Which is the best/least damaging type of child care?

It’s simple. The people who love your baby the most will give the best care to him or her. For a baby the hierarchy is usually: mum, dad, grandparent or other family member well known to the baby, nanny or childminder (where there is consistent one-to-one care) and lastly group daycare.  For babies and children under 30-36 months, group daycare is generally the least desirable, mainly because of the reduced opportunity to develop a secure attachment relationship between the infant and one particular carer. This is because:

  • There are multiple carers; staff have responsibility for several children
  • The infant is given a different key person as they progress through the different ‘rooms’, which is the usual regime in daycare settings.
  • In many group daycare settings staff turnover is high 
  • Staff will be entitled to have regular breaks during the day, and annual leave. Parents may not be informed in advance when their child’s key person will be absent. Childminders or a nanny looking after the child in their or your home will manage absences differently.
  • Being cared for in their own home setting is also the calmest, most familiar and therefore most secure, place for a very young child.