What’s best for your child… nanny, babysitter or daycare?
- by Shruti Gokarn
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Our domestic help form the back bone of our support system. This is especially true when there are toddlers in the house. Whether we choose to employ a nanny, a babysitter or use a daycare centre to help us with the care of our children, depends on us. Each option has its own merits, depending upon the need of the parents. Let’s take a look at all three choices so that you as parents can make an informed decision.
A nanny is there with you full time and has far more comprehensive responsibilities as compared to a baby sitter. All aspects of a child’s care, fall under the purview of the nanny. A nanny carries out varies responsibilities which includes preparing the meals of the child and feeding them, bathing the child and taking of the general hygiene of the child including the laundry, organising educational and other fun activities for the child, taking the child to the park or the playground or to school, making sure that any medicines to be given to the child are given in correct dosages and on time. In other words the overall wellbeing of the child becomes the nanny’s responsibility. It does sound like a tall order and it sure is. But this means that parents have a lot more time on hand. So, this option makes sense for parents who are very busy and do not find time for the everyday care of the child.
The second option to be considered is a baby sitter. A sitter has limited duties and is mainly responsible for taking care of the child when the parents are away. A baby sitter may be expected to play with children and keep them occupied by reading to them or helping them with their studies, giving them pre-cooked meals or snacks, clearing up the play area after the kids are done, putting them to sleep and most importantly making sure that the child is safe, whether at home or outside. This option works well for parents who may not be able to afford a full time nanny and need someone only for a part of the day to take care of their children.
The next option is a daycare centre. You will need someone to pick up and drop the child to and from the centre, unless the facility is provided by the school itself. Make sure to vet the facility you choose by speaking to other parents and checking the premises yourself before you make your final decision. Of course, children learn immensely at such places. They learn to share and be a part of a community, and if food is being provided at the centre, they are often prepared under the guidance of expert nutritionists so that your baby not only gets a healthy eating schedule, but also learn to eat various kinds of food. Your toddler will also make friends of all age groups at the daycare and eventually learn to take care of themselves as well others at the centre.
Most daycare centres are equipped with a wide range of child-safe toys, books, games and play equipments. Daycare provides opportunities for creative play with art supplies, educational games, building blocks, and more. This means, you don’t have to pay extra for many of these supplies at home.
When compared to recruiting a nanny, a daycare may work the best for most parents because of the ‘safety’ it offers. Nannies are not required to have extra education on child development or any certifications. This means screening nanny candidates and running background checks becomes an unavoidable responsibility of parents.
The daycare centres follow stringent guidelines when it comes to the safety, staffing and sanitation. The teachers and the support staff undergo specialised training to ensure that your baby gets a home away from home. The best daycare centres even have CCTV surveillance system and video-calling facility for parent-child interaction so that you can ensure the wellbeing of your child at the daycare.
There is no right or wrong choice here. Ask yourself which option works best for you and your child before making the final decision. After all, you want the best for your children.