If you haven’t read some of my previous posts you may not know that I am currently a nanny for twins! They are almost 10 months old, and are the sweetest little boys. You may also not know that while I was living in North Carolina I worked in a highly rated childcare center for almost three years! While at the center I worked part time, in all of the classrooms. I started working in the preschool rooms as a floating assistant teacher, covered lunches in the toddler rooms at times and then finally moved permanently into the infant room. I worked in the infant room for the majority of my time at the center, and it was the best work experience!
I have had a lot of people ask me what the difference between being a nanny and working in a childcare center is, and which I like better. I thought I’d explain a few ways that they are different (because they are VERY different). This is great to know if you work in the childcare field, if you’re a parent or are just curios. I will definitely be writing about this same topic later on aimed more towards parents, as I know it can be tough to choose which is best for your family!
I want to point out that all of the following is from my point of view, and can be taken seriously or not. I would love to answer any questions you may have about any of the information I’m about to share!
5 Differences Between Being a Nanny and Working in a Childcare Center:
- The Biggest Difference: I personally think that the biggest difference is the rules you have to follow. Being a nanny, you follow the family’s lead. You have to accommodate to their needs, rules and expectations. This can have it’s difficulties, but if you find a great family you can make these up together! Working in a childcare center you have to follow state rules and regulations, as well as that particular center’s mission statement, policies and schedules. In my experience both can have ups and downs. If you like things more structured, maybe working in a center may be a better fit. I am grateful that I have had both experiences, because my work in a highly rated childcare center has heavily influenced my work as a nanny.
- Pay: I don’t have a completely equal comparison here, so maybe take this with a grain of salt. I am going to try to be as honest as possible, without talking about actual numbers. I make almost double per hour as a nanny than I did working in a childcare center. A big difference here is that I am a full-time nanny with a college degree, and when I was working in a childcare center I was part-time and was still working towards getting a degree. One big thing that people ask me is about how much I make a week, and just assume that I keep 100% of it. This is definitely not the case for most nannies! The family I work for now pays me through a payroll company. Being a nanny is not like babysitting, and in most cases is on the books!
- Benefits: This kind of rolls into pay, so another thing to consider here is benefits. I currently pay for my own health insurance, but I know that this can be a benefit in both types of jobs if negotiated. Definitely think about this when looking at jobs. If a job in a center pays less per hour, but gives you great benefits it may be worth it! Same goes for nanny jobs, I know people who have their health insurance paid by families they work for.
- Day-to-day: This is kind of similar to #1 because it involves the rules and regulations you have to follow. Every family is different, and so are their schedules, expectations and family rules. I have worked with families that I could take the children away from the home to do activities, such as going to parks, restaurants, aquariums, libraries, etc.. I have also worked for families where I couldn’t drive the children, which is totally fine! I really prefer to be able to take the children out of the home, as it opens the door to SO many more activities. If you have to stay in the home, BE CREATIVE and come up with fun activities. One of my biggest tips is that almost ANYTHING you can do inside, can be taken outside (this tip should also be applied in childcare centers, and in most setting is encouraged)! Kids think that it is so cool to take books or arts and crafts outside! The day-to-day looks a lot different when working in a center. You have to follow a set schedule, which can be really helpful! Although you can still take the children in your class to do exciting things away from the center, a lot of planning ahead is involved.
- Curriculum: As I talked about a bit in #4, coming up with exciting activities is a must in BOTH jobs. It is actually a requirement when working in a childcare center, as you have to come up with weekly lesson plans. I actually loved lesson planning in my college classes and at the center I worked at. It’s a lot of work but the reward is so great! Along with lesson planning you have to make goals for your class as a whole, and each individual child. The activities you plan should address these goals. As a nanny it is still important to come up with activities. The children you work with will love having new and exciting things to do! I’m going to link a few lesson planning and activity resource books that are really useful if you are a nanny or work in a center!
Resource Books for Planning Age-Appropriate Activities:
Here are 5 books that I have used in school and work. They are all very reasonably priced, but can be bought used for even less! I highly recommend owning your own copy of a resource book for the age or ages of children you work with. I also want to put a warning here about solely getting activities from Pinterest as a parent, teacher or nanny. Although those butterflies made from coffee filters and clothes pins may be super cute, they aren’t super age appropriate for young ones and don’t encourage much out-of-the-box creativity.
- The Complete Resource Book for Preschoolers: An Early Childhood Curriculum With Over 2000 Activities and Ideas (Complete Resource Series)
- The Complete Resource Book for Toddlers and Twos: Over 2000 Experiences and Ideas (Complete Resource Series)
- The Giant Encyclopedia of Lesson Plans for Children 3 to 6 (GR-18345)
- The Complete Resource Book for Infants: Over 700 Experiences for Children from Birth to 18 Months (Complete Resource Series)
- The Complete Daily Curriculum for Early Childhood: Over 1200 Easy Activities to Support Multiple Intelligences and Learning Styles
*Disclaimer* – This post contains affiliate links, I have bought and tried every product. I would never share something I didn’t love!