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Hot Topic: Nanny Vs. Daycare

What type of child care is best -- an in-house nanny, or daycare drop-off? The debate rages on.

Plus:
How to Find the Perfect Nanny
How to Find a Good Daycare
How to Trust Baby's Caregiver

A Nanny Offers Personalized Attention

Melissa Marchwick, executive vice president at Sittercity.com

Day Care Is More Social And Educational

Danette Glassy, MD

One-On-One Attention

“One of the biggest pros to a nanny is the one-on-one attention -- there’s a strong bond that builds between child and nanny, since they have so much more time to spend together.”

Customized Care

“With a nanny, you get to handpick who cares for your child. If you want someone who has experience with special needs, or someone who is bilingual, you can make sure that the person you choose has those skills.”

Customized Care

“With a nanny, you get to handpick who cares for your child. If you want someone who has experience with special needs, or someone who is bilingual, you can make sure that the person you choose has those skills.”

Extended Resources

“A child care center will have more resources for your child -- while a nanny is limited to what you have at your home or in the community. And while even a superb nanny may have sick days, the center will be open and ready to accept students every day that it’s contracted.”

Built-In Flexibility

“A nanny comes with a lot more flexibility too. It’s much easier to coordinate your schedule if you have to work late or go in early, and you don’t have to go somewhere to drop your child off and pick him up each day. Many daycares have strict rules about sick kids, but your nanny will probably be comfortable caring for your child when he’s not well.”

A Head Start

“If your center offers early-childhood learning programs as part of its curriculum, it could give your child a head start on the road to academic success. Participating in a quality early-learning program increases a child’s kindergarten readiness.”

Value-Added!

“Nannies can also help with light housework, like doing laundry and cooking dinner. That definitely can’t be done in a daycare!”

A Happy Medium

Home-based daycares offer the more homelike, nurturing environment that comes with a nanny, but with some of the socialization you’ll find at a traditional daycare. Home-based day cares may offer formal educational programming, or just simple care with free play and lunch. Still deciding? Ask lots of questions and check references before you make your choice!

Melissa Marchwick is senior vice president at Sittercity.com, a site that helps parents find qualified local childcare

Dr. Danette Glassy, MD, runs Mercer Island Pediatrics, and is a former President of the Washington State Pediatric Association.