Nannies vs. Child Care Centers: which is right for you?


For working parents, the question inevitably comes up: how do we decide on childcare? With so many options out there – nannies, au pairs, private centers, commercial centers – how can parents make an educated choice? At Sparkles! we make that choice a little easier.

1.Community Partnerships

Partnerships might not be something parents think about, but they are important. Sparkles! maintains partnerships with some very important organizations and agencies that help parents find the perfect place for their children. These partnerships may also provide tuition assistance. You can see our list of partnerships here. There is rarely any kind of assistance like this when hiring a nanny or au pair.

2. Qualified Teachers and Licensing

If you are seeking a daycare, you need to be sure it’s licensed, that the teachers have degrees and experience in early childhood education and that there is a way to verify the provider’s background. This is sometimes difficult to do if you are considering hiring an individual. Sparkles! makes the research easy, as childcare centers are required to publicize this kind of information.

3. Low Child-to-teacher Ratio

A big concern for parents is that teachers might have too many children in their care and that children will not get individualized attention. This leads some parents to choose a nanny or au pair. Parents can be assured that Sparkles! addresses the needs of each child by ensuring there is never over-crowding. You can get details on our ratios by contacting us.

4. Age-Appropriate Curriculum

Because our teachers have a background in education, they are proficient in the kind of teaching you want your children to receive. If you have multiple children especially, it is difficult for an individual to provide age-appropriate lessons for different aged children. Since our classes are divided up according to age, we do not have those limitations.

5. Special Programs

We offer summer camps, before and after school care and more. These are big advantages for parents who need specialized care for their children, especially as children get older.

6. Structure for Children

Children need to know what is going to happen and when it is going to happen. Structure gives them a sense of security and allows them to learn better. Individual caregivers, if they are not following a curriculum and schedule, may have difficulty providing structure.


7. Structure for Parents

Sometimes, it can be awkward maintaining daily schedules, payment schedules and rules with individuals, especially if the child is being cared for at home where schedules can become more fluid. Since Sparkles! provides a structured setting, parents can feel secure that staff is being supervised, taking that responsibility off their shoulders.

8. Socialization for Children

Perhaps one of the biggest perks for having children in a center is the opportunity for them to have interaction with peers. Social skills are crucial to learning early on how to interact in groups. Children in groups can learn from one another, thereby helping them reach developmental milestones such as language acquisition and potty training. This is difficult for an individual caregiver to provide.

9. Socialization for Parents

Parents of children who are in the care of an individual have limited access to parents whose children have the same caregiver. It’s important for parents to be able to talk with other parents who have something in common, to discuss children and to maintain collegiality.

10. Cost

A childcare center like Sparkles! is typically less expensive than hiring a nanny or au pair. And, as mentioned above, some families have the opportunity to get financial assistance for children who attend Sparkles!

11. Reliability

When an individual is caring for children, if he/she gets sick, there is the chance parents will have to fill in, which is hard on parents, as consistency and schedules are interrupted. At Sparkles! teachers have substitutes who are familiar with the curriculum and the children.

12. Internet Remote Camera Viewing

Safety and trust are always big concerns for parents. Sparkles! makes it easy for parents by providing internet-based video which allows parents to check on their children at any point. The system is monitored by staff to ensure it is working properly. It is significantly more difficult for parents who cannot provide this convenience at home.

Clearly, there are many advantages to having a child in a good center such as Sparkles! as opposed to hiring an individual. However, we encourage parents to do the research in order to make an informed decision. Parents and children are truly happiest when they are comfortable with the environment and with the level of service provided.

We welcome you to visit. All Sparkles! centers host an open house every Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To schedule, click here.

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