Which Type of Childcare

is for You

There are many factors to consider when choosing which type of childcare is best for your family. To find the best childcare fit, it helps to assess your lifestyle and determine what aspects are most important to you and your family. Each and every family has different priorities when it comes to childcare. In order to find the best fit, you will want to consider the following: 

Each and every family has different priorities when it comes to childcare.


How much can you afford to pay for childcare? How much are you willing to pay for childcare? It is no surprise that childcare can be expensive. How expensive depends on the type of childcare you choose. 

In a survey for Salary and Benefits by the International Nanny Association, the average nanny rate per hour is $19.14 and the median per hour is $18.00. This varies wildly based on experience and geographic location. Hourly rates have also shown a significant positive trend over the course of 5 years. For a nanny working 40 hours per week, this equates to approximately $37,000 to $40,000 per year. This is significantly affected by the skill level, geographic region, and number of children in the family.

Live-in nannies usually earn less money because housing is included. For more information you can also read up on factors affecting hourly rate for a nanny

Au Pairs, or live in nannies from a different country, have a lower hourly cost, however the placement program you use to hire the Au Pair could cost several thousand, reducing the cost benefits. The average total cost of care for an Au Pair for a 12-month time period is around $20,000—this includes agency fees and weekly stipend to the Au Pair. As the Au Pair is living with you, there are many additional fees that you are likely to incur, including transportation, food, and living expenses.   

The cost of daycare is dependent on the type of daycare and where you live. The Childcare Aware of America Report explains that daycare can range from $11,000 to $17,000 per year depending on state and age of the child. 

For more tips on budgeting for childcare, Childcare Aware of America has a family monthly budget template.  To find out what the cost of child care in your state, check out Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2017


Convenience is another major factor for many families when searching for the best option of childcare for their children. In order to find the best fit, assess what constraints parents and care providers have regarding work schedules, travel, and other obligations. 

When considering location, in-home is extremely easy and can be more stress-free! In-home care can be very advantageous as time for transportation and scheduling issues are not a problem.  In-home care is not only beneficial to the parent, but also to the child as they get to stay in their own home and an environment they are already comfortable in. In-home care also allows a child to maintain a sleep schedule or nap schedule which makes the transition from parent to childcare provider much more smooth!  

If considering childcare outside of the home or work, location of the childcare service is important. Location can be near home or near work or somewhere in between. Each of these options have their own pros and cons. Several factors to consider are discussed here. For choosing childcare closer to a parents’ workplace, drop off and pick up are convenient but limited to the parent or care provider working at the location closest to the childcare center. If a care taker’s work requires travel or has odd hours, this may not provide the convenience expected. However, if a parent or caretaker is able to see the child during lunch hours, being close to work is extremely convenient and can make the choice worthwhile.

If childcare is located closer to home, it is easier for multiple parties to drop the child off at daycare. Additionally, parents and care providers can rely on neighbors if schedule needs change. Also, by choosing a daycare closer to home, families have the opportunity to meet others in your school district or neighborhood.  

Another new effort that is being made by companies for their employees is onsite childcare. Onsite childcare is daycare at the workplace. Patagonia is a company that is setting an example for others. These efforts help to retain mothers postpartum and make the work experience beneficial for their family.  

Type and Demands of Job

Schedule variability and job demand are two extremely important topics when considering the type of childcare that is best for you and your family. When choosing the best childcare, consider working hours or regular travel requirements. 

If you work unconventional hours or differ from the common 9-5, it is extremely important to find childcare that fits your specific situation. Having a nanny or an Au Pair allows families to set childcare hours based on the family’s specific needs including work schedules and travel. Many daycares have set hours and would necessitate supplemental childcare if the family could not meet the drop-off and pick-up schedules. If you have a more normal work schedule or a partner that can help support childcare, then there are more options available. 

Needs of your Children

In addition to parents’ and care giver needs, it is also very important to consider the child’s needs. For families with special needs children, there are specific options that best accommodate your child’s growth and development. In selecting childcare options, ask candidates about their experience with specific needs that align with your child, mental, physical, or otherwise. There are usually special-needs daycares or a specialized nannies nearby. Both options would allow your child to have care that is customized to them.  

The development and growth of the child should also be considered. One on one care and socialization are key factors in early childhood growth and development. Daycare offers immediate socialization with children of different ages. This also allows for learning skills such as sharing and patience. A nanny or an Au Pair offers more one-on-one contact and attachment and can also provide socialization through play dates or group activities. In-home care such as a nanny of au pair also stabilizes the child’s environment. Each child is different and may need a different environment to thrive.


Every family is different, and, as such, the childcare chosen should be strictly determined based on the family’s current situation and needs. As those needs change, so to can the childcare chosen.

It is very important, no matter the type of childcare, to keep a child on a consistent and reliable schedule. Consistency is extremely important for children According to Bernard Arons, M.D,. the director of the Center for Mental Health Services in Washington, D.C., “A child learns how to approach the world by observing the behavior and values of the people around him. The more consistent the messages he gets, the more stable he feels. Without consistency, kids have a hard time controlling themselves.”  

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