Many new parents will need to return to work while their children are young, and many face the stresses of finding a trusted caregiver and/or a safe and loving place to take their child to each day. There are many options and combinations of options to consider. Primarily, the decision comes down to using Family members, a Nanny or babysitters to provide home based child care, versus taking children to a Nursery School, Preschool or a Day Care center. Choosing what works best for each child and family can get complicated, so let’s compare the two.
Good socialization is the primary reason to choose a child care or early learning center over a family care provider or nanny. In preschool and daycare, kids will learn to navigate real world social interactions with trial and error, under the mindful guidance of teachers and caregivers. Just like in real life, toddlers and preschoolers will have to share time, attention, space, and resources with others, without resorting to being rude or violent when they don’t like someone or get their way. As children grow in the world, they will need to learn to get along with others and to share to be successful in school, the schoolyard and in the workplace. Preschool and day care serves the great purpose of teaching children how to avoid and resolve conflict and to make friends! While a nanny can take your child to a park once a day or so, there isn’t any consistent guarantee of same age company there, and developing friendships takes time, sharing weeks and months with the same people and personalities to get to know each other. As adults, we have to deal with people we don’t like at work or on the subway or sharing a dorm room with in college. We learn the skills to handle these folks when we are very young. Having a sibling helps, but eventually we will need to learn what to do when we have to be side by side every day with a boss or coworker that we don’t like. Exposing kids to a real-world scenario of interacting with adults and kids outside of family in a cooperative way helps them to develop these valuable life skills.
Unless the Nanny is also a trained teacher, children won’t receive the same level of educational engagement as they will in a daycare or preschool. Preschools are well stocked with art materials and toys and books that many homes don’t have, as well as large outdoor play structures and often, an indoor gymnasium. Preschools and daycares also have staff trained in Early Childhood Education and curriculum. While some nannies have this training too, children learn a lot from imitating slightly older peers, another educational bonus of a preschool. They can also learn and model new behaviors and skills from other child peers.
When it comes to preschool or daycare, tuition fees are the most relevant cost. Month to month, the price will be predictable and considerably lower than the hourly rate of a qualified nanny. Nannies in New York and New Jersey are typically paid anywhere from $14-20 per hour. That adds up to a few to many hundred dollars each week, but that’s not the only cost. Depending on the situation, a nanny may need to use the family car to shuttle children to activities, and will need to be added to the family auto insurance policy. It is required by law to pay Workman’s Compensation for nannies. Healthcare and medical insurance is not something every family offers for nannies, but some do, and this can be a considerable additional cost. If nanny is sick, parents may need to miss work to cover for the nanny those days. Wise families will also want to add a insurance rider to their homeowners or renters policies in case nanny is injured on the property. Most families offer to provide some meals to the nanny, another expense. Live in nannies may be cheaper by the hour, but the costs of another person using the utilities and eating the family groceries will add up, even more so if the nanny does any damage to the home during her stay. If families want their children to have a well rounded schedule with lessons and activities, those would be an additional cost. With preschool and day care those activities are built into the day and are included in the monthly tuition.
Training & Trust
While many home staffing agencies provide background checks on nannies, and require them to be CPR and First Aid certified, the average nanny from the classified ad or the local parenting message board may not have this training and screening. When a person works in the family home, and with our precious children, it’s important we know who they are, and that they are trustworthy, which can be difficult to verify. Family members come with a high degree of trust, but often no or little training. With Prime Time Day Care, Nursery Schools, Preschool and camps, parents can be certain that all the staff at their childcare center have been background checked with the FBI and the NJ Department of Children and Families, and are carefully screened and vetted for before hiring.
When making the choice, there is a lot to consider. Safety, Education, Socialization and Cost are all important, and Prime Time Early Learning Centers in Paramus, Edgewater, East Rutherford and Hoboken has all those bases covered for you.