Could Day Care Centers be a better option than in-house Nannies

One of the Day care centers in Nairobi
One of the Day care centers in Nairobi
One of the Day care centers in Nairobi

We lead busy lives. With the current state of the economy both parents need to complement each other in regards to the funds getting into the household. Our needs are many, with a rise in the cost of education especially the beginners’ level and the tertiary level, investments and a lot of hard work for the shilling is paramount. But then, where does this leave our little ones especially below the age of five? Who takes care of them while we, for most of the day run up and down seeking to offer a better future for them, to leave them at least a legacy better than our own? To give them financial security so they never know lack?

While every parent wants to spend time with their children, (I know I prefer playing with my eight month old and not be out there in the “other” world) some times its easier said than done. We simply cannot do without  care givers for our children as most jobs require that we as women actually show up at the office.

I have been seeking a nanny for several months now. Being a stay at home mother for the first six months after my daughter’s birth taught me resilience, multi-tasking and basically gave me full-blown “supermom” powers. But even supermom has her limits. I have had to leave my daughter and go back to school while still running a side mobile business. From attending lectures to delivering clothes to clients, I realized, carrying my baby around is next to impossible. So, after searching and not finding a nanny I am comfortable leaving my child with thanks to “first mom syndrome”, I settled for a day care centre. Read our previous article on some 10 ideal day care centers in Nairobi.

The first week was torture. Watching my child cry uncontrollably, fighting the urge to go back, hug her and spend the day with her, but leaving with a broken heart anyway. The second week was better, and by the third week, I had noticed changes in the way she acts around me, and around people. Good changes, and I felt relieved in more ways than one. Day care centres really do have a lot of perks and although its a growing trend as most mothers still prefer having a Nanny who either lives in or comes in every weekday. so what are some of these benefits?

1. Raising a socially intelligent child
It is important for a child to know how to relate with other children. A child with older siblings that are not too far apart in terms of age has no problem developing these much-needed social skills. However, one that is the first-born, who is growing up in an entirely “grown-up” environment, will not get this kind of exposure. Day care centers are swarmed with children in different development stages and offer a suitable environment for a child’s horning their social skills. Baby has become more playful, more talkative and more interactive with other children; waving goodbye when I pick her up, clapping along and “dancing” as they sing to/with her and even responding with baby talk when they speak to her.

2. Independence
Baby has realized that mummy leaves in the morning and comes back in the evening. Unlike most times when this early bird would watch me leave and start crying, she actually waves goodbye. She has become more mature and aware of “trends” and “schedules”. She does not like to be picked up and held all the time, since at the day care center, just like other babies, she sits down and gets busy with socializing and playing with her toys. So now we can both relax after a long day, mine, out and about, hers, at the daycare center or as we like to joke in the house, “at the school”.

3. Budget friendly
I am convinced nannies are expensive, especially the in-house nannies. While we cannot put a price tag on quality care for our babies, we also cannot ignore the fact that sometimes, we can stretch out our funds so far. A nanny’s salary ranges from Kshs. 7,000 to Kshs. 20,000 monthly depending on her duties, the number of children she takes care of and the length of time (in years) she is with the child/children.
A good day care center on the other hand ranges from as low as Kshs 50 a day to Kshs. 300 a day depending on the services provided, whether they serve the children food and the place. The total sums up to a difference of more than Kshs. 10,000 monthly on the least. Not a bad sum to save and invest in other areas for instance, education or health.

4. Privacy and Intimacy
There are people who prefer to keep their households as private as possible. This is why houses are built with separate servant quarters for the privacy of both the employer and the employee. This is also why others prefer to hire a woman who twice or thrice a week comes to cleans and then leaves. A daycare center allows one to lead the private life they so prefer while still providing the child with quality care during the day from professionals and in the company of other children. A win-win-win.

Have you any experience with day care centers? Was it good or bad? Please share.

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  1. Rujeko Reply

    This was really helpful. I’ve been deliberating on that matter too. Have had my own fair share of helper drama.

    • Lilian Kimari Post authorReply

      I hear you. The Centre are heaven sent. I call it a school for babies.

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