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Is a Babysitter or Childcare Better For My Child?

Did you know that over half of all children under six in the United States live in a home with both parents in the workforce? That’s a lot of young children in need of care! For a parent, finding the right person to care for your child can be stressful, and there’s a lot to consider. Should you put your little one in daycare or opt for a babysitter? What’s the difference between the two? Do the benefits of one outweigh the other? Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

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A babysitter is someone who is hired hourly to watch children. Babysitters usually come to the family’s house to care for the children, and don’t generally have regular schedules. If a sitter begins to care for the children for long hours on a regular basis, that person is then called a nanny. Babysitters and nannies can be a great option for families who need childcare at night, and hiring someone to provide babysitting in their home gives parents a good deal of control over how childcare is handled. A babysitter or nanny can give children personalized attention, take them on outings, and even take kids to lessons or other extracurricular events.

On the other hand, there are some disadvantages to hiring a babysitter. In most states, babysitting isn’t regulated beyond age restrictions, and babysitters don’t need to have specific credentials. There’s no specific job description, and the level of care varies, so while some babysitters are very involved with the children, playing games and providing educational opportunities, others simply offer supervision while the kids play, with no structure. Some babysitters know CPR or have other qualifications, but it’s up to the parents to determine these and to check references. If a babysitter is watching your children in your home, you will be responsible for that person’s safety as well as the safety of your children. Then, too, there’s the issue of socialization. When children are watched by a babysitter, that’s the only person they interact with outside of their family.

At a daycare, on the other hand, children spend time with many different people. They socialize with other children and develop meaningful social skills, like how to cooperate, communicate, and see the world from another person’s perspective. The caretakers at a good daycare know how to guide these interactions, and they also provide structure for the children’s day.

There are different kinds of daycare, and some parents opt for an in-home provider. When you bring your child to someone’s home, you may be choosing an environment with more personal attention, because the provider will have fewer children than attend a daycare center. State laws regulate in-home daycare providers, and they must meet certain requirements to be licensed to keep children. If you do choose someone to care for your child in a private home, make sure that licensing is in place. An unlicensed daycare might not be safe, and the provider may not have any training on how to care for children.

A daycare center offers peace of mind, because you can be sure of the credentials for the school you choose. A center that has professional teachers and accredited caretakers will be able to provide not only a safe place for your child to stay while you’re at work, but also structure that can aid in the child’s development. Some advantages of daycare include:

  • A well-planned schedule of daily activities designed to nurture a child’s social, psychological, and emotional development.
  • A staff that’s not only trained but also background-checked, experienced, and trained in first aid techniques like CPR.
  • A safe facility built to accommodate children and give them a worthwhile experience.
  • Activities designed to promote learning in different ways, whether through physical activity, creative play, or artistic expression.
  • Regular hours and clear rules for checking children in and out of the facility.

Of course, finding the right daycare is key, and parents should research and tour facilities before deciding where to place their child. When you’re looking for high quality childcare, trust Just Children to care for your little ones. Founded in 1983, our family-owned, fully-licensed centers provide a unique learning environment where we help children build the skills they need to succeed in life. Our year-round programs in Bucks County, Philadelphia, and New Jersey are convenient for working parents, and we design every program with age-appropriate activities that allow kids to learn, grow, and explore. We’re dedicated to creating a worry-free experience for parents while enriching the lives of children and providing a safe, nurturing environment with the highest standards of care, creativity, and learning. Visit our website to find a location convenient to you, or contact us to ask questions or schedule a tour.

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