websites, so there's probably even better ones now. again, this was a while ago, but when I quit working we were paying our nanny about $400 per week for 35 hours - rates may be different in your part of the country. we also were getting a deal (she started at $300 per week) because she brought her kids with her and she didn't have "formal" nanny experience.

for us, it was the only way to go. our mornings were a breeze, she was fantastic with the kids (although we did have a couple duds we had to let ago after a couple weeks), and we saved money.

we did do the whole tax thing have to set up a tax id no with the state and feds (not too hard) and then I had a spreadsheet that did the FICA thing. it added one form to our tax return every year and one form quarterly for unemployment insurance - maybe 2 hours a year total in paperwork. again, there's websites to help and the state government and fed forms made it pretty easy.

as for people who worry about things happening because there's not "oversight". well, the potential without multiple people around is probably slightly greater. BUT, as one person pointed out to me many years ago, if you think you need a nanny cam, then you really need a new nanny. really, your gut and your children's behavior will tell you if there are any problems. we also did about a week of "trial" where I was there completely the first day, then short errands for a day or two and then long errands for a day before I actually went back to work. we learned our lesson after I went back to work after the first one and had the duds noted above. we also made sure to do random drop ins frequently the first month. but by then it was clear that she was fantastic so we weren't as good as we probably should have been after that. but, you should be doing all that with a daycare too - so really not anymore work.

good luck with whichever way you go!



answers from Oklahoma City on

There are several ways to handle paying a nanny. The way my families did it was to hire me as an independent contractor, I paid my own taxes and everything. I talked to an accountant and that is perfectly legal if hired this particular way. Also, as your accountant the best way for you to do it, your laws may be different.

Having someone come in to your home can be rather scary. They can fabricate any number of things on an application and you only have the word of some person, that you really don't know if they are someone really representing a company or not, they could just be some friend acting like they are a previous employer. I would prefer 100% to use a fully licensed child care center. The laws require the teachers to have accredited classes and certifications. They have to do 20 hours of training per year and have professional education towards their job. They have a check and balance system, the other teachers keep an eye on the other teachers and if anything is going on they can talk to the Director. There are lots of staff to relieve someone if they need to go on break and that keeps things continuous, they have a Director who has a professional degree, they have a cook, and lots of teachers. I think that also having other kids present is always a plus. A daily schedule to do things like crafts, circle time, play time, outside time, reading, nap-time, etc...they get used to it quite soon and it is so much better.



answers from Detroit on

Oh, the never ending child care battle. I so understand where you're coming from -- for me, it's one of my biggest sources of stress when it comes to my kids.

I've returned to work full time after all 3 of my boys, and for the first 3 years, we managed to work out a family babysitting plan. Then, my SIL and BIL moved out of state and we needed PT child care to cover the days my SIL would not be there. It was a rough time for a few months ~ we had interviews and did lots of resume checking, etc.

We hired a part time sitter this past summer, and have been fairly happy with her. I think there are some things that I will never be totally thrilled with while someone else is watching my kids - whether it be the grandparents, a sitter, or a daycare. Part of my hang up is that it's not ME that is caring for them 100% of the time - and I wish that were different!
It is still somewhat weird to me that she (our sitter) comes into my house and has the ability to do as she pleases, but I suppose it just comes down to my (our) ability to trust her.

She is 22 years old, a PT college student, and works PT for another family and does a few hours a week at another job. We pay her weekly in cash ($10/hour for 3 kids ages 4 and under, if that helps...though I think we're on the low end -- I firmly believe you truly DO get what you pay for!)

We had lots of luck with (that's where we found her). We also used craigslist (if you're going to do this, set up a separate e-mail account to avoid too much junk mail and spammers) but we weren't totally thrilled with the results there.

There is also and

There are lots of articles on taxes that you should read and consider before making a decision. We also set up a written contract with ours, there is also lots of information on this kind of stuff on all of these sites.

Good luck Mama. I know none of these decisions are easy!



answers from Kansas City on

If you aren't getting what you need from day care and you can afford a nanny I say go for it. There are lots of pros to it. I don't know the going rate, but I would make sure you have a legitimate contract with the nanny. You can probably look on line and get a document from one of those legal websites for fairly cheap or if you have a lawyer, I might have them draw one up. I would make sure you do interviews or go through a service. I think that once you are with this person for a while it won't be so weird to have them in your home and in your stuff, but yes it probably will be ackward at first! Just be up front, honest and straightforward about what you want done... be specific about what house chores you want the nanny to do or not do and if you want them to take the kids out for outings frequently, infrequently, when, where, etc. Good luck!



answers from Denver on

It really comes down to comfort and WHO is watching them whether at home or in a center. I have my two (2 and 4) in daycare at a center and I really like it. PROS - No "trust" issues with just one person alone with the kids. Always dependable, you know when they will be closed and don't need vacations. "Safety" issues - not just one person watching the kids, and all are licensed. It's also a "school" so there is a set plan for education and development that is followed through kindgergarten. Social interaction. CONS - (my experience). More germs, more sickness. You have to take and pick them up - not just "at home".

Overall I am so happy with my choice and the Pros far outweigh the cons. It's a Primrose in case you have those in MI. Good luck and follow your gut!



answers from Sacramento on

If you hire a nanny, you become an employer, so your taxes become quite complicated. Our CPA tipped us off to this when I mentioned I was self-employed and we were going to have a family. The tax implications are why many people pay their nannies illegally, under the table (cash only, with no one reporting the payments or income). We weren't comfortable with that morally, so we just went the daycare route.

Something to investigate and take seriously if you do consider the nanny option.

If you've been unhappy with daycare in the past, write down your list of common concerns. Use this as screening criteria for future providers. There are some excellent daycares out there, so don't lose hope. Our daughter's daycare provider became like part of our family and we still use her for babysitting.



answers from Minneapolis on

My initial plan was to send my baby to daycare.But then I decided to have a nanny at home as he was born a preemie.I just didnt want him to be exposed to all the germs at daycare.It was a hard for M. to even imagine leaving him with a complete stranger at home. But now 3 months and 2 nannies later , I feel differently.
Having a nanny at home is very convienient - for us and also the baby. No need to pick up and drop everyday. Also, baby can stay warm at home during bitter cold winter months. Need not wake him up in the mornings to get him ready , he can sleep as long as he wants. Baby is comfortable too as he is at home playing with his own toys.Also he gets complete attention- which is the most important thing for him now.Mine is only 9 months old. I have seen babies cry for attention while at daycares. They generally have one caretaker for 4 kids.So if all cry for attention at the same time, what can the caretaker do? Also, nannies help with light housekeeping if needed.
But I feel daycare is better for older kids for socialization. But then there are germs and illnessess. You just have to make that choice!

Everybody talks about trusting your baby with a complete stranger.I was like that too.Beleive M. it was the hardest thing for M.. But frankly its not all that bad. Not everyone has intentions to harm our baby. You just have to be very careful on whom you choose. Yes they are strangers but then once you talk to them you might feel you can trust them. Whatever the case, be sure to do all the background checks. Only after I talked to nannies did I realize that they are in this profession because they love children.Not everyone is here just for money. Make sure you set an hour or two for the interview. Nannies do tell a lot about themselves, their family ,their childhood, their previous work experiences etc and you do get an idea what kind of person they are.You can also explain what you expect from them. I wouldnt do a 20-30 minute question-answer kinda interview for a nanny.Also I had our nanny come over for few days while I was working from home , so that I know how she takes care of my baby, if they are comfortable with each other. Our nanny tells us about some moms who just hand their babies to her and walk out of the door, I can never do that.She really appreciated that I stayed back and walked her through everything.

Hope this helps.Good luck!



answers from Kansas City on

My brother and SIL had a nanny for years. I think they paid her $600/week (that was around 2002). My SIL worked from home, so she was there all the time. I think the pros would be that the kids get to stay in their own home, they are less exposed to germs, etc., and they would probably get more attention. The cons would be you can't go to work if your nanny calls in sick and you would have to trust that the nanny is treating your children appropriately.

My brother had a great nanny for about 2 years (she got prego and decided to stay home with her own child). Then, they went through about 6 nannies in the next 2 years.



answers from New York on

I echo what Ellen said. We've had the same nanny for 6 years and am very glad we went that route partly for my convenience, partly for the days the kids are tired or cranky in the mornings and I don't have to rush them out the door. In terms of socialization, we let our nanny drive our children so she'd take them indoor play places when the weather was bad and to the park when the weather was good. Plus, she'll host playdates at our house. In our area, there are plenty of nannies so they have their own network to get the kids together. You can pay cash 'under the table' - I know many people who do but it's a risk of course and it seems more common when the nanny is illegal which is something we didn't want to do. If they're legal, they typically want social security etc. We used Breed Love's payroll service which was quite easy though an added cost. Agencies are not a cheap way to go but they have experience placing nannies and do extensive backgroup and reference checks. So that's an option. It seems like there are "career" nannies and when you interview someone who's been a nanny for 20 years and has several families giving outstanding references, reasons to be nervous fade.

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