Home Daycare vs Daycare Center: A Mom’s Perspective

Home Daycare vs Daycare Center

If you are a working mom, one of the first questions you ask yourself after getting pregnant is: Who will watch my child while I work? Deciding who will care for your child when you are not around is a difficult question and one that takes time, trust, and research. I have been very fortunate that all of the childcare options we have chosen have worked out wonderfully. We have done everything from in-home daycares, licensed and not, to structured preschools, here are the pros and cons I’ve experienced.

Home Daycare

Home daycare come in all different forms. Some are licensed, some are not. Some have only a couple of kids with one caretaker, others have multiple caretakers and more children. All three of my children started in in-home daycares. Here are the pros and cons:


  1. A Home Environment. A home daycare is like, well, a home. It’s familiar and comfortable and can feel
  2. Usually a little cheaper. Due to the fact that there is less overhead to run an in-home daycare, it usually costs a little less than a larger center.
  3. The caretaker KNOWS your child. In a home daycare environment where you have only a few kids with one person, often for a few years, that person really knows your child and if they are good, they treat them like one of their own. I have been really fortunate with our in-home daycare providers being really wonderful people that became a part of our family for the time my children were with them.
  4. Flexible schedules. While most daycare centers have strict hours, in-home daycare has the option to be a little more flexible. For moms that have odd working hours that start extra early or go extra late, this can be essential. However, remember that your daycare provider is a person too and that you need to respect their time as they often have very limited time for doctor appointments and errands of their own.
  5. Can accommodate all ages. Typically home daycares take children from infant


  1. Less structure. This is not always true, but in-home daycares have less oversight on how they fill their days and their schedules. A good home daycare absolutely has a schedule, but it is almost always less than daycare centers that are scheduled to the minute.
  2. Provider sick days. When you are relying on one person to watch your child, they have their own emergencies that come up. It can be a struggle to find last minute childcare 30 minutes before you have to leave your house for work when your daycare provider calls in sick.
  3. Less oversight. Even licensed in-home daycare that are subject to the same rules are daycare centers are checked less often and have less accountability to verify they are following the law to a tee.

Daycare Center

A daycare center provides consistency and reliability  Рimportant things for busy moms. They are also under strict state regulations with multiple employees to ensure that those regulations are met. Here are the pros and cons:


  1. Consistency. Daycare centers are open almost every day of the year (except for major holidays) and if one teacher is sick, they can call in a sub or rearrange assignments. There is a daily schedule and you can count on a certain amount of predictability for you and your child.
  2. Age appropriate curriculum. Most daycare centers provide a preschool curriculum from 2 years and up. While there is still plenty of playtime and arts, there is also a structured learning environment.
  3. Accountability. It is true that there are some horrible daycare centers, but since there are multiple people working in a center, there is built-in accountability for how the workers act and treat children. I also received a written report every time my child was injured or disciplined, something that didn’t happen in any home care we used.


  1. Limited, if any, infant spots. Many daycare centers will not take children under the age of two. Those that do only have a few spots available, which can lead to long wait lists.
  2. Inflexible schedules. When they are open, great, when they are not, well, they’re not. If you work a regular 9-5, it’s probably fine, but if you work early or late hours or holidays, hopefully you have a spouse or family member that does not.
  3. Less one on one attention. Don’t get me wrong, most of my children’s preschool teachers have been great and attentive; however, with more kids in the room, kids are less likely to get one on one time with adults.
  4. Rising costs. Daycare centers tend to raise their prices each year to cover rising overhead.

1 thought on “Home Daycare vs Daycare Center: A Mom’s Perspective”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.