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The Watchers

The Costs And Benefits Of Day Care, Au Pairs And Nannies

If one of you has been staying at home and is ready to get back to work, welcome to the fraught decision over who will take care of the kid for the majority of their waking hours Monday through Friday. There are 3 main options – day care, au pairs and nannies – and the pros and cons of each aren’t nearly as clear cut as you might think. For example, an au pair (a foreign exchange worker, trained and certified by the State Department) in many cases might be the cheapest option, but only if you have a spare bedroom and don’t mind your kid getting weird Swedish ideas in their head. Nannies are a slightly less formal arrangement, but expect to pay an hourly rate that can vary wildly depending on the region and nanny; you’ll also have to do some serious social calendar planning if you want to ensure your kid is properly engaged. Day care, meanwhile, provides excellent socialization and, in the best case, pre-preschool learning; they’re also little cesspools of bacteria that will get your kid, then you, then your spouse, sick at least 30 times a year. You’ll save money though (unless you have a second kid, at which point you’re going to have redo all this math).

 

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