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The Complete Guide to Child Care

The smart way to find the right care for your family

Option Definition Cost
Nanny
Nanny

A nanny is a household employee whose primary job is caring for your children, and is highly committed to their growth, education, and safety. There are many different types of nannies, depending on whether you’re looking for part-time, full-time, live-in, or live-out care. It’s a nanny’s responsibility to create daily schedules and engage in activities to ensure healthy mental, physical, and emotional growth of the children they care for. Most nannies are willing to prepare meals, helping with household work (e.g., dishes, laundry, etc.), driving the children to and from activities, and assisting with homework.

$ $ $ $ $
The Complete Guide to Nannies
Nanny Share
Nanny Share

A nanny share is when two or more families employ one nanny and share the cost of her salary. Most nannies watch all the children together, but many families will work together to come up with a schedule that’s tailored to their specific needs. A nanny share offers the socialization that you typically don’t find with a private nanny, as well as the one-on-one attention and flexibility that’s hard to come by at a day care. The biggest draw of a nanny share is its cost-effectiveness; the overall cost of sharing a nanny is about two-thirds what you’d typically pay just to have your own.

$ $ $ $ $
The Complete Guide to Nanny Shares
Babysitter
Babysitter

A babysitter is someone who cares for children on behalf of the children’s parents or guardians for a few hours. Most babysitting jobs are part-time and paid by the hour. They can be scheduled regularly (e.g., every day from 3-6 p.m.) or for special occasions (e.g., date night). A babysitter’s main tasks are to watch the kids and play with them; she may even be tasked with putting them to bed. A babysitter may be willing take on additional responsibilities (e.g., cooking, light housekeeping, driving children to and from scheduled activities, and helping with homework) for extra money.

$ $ $ $ $
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Au Pair
Au Pair

An au pair is a person from another country who provides live-in child care in exchange for room and board with their host family, along with a stipend. Au pairs must be between the ages of 18 and 26, and must have 32 hours of child care training, or 200 hours in infant care experience if caring for a child under two years of age. An au pair can do light housework as it pertains to the children. They can clean areas of the house the children use, change their linens and do their laundry—but can't do any hard scrubbing or wash windows. Au pairs can provide child care up to 45 hours a week, and up to ten hours at a time, but because of work visa protection, they cannot be scheduled for more than that.

$ $ $ $ $
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Day Care
Day Care

A day care is a form of child care that is offered by private providers either in their homes or in stand-alone centers. There are different types of day cares, including day care centers, family child care programs, group day care homes, and co-op day cares. A day care setting provides a wonderful opportunity for children to play together, learn from peers, and, in many cases, gain preschool skills. Day care provides children with a learning or activity structure; you may even get regular written reports/updates on your child’s development.

$ $ $ $ $
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Compare Child Care Options

Many factors come into play when weighing all child care options, such as:

  • Cost
  • Proximity to home
  • Caregiver-to-child ration

Remember that every family's situation can be unique, so when considering your different options, ask yourself: "what is best for my family?" For example, Day Cares are generally best for families with one child, families with a set schedule, and families who seek higher levels of social interactions for their child. Whereas Nannies are generally best, and often the most cost-efficient, for families with two or more children, families who can’t always make a 5:30pm pick-up, and families with an infant or very young child so it can receive the one-on-one attention you would give if you were home.

Child Care Guides

The Complete Guide to Child Care
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The Complete Guide to Nannies
The Complete Guide to Nanny Shares

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