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The return to the rat race- nanny, granny, day mom crèche or au pair?

Paying your nanny too much?

For a lot of moms the sad day will arrive when your little one needs to be left at daycare or with a nanny and you have to return to work. With so many things to think of and recently going through it all again myself, I decided to write this post regarding...”the return to the rat race”. With so many options to consider , “will my child go to granny?” (the lucky ones), have a “day mom?”, “go to a crèche?” or “get a nanny?” your porridge brain may be cooking by now. So here are some of the pro’s and cons of different caregivers from month 4 to 12. 

Grannies - at this stage a granny is an awesome option because you probably know her very well by now, she raised you/your husband- and you turned out all right hey? Kids aren’t too active yet so the grannies can keep up the pace and your child will probably get the best love second to yours. The pitfall is that you are tying granny up in what she may have considered her years of freedom. Make sure this is not the case or that it is a price she is willing to pay. Grannies in so many peoples’ opinion are there to spoil a kid and by 12 months she may have to discipline your little one. Are you okay with that? 

So for those of us who don’t have grannies nearby, my second best option would be a day mom. Ideally speaking you are looking for a 1:3 child ratio. Though legally speaking they can have more...legally that is. In terms of love, I prefer 1:1 to a maximum of 1:3. That is one caregiver for every three babies. There are studies to show that the higher your responsibility levels the lower the chances are of you taking sick leave. In the case of a day mom I find they are responsible for more people and see the relationship between working, or not working and their income. Day moms usually have a backup plan in case they get sick- if they don’t then perhaps look a little further, you don’t want to take all your leave at unplanned days and end up with no rest or quality holidays with your little one. This is what brings me to the nanny pic. If nannies (or the nanny business) were reliable this would be one of my first choices as re giving takes place in your child’s natural safe environment and he/she gets all the attention he/she needs. Unfortunately most often with a nanny we do not have a backup caregiver. So if she  sick, it results in a crisis. With South African transport they often get pulled over, or taxi's take too long to fill up and they end up being late- resulting in crises at work for you. Their hours are also limited according to the department of labour, so if you travel far/overtime is may also be a problem. If your nanny isn’t trained or has a natural talent, chances are your child may not get all the stimulation he needs. This post obviously isn’t to show out all the problems but just that there are some hiccups and where we can we will recommend solutions. So if u do decide on the nanny option, consider using our nanny tools and getting a guide like Groovy venturers nanny & child stimulation curriculum.

Communication is key and you have to make sure your nanny has the skills to give you proper feedback. For a A5 feeding/sleeping schedule printout you can go to and download the 4-6 month day to day planner. I can also recommend you teach your nanny stimulation activities to do on a daily basis to ensure your child reaches his developmental milestones. See if you can organise a first aid course aimed at nannies and domestic child minders.

Creches are my last option at four months age, merely because I value individual attention and believe a child should not be exposed to too many germs too early in life. The upside it that you probably have the best security in place at a crèche. They usually have a lot of people and feet moving around, access control , security cameras and thus is not an easy target for opportunistic crimes. They usually have structures routines and check lists and qualified staff who knows how to work with babies. The chances of you having to take off work because they are closed are very rare, but you may have to take leave to take care of your sick child on a regular basis. 

Au pairs are a great option but at the moment the cost implication is probably the highest. Au pairs should have formal tertiary education and CPR training. They could have a driving licence and usually is a great option if you can afford one budgeting R8000 to R12000 per month.

And then...there is the option of staying home with your child. The upside is that you are in control of just about everything that happens with or to your child. You will be on the job 24/7 and never have leave unless you either go away or send your kid away. This can be detrimental to your health or the best time of your life (or both?). If you plan on staying at home you need to make sure you are enjoying it, your kids are enjoying it and that it is really the best choice for you, your husband and kids. If you are not staying at home because of financial reasons, the internet is your friend, you can now make money online easier than ever before. Read this post on making money with facebook or your personal blog

For every down there is a up. Good luck with all the decisions and may you find the best place for your little one. Read our “questions to ask before deciding on a preschool or crèche” post or a summary of this article and things to ask before deciding on a nanny, granny, day mom, stay at home mom or au pair go to nanny-granny-au-pair-creche-14-questions

For a list of crèches or nanny agencies go to