Am I being really stupid for even asking this question? I will be going back to work when DD is almost a year old & have previously posted about choosing a nursery. Due to a change in circumstances I potentially now have the option of DSis looking after my DD when I return to work, instead of sending her to nursery. I will of course be paying either way (slightly less to DSis) so my question is - are there any advantages to attending nursery over being cared for my family? I'm thinking development wise, socially interacting with peers etc. How important is it that LO's do this before school age, is it important? Or is she Likely to benefit more from being around family (she has cousins of school age so will see them daily). DD will only just be 4 when she starts school (late summer baby).
I'm not sure about the legalities of paying for family care, if family member is not a registered childminder. There was a fuss about it a few years ago. I don't know the details as it had never been an issue for us.
Everyone I know who has used family care has fallen out with the family member at some point over how they treat the child, what they do, the hours/days they work. Also what will you do when your sister is ill or on holiday? If something else comes up? Or she has a baby ?
A nursery will provide a continuous service. I have had no issues with the nursery I've been using for 6 years.
But it is a personal decision based on whether you'd prefer your sister to look after your DC, than someone who will briefly be a stranger.
My DD is 13 months old and just started nursery. Given how little they are, I'd choose family (not that I have a choice!) until age of 2 years. After that nursery is fine & the benefits are definitely there. Until then it's more about care & cuddles which I think would be more with family.
Family care can be great as long as you are completely on the same page and it won't cause any resentment. I normally say use formal childcare with family for backup, but your DC is still young and if you are happy with how it will work with family, then go for it.
Make sure your sister knows if she changes her mind at any time, you are happy to use other care. That way she won't feel she has to carry on if it doesn't work out.
In your situation if you are paying more or less the same I'd find a good nursery and then you don't have to worry about causing family disagreements. Also nursery is reliable whereas you wil be over reliant on your sister. What about if she is ill or one if her dc is? What about holiday arrangements? Will the fall in cost be lost by the fact that you will presumably be stuck to school holidays only at the sane time as your sister? If is not much if a saving in childcare cost then you could actually be worse off having to take school time holidays.
Perhaps leave it open with your sis so when your daughter goes to nursery you could pay her for wrap round care and save without being too demanding in her time??