Is Daycare Cheaper than a Nanny?
Learn about the pros, cons, and costs of both daycare programs and hiring a nanny, plus we investigate some alternatives to consider.
Your babysitter's main duty is to watch your children and keep them safe. But hiring a babysitter can come with many other benefits as well.
Some of those benefits are more obvious, while others are not so obvious! Particularly when it comes to the advantages that hiring a babysitter might have over putting your child into a regular preschool or daycare.
Below are some of the benefits when it comes to hiring a babysitter for your child or children. In the end, we'll also touch on a few of the disadvantages of hiring a babysitter that you might also want to consider.
Using a babysitter gives you and your spouse time to rekindle the love and romance in your relationship. Something that often decreases later in pregnancy and after your child is born. When all of your time is taken up by changing diapers or figuring out why your child is crying, it can be tough to have any personal time together. But babysitters can help with that.
Having an occasional date night where you and your spouse can have conversations that don't exclusively involve childcare is necessary to keep the love alive.
Having a babysitter on call means you don't have to immediately cancel any plans that aren't baby-friendly. You can get a babysitter to watch your kid whether it's for a scheduled annual doctors appointment or just on a whim because you need to do some Christmas shopping.
You also won't incur late fees and other penalties that a daycare might charge if you're running a little bit late.
A trustworthy and reliable babysitter gives you peace of mind. You know that your child is being cared for and will be okay when you get back from whatever you need to do. That's less stress and worry in the back of your mind.
Your children should get comfortable interacting with people outside of their family and your limited friend circle. A babysitter of a different race, religion, or age helps expose your kid to different types of people.
If your babysitter is fluent in another language like French or Spanish, they might be able to teach some of that to your child too.
Your child probably doesn't get to interact with many adults. A babysitter is a great person for them to form one of their first bonds with. A sitter can also take your child to organized play dates or group classes to let them spend time with other kids while you're at work too.
Your mom probably loves getting to occasionally watch her grandkid and spend time with them. But most likely only on an occasional basis. Once you return to work full-time, she probably won't want to look after your child all day, every day. Hiring a babysitter can give other family members who normally watch your little one a break and helps to lighten the load.
You can still get family members to watch your child occasionally, maybe one day per week. That helps cut down on your childcare costs without putting undue strain on your relationships.
If you're working full time, then looking after your baby is likely all you have the time and energy for after a long day at the office.
A babysitter can help lighten your housework load. If your house is a bit messy, your sitter can help do some light housework like dusting and putting toys away while your child is having a nap. That means less work for you to do when you get home, and every little bit helps!
See what kinds of housework babysitters can typically do for you by reading our article Do Babysitters Wash Dishes & Do Other Chores?
Going off to daycare can be stressful for kids. It's a new place with new people. Plus germs and viruses normally run rampant in those types of environments.
Having your child watched at home in familiar surroundings makes them feel more comfortable and lets them continue with their existing eating and sleep routines.
Getting your kids out of bed, all dressed, fed, and off to school on time is a lot of work to do every morning. Especially when you're trying to get prepared for a big 9 am meeting at work yourself.
A babysitter can help get your kids ready and out the door for school in the morning. That gives you time to focus on getting yourself ready for work and is way less stress.
Plus if you hit the snooze button a few too many times, your babysitter knocking on the door or ringing your doorbell is a good backup alarm.
If your child is in daycare, the attention of employees might be split between five different kids or more. Having a babysitter gives your child a higher level of care and complete focus from their caregiver.
You can have multiple babysitters on-call that you've already vetted. So even if your main babysitter is sick one day, you'll most likely be able to get ahold of another sitter with very little notice.
Most babysitters have first aid and CPR training, which means your child is likely in better hands with a sitter than they would be with an uncertified family member.
Babysitters are pretty affordable. You might get a better deal with daycares if your child will be going all day for most days of the week. But if you only need to have your kids watched a couple of days per week, babysitters are usually your best option.
You can also split the cost with another parent to have one babysitter watch both of your children. It's a great way to maintain the high level of quality and care that a sitter delivers in a more affordable way.
For multiple kids of your own, a babysitter is cheaper than sending each of your kids to daycare too, since daycares normally won't offer discounted rates.
If you need emergency childcare when your kid can't go to school, getting a babysitter is almost always cheaper than having to call in sick and use a vacation day yourself.
At a daycare, your child normally gets whatever their food of choice is. But what if your kid is a picky eater? Having them at home with a babysitter means they get to eat foods they're familiar with and enjoy.
Some daycares expect you to provide food for your own child, in which case having a babysitter saves you the time to make and pack lunches every day.
Your babysitter deals with your child one-on-one so they can change the schedule for the day on a whim. Depending on your kid's current temperament, energy level, or needs, your babysitter can adjust to do activities that will suit them.
Daycares normally have strict recess and outdoor time schedules. But if having your kid play outside is important to you, you can ask your babysitter to let them stay outside for as long as you want them to.
If your child has special needs or a disability, having a dedicated babysitter who can give them more personal attention is often a better choice than daycare.
Having your kids watched at home means that you don't need to be concerned about them getting a ride to or from daycare or taking a bus. No matter how bad the weather outside is.
You also won't need to worry about dealing with a car seat yourself first thing in the morning.
Even if you're a stay-at-home dad or mom, it's good to have a babysitter as a backup. That way even if you catch a really bad cold or flu, someone can be there to take care of your kids while you rest and recover, with less risk of getting your kids sick too.
Your kids get summer vacation, but you still might need to work all summer. A babysitter is a great alternative to sending your kids off to summer camp or a day camp. But your sitter can still organize many of the same activities that your kids would get to enjoy at camp.
An after-school babysitter can help your kid do their homework. A teenage babysitter is still regularly completing subjects like math themselves, so they might be a bit more in touch with the kind of work your child is doing too.
Having homework done by the time you get home from work means more quality time you can spend with your child in the evening.
Daycares are only open during regular working hours, usually, 8 am – 6 pm at the most. But what if you work a night shift? A babysitter can watch your kid any time of the day, and even get them ready for bed and tuck them in while you're off at work.
Normally a daycare will ask you to pick up your kid and take them home at the first sign of an ear infection or a sore throat. But babysitters are usually fine to keep watching your kid while they aren't feeling well and won't call you to come home. Your child can be at home sick in their own bed but under the watchful eye of a trusted babysitter.
Preschools and daycares are likely to close for a snow day while you've still got to go to work. A babysitter can usually still make it to your house to care for your kids unless the roads are totally undrivable.
Kids are just like adults and have people they like and dislike. There's always a chance your child will have another kid at their daycare that they don't get along with, but they'd have to spend every single day with them anyway.
Your child will sleep better in their own bed, instead of being in a room with other crying kids.
Normally a daycare or preschool will ask you to commit to certain days and times per week. But what if you work a job where you only work a few hours per week and your schedule is always changing? A part-time babysitter is usually the most cost-effective and flexible option.
If your kid gets really messy playing outside or eating lunch, your babysitter can give them a quick bath or change of clothes so they don't have to sit in dirty clothes all day.
A babysitter can keep you in the loop with regular pictures and text messages to show what your kids are up to and provide daily highlights.
Kids say the darndest things. Sometimes to complete strangers! But if your kid says something embarrassing to your babysitter, they'll be the only one to hear it, instead of it getting passed around to every staff member at daycare.
Maybe your kid wants to go to the zoo or to a local sports game, but you hate those types of things. You can get your babysitter to take them on an outing in your place.
If you have a full-time babysitter, they're likely to stay with your family for years. That means less turnover when compared to daycares. Your kids won't have to adapt so much to different people coming and going from their lives.
You can tell your babysitter about your parenting style and how you want your kids treated. Over time your babysitter will also get to know you and the kinds of decisions you'd make for your kids, so there won't be very much in terms of inconsistency.
If you have to travel for work, a babysitter can stay overnight to care for your kids even across multiple days.
Your babysitter will notice when you start to run low on stuff like paper towels, toilet paper, or graham crackers and can keep a running list. They might even be willing to take the kids and go pick some stuff up from the grocery store for you.
Single-parent families can benefit from hiring a babysitter of the opposite gender to the parent. This can give kids both a male and a female authority figure to look up to and learn from.
If you're considering hiring a male babysitter then read this guide first: Are male babysitters safe?
If your babysitter has experience with potty training, they can help you out with it and share some of the tricks and tips they've learned from watching other children go through the same stage.
Your babysitter knows your child's allergies and what products they can and can't have. Much less worry about your child getting into something they shouldn't, or being given something they're allergic to by a stranger.
Normally if you have a package delivered by a courier like FedEx or UPS and you aren't home, they'll leave a notice on your door and you'll need to drive to the nearest depot to pick it up.
Having a babysitter means someone will almost always be home during the day, meaning a lot lower chance of missing a package delivery.
Having a babysitter means your dogs can be out during the day, looked after, and played with too. If you had to leave your dogs home alone, you'd normally have to put them in a crate or risk them getting into garbage or ripping your sofa apart.
Most home break-ins actually happen during the daytime when criminals know that everyone is at work, not during the night! Having activity always happening in and around your home makes it a less inviting target for robbers and thieves.
If a would-be criminal cases your home and sees a vehicle in the driveway and that someone is always home, they'll most likely pass it over for an easier target.
You might want to call your babysitter to come over and help when your child has a birthday or any other times where you'll have to handle more kids than just your own.
Less privacy. You're letting someone else into your home. They'll go through your fridge and most of your cupboards and drawers during their daily duties. Babysitters also pick up a lot of details about your life just from being in close proximity to it.
Less interaction for your child. In preschool and daycare situations, your child is forced into contact with other kids their age. But that isn't the case with a babysitter. Although you can sign your kid up for classes or have your sitter take your kids out regularly to interact with other kids.
Legal and paperwork issues. Depending on where you live, a full-time babysitter might be considered a household employee. That means you might have to withhold taxes from their paycheque as well as cover social security and other benefits. You might need an accountant or lawyer to help, especially with the initial setup.
Learn about the pros, cons, and costs of both daycare programs and hiring a nanny, plus we investigate some alternatives to consider.
Follow our step by step guide to hiring a babysitter from start to finish including screening, interviewing, performing background checks, and making an offer.
Learn exactly what a babysitter is, what job duties they do, the hours they work, how much they charge, and how they can help your family.
Learn the types of babysitter background checks that are available for safety and peace of mind and which ones are right for you.
Learn what babysitting expenses parents are eligible for, and receive a tax credit or deduction. It can save you thousands of dollars!
Learn which qualities and characteristics a babysitter should have that make them a great caregiver your whole family will love.
Learn the warning signs of a bad babysitter so you can take action as soon as possible and keep your family safe.
Make the right choice for your family by learning the subtle differences between babysitters and nannies and their typical responsibilities.
Learn how much babysitters get paid in various countries and cities, and how to price a babysitter for your specific situation.
Be aware that pulling a prank on your babysitter means you're probably going to get one in return. So make sure you can handle the consequences!
Follow our tips to make sure the interview process goes smoothly and read our general guide on how the process should work.
Give your babysitter all the information they need by printing out our handy parent details form. Never forget important instructions.
Learn the basic laws that various countries have about recording people with or without their consent, and see the pros and cons of using a nanny cam.
Make sure your babysitter is capable, experienced, is a great fit for your family, and has a great personality too by asking the right questions.
The majority of families will need to hire a babysitter between once per week and 1-2 times per month but it depends on your family's individual needs.
A male babysitter can be just as safe, caring, and responsible as a female one. Compare their qualifications and recommendations just like other candidates.
Learn what paperwork is required to allow your babysitter to take your child to the doctor if you’re unavailable to do so.
Learn how to choose a mature and capable babysitter that can keep your kids safe on overnight sitting jobs.
It's not normal to pay a babysitter for an interview, however, for babysitting, there's one key exception you should know.
Learn what babysitters expect from parents when it comes to food. If you decide to provide dinner, try our 8 easy food ideas that are perfect for babysitters on the job.