INA Weekly Brief

Nannying Versus Day Care: 5 Pros And 5 (Possible) Cons

February 9, 2017
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Quite a few nannies start their childcare careers in daycare and many agencies daily field inquiries from daycare workers who are interested in making the shift. With that in mind, we thought it would be worthwhile exploring the pros and cons of nannying compared with daycare. While working as a nanny provides a wonderful career for many, it isn’t for everyone.

Five advantages of nannying

  1. More personal attention to the child. Nannies generally work with a lower child to caregiver ratios than are typically found in daycare settings, which obviously allows each child to be given more personal attention.
  2. The home environment is less regulated than that of daycare centers which allows for more flexibility for the children, the nanny, and parents.
  3. A nanny is able to construct her day, including the activities he or she does with the children, in consultation with the children’s parents in a way that best suits the kids and the household’s routine. This, of course, means having naps and mealtimes at the most workable times. It also means forgoing a plan when the child is not up to the activity or planning impromptu activities on days that the kids need something more.
  4. Nannies often build strong relationships with their charges and the parents they are working for. Nannies will often comment on how satisfying it is to watch the children they care for grow from infants to, in many cases, teenagers.
  5. Many nannies find that they are earning more than they would working equivalent hours in a daycare facility.

Five potential disadvantages of nannying

Most of the following are avoidable, or at least their impact can be reduced, particularly if the nanny has the support of a good agency. Nevertheless, anyone thinking about nannying should be aware of them.

  1. Some nannies find that the job can be quite isolating. For many hours each day, it is just you and your charges, with little or no adult company. Heading out of the house* a few times a week to story time or other adult/child playgroups can really ease this transition. Involvement in local nanny support groups, online social media groups and connecting with other nannies in person at larger nanny conferences like INA, Nannypalooza and National Nanny Training Day is also a great help in combating the solitude.
  2. In some situations, it can be a challenge to maintain professional boundaries. The better you get to know the family you are working for, the easier it becomes to find yourself doing extra domestic tasks, for instance, that aren’t part of your role. The flip side of this is that as you gain more experience as a nanny, you will get better at keeping the boundaries where they should be. A clearly defined work agreement* and regular check-in’s with the parents can aid you in keeping your boundaries well defined.
  3. It can be easy for your hours to creep beyond what you are being paid for. It is important to have a system for keeping track of hours worked and ensuring it is easy for your employers to pay on time.
  4. Some nannies find themselves taken for granted by their families, especially in the longer term. An annual review* is important not only because of a potential salary raise but to clear the air and make sure that both parties are happy with the status of the relationship.
  5. Getting paid properly* and on time can be an issue. This is where there is a benefit to using a payroll service because they will help your employers take the guesswork out of the situation. The INA has several Supporting Members who own payroll companies. Find them in our Member Directory.

These issues occur from time to time and can successfully be navigated. However, there is no denying that some caregivers find the routines and rules around daycare centers suit their particular personalities better than nannying. That said, we believe the pros of nannying far outweigh the potential downsides!


Louise Dunham. Louise is the CEO of Placement Solutions a Nanny Agency based in Melbourne, Australia and Just Family Nanny Payroll, a nanny payroll service across Australia.
*In Australia all nannies should be employees as dictated by taxation law. Placement Solutions employs them as a Labour Hire firm. Or helps the clients employ them privately. In the USA many nannies are directly employed by the clients.