Nanny share vs Day Care Center

Hello all!

I am about to become a first time mother in March. I have started looking into childcare now because I know things fill up and there may be waiting lists. My husband and I anticipate needing full time day care beginning in October when we both return to work full time. I have done some research on day care and know that it is going to be quite expensive. I have not yet been able to get a lot of information on the cost of Nanny shares in the area and how that works. 

Do any of you parents out there have any advice or recommendations? Is a nanny share typically less expensive that a day care center. Are there any positives or negatives to each that I should know about?

Thanks in advance!

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RE: Nanny share vs Day Care Center ()


I am in the exact same boat as you.  My wife and I will have our baby in April and are looking for full time help in October.  We don't know what to do and what is preferable.  Most nanny shares are available right now.  I want to be prepared for October.  Maybe we can keep in touch about our findings.


RE: Nanny share vs Day Care Center ()

Hi, there are basically three options for you: a nanny or nanny share, a daycare center, or a home-based daycare. Nanny and daycare center will be similar in price (at least from my experience), Home-based daycares are cheaper. Home-based daycares seem very popular in the East Bay, Bananas can provide you with a list. They also host workshops on how to find childcare. For home-based daycares and daycare centers you want to look and register now. For nannys you can look now but it might be easier to do once the start date comes closer. I registered at a daycare center before my son was born, but it did not work out for me and I pulled him out after 3 days. The switch from being 1:1 with mom to a daycare center with  several other babies and 2 care givers was too much and stressful for us. So we found and joined a nanny share 2 weeks later. My preference is with nanny shares or home-based daycares that provide more individualized attention and attachment for your baby while exposing him/her to some kids as well. This is just my own experience and preference, others might feel differently and only you know what will work for you once you try it out. 

RE: Nanny share vs Day Care Center ()

You might consider taking the infant care class offered by BANANAS. My husband and I took it while I was still pregnant and it was super helpful. 

There are certainly pros and cons to both (we've done both). The bigger obstacle to consider is that the number of young infant spots (younger than 18 months) at daycares is quite low -- they're required to hold to a 4:1 ratio (4 babies to 1 teacher). We ended up going with a nanny share for when I first went back to work simply because we couldn't find a spot at any nearby daycare. If you can find a spot at a place you like, great! But you might find that you have more flexibility with a nanny share until your child reaches the 18 month - 2 year range, when the number of available spots at local daycares and preschools opens up quite considerably. 

The comparison of cost can also vary. Standalone daycare centers are often more expensive than small in-home daycares. Nanny share rates will likely fall somewhere in the middle. 

Hope this helps!

RE: Nanny share vs Day Care Center ()

A nanny share is going to be more expensive than a day care almost all the time. For reference, I’ve had a child in a nanny share for almost two years with one other child. The nanny charges $25 per hour total, so $12.50 per hour per family. We employ our nanny on the books and follow all applicable laws, so we pay for overtime, taxes, sick leave, and workers comp insurance. Our total cost including all those items plus the fees we paid to a payroll service to handle tax reporting, and a holiday bonus to the nanny,  came to about $3300 per month average for 2018. That was for 9.5 hours per day, five days a week of care. Some people - actually many people, as far as I can tell - save money by employing their nannies illegally, ie, they pay cash and do not pay taxes or overtime or provide paid sick leave (required by law in CA), or secure workers comp insurance (which is a crime in CA). I would strongly encourage you, if you do hire a nanny, to do so legally both for the sake of being a good and humane person and employer, and to avoid serious legal consequences to yourself and the nanny should the IRS or the state find out. 

Daycare rates vary but there are very few that will charge as high as $3300 per month, and you will generally get more hours of coverage. My first child was in a daycare from 2014-2015 and our monthly cost was around $1700. The hours were 7:00 to 5:30. That was a few years ago and it was one of the more affordable daycares I found so I would expect most daycares to be more expensive but it would still be quite a bit less than a nanny share. 

As far as positives and negatives, a nanny share will give you more control over your child’s schedule and activities. Your child may get sick less often in a nanny share than in a daycare. A daycare will be more affordable and provide more coverage of hours daily. Nannies get sick and have emergencies and run late, whereas daycares are always open when they say they will be and provide more coverage throughout the year. I chose a nanny share for my second child because my first child was sick constantly from being in daycare, but it turns out my first child was just especially prone to illness the first three-ish years and my second has a heartier immune system so I probably could have put my second in daycare too and saved a lot of money. These are things you can’t predict so just make a decision based on your budget and other needs and remember that there is no such thing as perfect child care. Good luck!

RE: Nanny share vs Day Care Center ()

Following for responses, as I’m in the same boat!

RE: Nanny share vs Day Care Center ()


A 9 or 10 hour day full time daycare schedule seems to be running about $2100+ a month for an infant at a regular daycare in Berkeley, less at home daycares. Nanny share seems like it is cheaper or similar to the cost of daycare if you want fewer than 40 hours a week. If you want 40 hours a week (or maybe 45 or 50), daycare is most likely more cost effective. This article on BPN will probably be useful to you on nanny share pricing:

I have a 9 month old who has been in a formal daycare for 3 months. The pros I see for daycare are it's out of my home (no messes, it's preserved as my own environment, better for working from home - this is a huge personal factor for me, as I often work from home; this can also be resolved by doing the nanny share at the other person's home), it's completely legal, more eyes on the kids, more structure, more activities and equipment to play on, extremely consistent and reliable, and no issues on firing/rehiring when a nanny situation goes sideways or the nanny moves/has a schedule change. The cons are: a lot of sickness at first - my baby went from no illness the first 6 months to about 1 or 1 1/2 illnesses per month since starting, with a very persistent runny nose a lot of the time now, generally louder more chaotic environment that is tougher to take naps in, probably less personal attention than she'd get with a nanny and also less opportunity for her to go to parks and get outside.

Overall, I've been happy with doing daycare but I had that preference all along (mainly because I often work from home) so I tried to get into daycare early to avoid having to go the nanny route. I have friends who have loved/ do love their (shared and solo) nannies. Some of these people also had a nanny they had to fire because, for example, the nanny was very verbally harsh with the children. My only friend who has done both daycare and nanny says she prefers daycare, partly because it's more transactional for her. As with anything, a lot depends on the specifics of the situation.

Good luck! Hope all goes well for you and your family.