Nannying versus long-day care: 5 pros and 5 (possible) cons

Quite a few of our nannies started their childcare careers in long-day care, and we are constantly fielding enquiries from long-day care 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 long-day care. While working as a nanny provides a wonderful career for many, it isn’t for everyone.

Five advantages of nannying

  1. Our nannies work with lower child to carer ratios (a maximum of 4:1) than are typically found in long-day care, which obviously allows each child to be given more personal attention.
  2. The home environment is less regulated than that of a day-care centre. There’s less bureaucracy and more flexibility.
  3. Along the same lines, a nanny is able to construct her day, including the activities 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 meal times at the most workable times.
  4. Nannies often build real 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 of our nannies find that they are earning more than they would doing equivalent hours in a long-day care facility.

Five potential disadvantages of nannying

Most of the following are avoidable, or at least their impact can be reduced, particularly if you have the support of a good agency behind you. 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.
  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 a 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.
  3. Along similar lines, it can be easy for your hours to creep beyond what you are being paid for.
  4. Some nannies find themselves taken for granted by their families, especially in the longer term.
  5. Occasionally, where a nanny works directly for a family, getting paid properly fairly can be an issue, as can getting paid on time.

These sorts of issues are all things we regularly address in our professional development days, and of course the nannies who work for us all have access to someone at our agency to talk to, and to back them up, should they need to approach the parents they are working for. However they all occur from time to time and there is no denying that some carers find the routines and rules around long-day care suit their particular personalities better than nannying.

That said, we believe the pros of nannying far outweigh the potential downsides!


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