Child Care by a Relative: Pros & Cons

Child Care by Extended Family: Advantages & Disadvantages

Many parents consider asking a relative to take care of their toddler a safer option than putting him in daycare. But relative care comes with it’s own set of pros and cons and you need to be sure that your relationship and your child’s well-being are both maintained at par.

Busy parents, who are not able to take care of their growing toddlers at home, often need an extra hand. And more often than not, they bank on family members as reliable caretakers for their little ones. While there is always the satisfaction of taking help from close ones, one must also weigh certain advantages and disadvantages that are involved.

Reasons to Opt Relative Care For Your Toddler

  • The first reason to ask a relative to help you bring up your child is because you can rely on them. No other childcare option will leave you with that much satisfaction and peace of mind. When a family member takes cares of your child, you can assume that they would genuinely be concerned about your child’s well-being.
  • Being from the same family, your relative is likely to agree with you on decisions regarding your child’s discipline, meals and activities. This will assure you of consistent care as your child is being attended to by someone who shares your values.
  • If your child is already used to seeing the relative on a regular basis, or she has been babysat by the same person before, it would be easier for the two of them to adjust. This is much better than bringing in a brand new person for childcare.
  • Your relative can take care of your child at home. It is much better than letting him go to a crèche or nursery. Staying at a familiar environment is always better for the toddler.



  • Your child gets a one-to-one care, when he has your relative around. If you have more than one child to be taken care of, the percentage of satisfaction a childcare nanny would give you is less than what your relative would have to offer.
  • A lot of children get ear infections and contagious diseases from childcare. These are not likely to happen in your own healthy environment.
  • Childcare costs would of course be more than what you would compensate your relative with for her labour of love.

Reasons Not to Choose Relative Care for Your Toddler

  • If your relative is someone who has had previous experience of raising a child, especially in a previous generation, they might have their own set of rules which differ from yours. Their ideas on feeding, sleeping and discipline could clash with yours. Having two sets of guardians could confuse your child and the difference of opinion could have adverse effects on your relationship.
  • Payments are really awkward in these situations. You might want to overpay your relative to avoid the feeling that you are taking advantage of the relationship. Your relative could refuse to take money from you, but if you don’t reward her or pay her, you will always feel indebted because you can’t put a price on some things.
  • Taking care of a running, jumping and ever exploring toddler can be strenuous for elderly relatives. They might lack the stamina to take care of your growing child and make a regular fuss about the child’s behavior.
  • If your relative cannot stimulate your child sufficiently, you might find crèches and nurseries to be a better option. When your child enters the pre-school years, he needs to play and socialize with kids of his age. Relative care will not be able to replace that kind of vigorous stimulation.

Basically, relative care is a situation that might work for some families but not for others. If you do decide to go for it, you must jot down some ground rules right from the start. This reduces chances of future conflict. Yet, there could still be a difference of opinions, but the only way out of it is to talk! Together, you’ll be able to make your child’s world a delightful, engaging place!

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