In my business I get asked all the time my thoughts on a nanny vs child care centers. My answer is that there is no right answer. Every family I work with is different and each has very specific needs and wants. Here are some things to help you understand what might be best for your family.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What is your ideal child care group like?
- What do you most value?
- What are your biggest concerns or fears?
- What will our schedules really look like?
- What is our budget for child care costs?
Child Care Centers:
- Typically open 10-12 hours/day, five days/wk
- Provides year-round care
- Regulated by state and have state inspections at least once per year
- Multiple caregivers make arrangement more dependable
- Many times have more space, equipment, and toys
- More formal, organized activities
- Structured environment
- Not as much individual attention
- Higher turn-over rate for caregivers
- Higher caregiver to child ratio than other forms of care - Texas requires a staff to infant ration of 2:10 maximum. Most child experts recommend looking for centers that provide ratios of 1:4 or 1:3.
- Waiting lists for infants can be over 1 year long, so ideally you would be researching and visiting child care centers as early as possible, even towards the end of your 1st trimester. Preschools can also have extremely long wait lists, so start your searches early.
- For Travis County, the average cost of infant care at a child care center was $814/month, with top centers in the $1200-$1600/month range. This is as much as UT tuition!!!
- Care in your own home
- More control over routine, activities and kind of care child receives
- Very individualized attention
- May provide more flexibility. Easier to find care for evenings & weekends than other options
- Can be most expensive option (typically $15-$20/hr)
- Texas does not regulate or license nannies. You (or an agency) have to do all of the screening.
- Will need back-up child care plan for caregiver vacation or sick days
- Start looking for a nanny 6-8 weeks before you need them to start in your home. This will give you time to screen applicants, call references, do in-person interviews, trial days and background checks.
- Nannies in Austin typically charge $15-$20/hr. For a 40hr work week, that is $2400--$3200/month.
- Nanny taxes are also required to be paid to the IRS, and families are responsible for employer taxes. Nannies are considered household employees NOT individual contractors.
I hope this helps! If you need more personalized service, Nurture My Child does offer one-on-one child care consultations to help families navigate the confusing world of child care and determine what solution is best for them. See more at https://www.nurturemychild.com/nanny-services/for-families.asp