To Nanny or Not to Nanny?

Updated on May 18, 2011
A.D. asks from Minneapolis, MN
12 answers

I just came back to work after having #3. My kids have always attended a Daycare Center and I’ve been happy with that. The cost for three children, however, is likely more or equal to what a Nanny would charge (or so I think). Aside from the benefit of not having to get the children ready and out the door in the morning, what other advantages are there to having a nanny vs. the daycare center? What are the disadvantages? How did you go about choosing one?

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answers from Flagstaff on

I have a babysitter to which I drop off my son to at her house because of the good atmosphere. A nanny would be too expensive just for one but if you have 3 by all means if you can afford it get a nanny. I would. The kids would bond to her and they would be more comfortable at home.

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answers from Chicago on

We decided to go with an au pair -- you should consider it. It is cheaper than the cost of TWO kids in daycare around it would be way cheaper than THREE. Our au pair drives, takes the kids to their activities, does morning duties so we don't miss our commuting trains, etc. She also organizes playdates with other families' kids so our kids have tons of socializing etc. We did daycare for the first kiddo for her first 2 years and for kiddo 2 for his first 10 months. Since then, we have had the au pairs and haven't turned back. It has been a fabulous experience for us. If you are interested in learning more, send me a Private message. We just selected our third annual au pair (baby #3 is due in 3 days) we are "old hat" at this kind of thing!


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I would love a nanny but my mom has anxiety issues and i live here with her. The nanny can come to your house and it's legal to get nanny cams (just sayin lmao, if you get suspicious at any point). Seriously though, don't a lot of nannys do housework or is that extra? If the nanny has children, they will still get child interaction but if not that is a disadvantage. They wouldn't have to transition to a new place, just a new person. Those are things I thought about. I would look for a nanny through friends, parents you know, or sites like sittercity that do background checks (then do your own anyways too :D). Good luck :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Duluth on

My sister lives in SanFrancisco and has a nanny for her twins. She recently quit her job so she could get rid of the nanny and do it herself. That decision, for her, was for many reasons, but one of them was dissatisfaction with the nanny. I think what I see a lot of the negatives of nannying boil down to one thing: you have to be able to trust the person you hire, and you have to be willing to "be the boss." (Ok, that was two things.) If you can't find those things, daycare will be a better option. My sister found that her nanny didn't watch her babies closely when they were on the changing table (the babies were already rolling over, and the table was NOT a good place to leave them unattended) and, when they had a gas scare, the nanny didn't evacuate the babies like her husband has been assured she would. My sister has hoped the nanny would take the babies outside on walks, and she barely gets them out of the house. Then again, my sister is very uncomfortable confronting the nanny and telling her what she needs to fix, so I'm sure that's part of the problem as well.


answers from Detroit on

We had a nanny for a few months and it did not go well. She was a GREAT interview and had awesome references. Turns out she was LAZY. It was clear that she rolled out of bed and drove to our house and by the time my hubby got home, she was all done got ready on my time. Any day a nanny is ill, needs a day off or has car trouble, YOU have to stay home from work. If there is a no show at a day care center, they shuffle the staff and you know no different. I would leave the house CLEAN every morning and come home to dishes in the sink, toys all over and so on. Mind you, she was responsible for getting my 2.5 year old up and drive her to Pre-School and then stay at the house with our new born. So, there was no reason for a mess because she was the ONLY one capable of making one.

Sure this is one bad experience. But, if yo ugo the nanny route, be VERY clear on your expectations. Have a sheet the nanny can fill out for what activites the kids did that day, when they ate and slept and so on. Explain that you want to return home to the house in the same order you left it. To work all day and come home to a mess really irritated me.

Good Luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

I was a nanny for a long time. The kids get one on one care in their own home so they are not having to get shipped out every morning. Nannies normally do some light house work such as doing kid's laundry, cleaning up toys, making kids meals. I also ran errands, brought kids to school, haircuts, if they were sick I brought them to the doctor. You have a more flexable scedule with nanny. If you are worried about the child interaction sign them up for ecfe or find a playgroup that the nanny can take them to. Make sure to go through an agency, I know it is more cost in the beginning but they screen everyone, parents and nannies, so you know that the nanny doesn't have any criminal background, has a good driving record, and is trained in CPR and first aid.



answers from Minneapolis on

We had a nanny but I worked from home so I was here to 'watch over' things. I think once you establish your relationship, expectations and have a good rapport with the nanny then that's not as important. As our children got a bit older she became more of a house manager (laundry, shopping, helping switch out/pack up the clothes for each season, etc.). I lost my job and decided to become a SAHM so by by nanny!! we're still in touch w/ her though and my daughters were in her wedding last summer.

For me the biggest thing is what would she be doing educationally with the kids? You don't mention how old your kids are but around the time I lost my job I was starting to get a little upset w/ the fact that the kids were still doing the same things all day that they were doing at a much younger age. She had friends that had a day care and I offered to pay for them to copy their (or a version of their) curriculum and then she would have something structured to do but she never followed up on it. So for us, even though we had a nanny we were still putting the kids in classes, etc. this is where the house manager part came into play - it was actually worth it to us to pay extra for 'educational' experiences and have her do all our laundry, etc. (we had a house cleaner so she wasn't doing full on cleaning). Man was it heaven to not have to fold any laundry for 3 years.... but I digress.

So, my advice to you is depending on how old your kids are I would probably go w/ a daycare (if they are 3 or above) so that they were being stimulated and maybe an au pair (MUCH cheaper than a nanny) for the baby.

We used a service that charged a fee but was able to supply us w/ nannies when ours was on vacation, etc. Very nice. Re: cost it all depends if you wan to pay them legally or not. If you go the legal route there are employer taxes, paid vacations, etc. I'm in the MN area so if you want to PM me I can tell you more about it, the tax service we used, the nanny service, etc.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I went with daycare. I just could not handle the concept of a stranger in my house alone with my child and no one watching. Daycare centers have multiple sets of eyes watching each child and each other. Plus state inspectors. If your nanny is sick - sometimes you are just out of luck, some nanny services (if you use one) will send a substitute if they have one available. That said, many, many people love their nannies. She will still come even if your children are sick (not deathly ill of course, but they can't go to daycare until they are 24-36 hours over a fever). She may be more flexible about what time you or DH get home in the evening. Some do light housekeeping. Your children may form a long term attachment to her. Your kids may (depending upon the nanny, daycare center and your wishes) spend more time playing outside. (of they may spend more time plopped in front of the tv). Depending upon your arrangement, she may take the kids to the park, the library, playdates, the museum, etc. The people I know have all used a nanny service.



answers from Atlanta on

Hi A.,

I was a nanny before I got married. The pay was not what I was making in the executive world but the stress was less and the joy of having kids love on me all day was a great benefit. My employer was a physician so I was on payroll at her office and received adequate pay (half what I was making in corporate middle management) and insurance benefits. My wardrobe cost was sweat pants, tee shirts, scrubs and occasionally jeans if we were doing any running around so the loss in pay didn't matter to me. My employer and I met at church ( a large one with an employment board) so we had mutual friends so many people had known me and could vouch for me. There are nanny services that do complete background checks and even screen for beliefs. I have never been crazy about the daycare system. Kids can make friends at church and adult on-on-one or two-on-one supervision and teaching is an incredible benefit.

Hope this helps.




answers from Chicago on

Some advantages of a nanny are your children are in their home, you don't need to get them up and ready in the morning, she will care for them when they are sick, you can prearrange different hours or late hours, she can take them to playdates or appointments, you can set the schedule you want your children on, and your kids (baby) won't be exposed to as many different kids/germs..

Advantages to daycare include more children to play with, more adults to help ensure proper care of the children, and reliable care.

Most of the time children get sick more often than adults, especially with three kids. If you have a reliable nanny than you will probably miss less days of work for your nanny being sick than you would if your kids were sick and couldn't go to daycare.

I used to work as a nanny and know several people who currently work as nannies. If you go that route I would suggest that you establish what you expect the job duties to be right up front so everyone knows what to expect. Some of my biggest frustrations and those of the nannies I know are that if you go above and beyond job responsibilities to be nice they typically become expectations. For example, as a nanny I was responsible for caring for the children and the children's laundry but occassionally had free time and threw in a load of parent's laundry. The parents then started to expect their laundry to be done as a job requirement. Sometimes I would do some extra cleaning or wash the dishes that were left from the night before. The parents then started leaving dirty bottles and dishes around the house, required me to clean up messes they created during my off hours and weeknds, etc. I felt like I became their maid as well as nanny just because I was being nice. I felt very taken advantage of and was afraid to speak up since it was important to me to keep my employers happy. Also, last minute calls that the parents were going to be late became very frustrating, Often times I had plans in the evenings, and I felt my employers didn't respect my personal life. So, if you do hire a nanny, be cognizant of what you are asking her to do.



answers from Sioux City on

In today’s society, there are many benefits of hiring a nanny:

1. COST. If you have two or more children, it may be cost effective for you to hire a nanny as many daycare centers can cost you more. Also, many families are using “nanny share”. This is an arrangement in which two families share one nanny. This cuts down on costs but you still experience the benefits of having a nanny.

2. HEALTH OF THE CHILDREN. You may have healthier children by keeping them away from the large groups of children typically found in daycare. Germs are easily spread from child to child, so daycare centers can be breeding grounds for every cold and flu of the season. When your children contract illnesses, it takes an emotional toll on both you and your children. Further, they may miss school, you may miss work, and you may incur expenses associated with doctor’s visits and medications. Your children’s exposure to germs, and thus the risks discussed here, can be dramatically diminished by simply using the services of a nanny.

3. WORKPLACE PRODUCTIVITY. If your children are sick, many daycare centers will not accept your children. However, if you have a nanny, you can still go to work as the nanny will stay home with the children. Further, if you have an attentive nanny at home with your children, you will be less likely to feel like you just can’t concentrate at work due to concern for your children. By staying focused at work, your workplace productivity remains high.

4. HOME WORKLOAD DELEGATION. A nanny can help you maintain work/life balance. For example, a nanny can be an extra pair of hands helping with household duties such as laundry, errands, transporting children, and starting the evening meal. This allows for more quality family time when the parents arrive home. No need to rush in the morning to get the kids out the door for daycare or school: a nanny is an extra pair of hands in the morning.

5. MARITAL BONDING. Many parents become so over-committed with the tasks of working full-time on top of parenting, household maintenance, and a host of other daily responsibilities, that tending the marital bond simply isn’t on their radar screen. Years later, it may be too late when the couple realizes that they have grown apart. A nanny can help prevent that. Nannies can watch children in the evenings (which many daycare centers will not do), thus allowing parents an opportunity for a romantic evening out, or maybe just some private just-the-two-of-us time. These relationship-building evenings help maintain the marital bond.

6. PEACE OF MIND. Daycare centers have staff turnover. Parents are not typically involved in the staff recruitment and selection process at their children’s daycare center. Therefore, you never know, on a day-to-day basis, who may be watching your children in a daycare setting. If you hire a nanny, however, you know in whose care your children are. You interviewed the nanny, performed background checks on her, and hired her yourself.

7. CONTINUITY OF CARE. Children usually bond with their caregivers. This is healthy. However, it is hard for children to address separation from caregivers, such as when a caregiver resigns his/her employment. Nanny turnover is much lower than typical daycare center staff, so children with nannies tend to experience less frequently the grief and anxiety associated with caregiver turnover.

8. CAREGIVER-TO-CHILD RATIO. Daycare centers in most states are required to comply with legal guidelines on caregiver-to-child ratios. In an effort to maximize profits, daycare centers will seek to have as many children as possible without exceeding the legally proscribed limits. If you hire a nanny, you can be assured that your caregiver is focused solely on your children.

9. ALL THE COMFORTS OF HOME. For children, this last one is a big one. When a nanny is caregiving for your children, they can play with their own toys, nap in their own beds, and stay in the familiar environment of their own home throughout their day. If there is inclement weather outside, it’s no problem: the children do not need to go outside to go to daycare as their nanny comes to their home to care for them.

For many families, after considering their various childcare options, hiring a nanny is the clear choice. If that may be the choice that is right for your family, please visit for all your nanny needs. Nannies4hire will provide you a database of available nannies, help you prepare to interview the nannies that you are potentially interested in, and give you the tools to perform background checks on your nanny candidates, and provide you with a host of information about employing nannies.



answers from Joplin on

I have worked as a nanny...a nanny will give your children more one on one attention. A nanny can have your children "ready to go" if you have something scheduled for after work, or can go with you to help manage children if you multiple appointments on the same day ( imagine not having to make 3 trips to the doctor for basic check ups, just schedule them all on the same day/staggered.)
A nanny can take the children to get hair cuts.
If you find a Nanny willing some will do household stuff/straighten toys/do a load of laundry.
I really cannot see any disadvantages except you need to have a back up in case Nanny gets sick, with a daycare there are always other workers if someone is ill.

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