As schools in the UAE kick off a new academic year, parents of young children face a crucial decision: should they opt for a nanny or enroll their child in a nursery to support their developmental needs? This choice isn’t one-size-fits-all, and various factors come into play, according to experts and parents.
A Personal Decision
Diksha Laungani, an educational psychologist at The Psychology Centre at the Carbone Clinic in Dubai, emphasizes that the decision depends on individual family circumstances. Cultural preferences, work schedules, and the availability of family members, such as grandparents, all play a role in this choice.
Research suggests that young children tend to respond better to a single caregiver who meets their needs. However, as they grow, interaction with other children becomes increasingly important. Dr. Laungani recommends considering nursery enrollment for children between the ages of two and a half and three when they can benefit from interacting with peers.
Selecting the right caregiver or nursery is crucial. Dr. Laungani cautions against treating nannies as mere babysitters, highlighting the importance of finding nannies who contribute to child development, set boundaries, and provide proper care.
The Financial Factor
Cost is undeniably a significant influencer in this decision. A qualified nanny may cost around Dh3,000 per month, while top-rated nurseries can range from Dh4,000 to Dh4,500. Families with multiple children may find it more cost-effective to hire a nanny. Some parents redirect the savings toward better schools when their child reaches school age.
Structured Care vs. Flexibility
Parents also consider the structure that suits their family circumstances. A qualified nanny offers flexibility and adaptability, allowing for greater parental involvement in daily routines and activities. Nurseries, on the other hand, provide a structured environment with a focus on educational and cognitive development.
The National interviewed several UAE parents about their childcare choices. Dubai resident Laura Eggleton believes that nurseries offer educational fun that few nannies can replicate. While she acknowledges the benefit of having both a nanny and a nursery, she would choose the nursery for her child’s development.
Another Dubai resident, Alison Rego, also advocates for nurseries, emphasizing their positive impact on child development. In the end, the decision between a nanny and a nursery depends on various factors, including family dynamics, financial considerations, and individual preferences.