Is a Nursery or Nanny Better?

We are often asked for our expert opinion on whether a nursery or a nanny is better for a child



That is probably (one of) the 60 million dollar questions out there. Unfortunately there is no straight answer because there are too many factors to consider.

For example, I have 2 boys. With my first, he went into a nursery and for my second he had a nanny.

What was the reason for this?

  1. I felt that being an only child at the time, my first son would benefit from being around other children.
  2. By the time my second son was born, I needed much longer hours which a nursery could not accommodate, but a nanny could.
  3. When you have 2 children, it can sometimes be more cost effective to have a nanny rather than place them both in a nursery.

Your family's circumstances

You have to make a choice based on your own circumstances, as well as what is right for your child. Some people don't have a choice, and a nursery is all that they can afford, particularly with the free entitlement funding for 3 year olds.

Choosing a nursery

What is very important is making the right choice of nursery. Personally I wouldn't rely on Ofsted reports, but instead I would place heavy emphasis on recommendations from other parents.

Go and have a look around a number of settings to get a feel for what size and type of nursery would best suit you.

Don't always book ahead as they will be on their best behaviour if they know you are coming. I would just turn up on the doorstep and ask if you can have a quick look around. If the manager says she is busy, ask if you can be taken around initially now by a member of staff, and then book to see the manager at a later date.

You can also speak to your local Tinies agency, because we supply staff to nurseries and therefore can recommend some of the good ones.

Take 'expert' advice with a pinch of salt

One piece of advice - don't read all those reports and pieces of research by experts on what they perceive is the best childcare for children.

They don't know you and they don't know your children - you are the best judge of what is best for them.

Amanda Coxen, Working Mum and Tinies Director


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We needed a nanny quite unexpectedly... We didn't know where to start and by using Tinies everything was taken care of for us. All we had to do was meet the nanny and agree a start date!
Luke, Ellon, Aberdeenshire