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Home-based Vs. Center-based Daycare: Which is More Suitable for my Child?

You may be asking yourself; home-based vs. center-based daycare, which is more suitable for my child? Are you facing such dilemma of finding a suitable daycare to enroll your child? Don’t worry; you aren’t alone because most parents experience it from time to time.
Imagine a scenario where you are driving through your neighborhood on your way to work. There is a house across the street where a lady who lives there is paid by parents to watch their kids. Meanwhile, you also drove past a large building with troops of happy children playing in a wonderful playground. Both are daycares – however, they are completely different. While the former is known for its familiar home-like environment, the latter is very organized and has all the requirements a child needs to enrich themselves.

Thus, which is more suitable for your child? The answer…. It depends on you and what you want for your child. This is because both daycares have pros and cons that we’ll discuss in this blog post.
Before delving fully into how you can choose a suitable daycare for your child, let us answer some of the frequently asked questions surrounding daycares.

Is it Mandatory for Home-based Daycare to be Licensed?

It isn’t always mandatory; however, in most cases ‘Yes’. This is because state licensing rules vary.
Generally, home-based daycares caring for multiple children have to be licensed as center-based daycares. However, some states allow home-based daycares to work without a license if they only care for a small number of children.
Therefore, before choosing a daycare, you need to follow up and find out if their license is in good standing. We would recommend you look for another center if you find a daycare that isn’t licensed due to state exemption regulations.

Are Home-based Daycare Providers More Qualified Than Center-based Daycare Providers?

The simple answer is ‘No’.
It’s highly important to perform the same credential and certification screening for both home and center-based daycare providers. However, staff members of center-based daycares are more likely to have the proper credentials, unlike home-based daycare providers. For example, directors of center-based daycares possess certain credentials that the main care provider at a daycare won’t have. This is because home daycare providers don’t feel obligated to have these credentials.

What is the Difference Between Center-based and Home-based Daycare?

Home-based Vs. Center-based Daycare: Which is More Suitable for my child?
The key difference between both daycares is primarily in their location

The most obvious difference between both daycares is primarily in the location. As the name implies, home-based daycares are run in residential spaces; center-based daycares, on the other hand, are operated in commercial care spaces like a strip mall suite, school, or office.

There are also other differences that you might find relevant when it comes to choosing a suitable daycare for your child. The most significant one is staffing. Center-based daycares tend to have a large staff due to their high capacity. However, the same cannot be said for home-based daycares. This is because they tend to have a small staff that may be just the business owner, due to their small capacity.

What does this mean practically? A center-based daycare isn’t susceptible to absenteeism. This is because the director could easily call in another staff member to fill in for absent staff. On the other hand, home-based daycares are much more susceptible to absenteeism, and they’re more likely to close when staff is sick. However, to make up for this closure risk, home-based daycares might be more flexible with their operating hours.

What is Home-based Daycare?

Home-based daycares are childcare services that are operated out of a private home. Basically, the owner performs multiple roles such as director, cleanup crew, educator, and more. However, some home-based daycare employs other staff as well. Additionally, they may provide basic care or adopt a childcare curriculum for educational purposes.


  • Lower costs: Home-based daycare centers are normally cheaper than center-based daycares. According to a study from the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), Americans in most states spend more on center-based daycares than on home-based daycares.
  • Home-like environment: Home-based daycare offer a more familiar home-like environment to your kids. Consequently, this can help shy or timid children come out of their shells faster.
  • Flexibility: Home-based daycare is more flexible with their operating hours. As a result, they may be able to accommodate a trickier schedule for parents who work unusual hours.


  • No backup plan: If there is an emergency such as illness or vacation, there may be no backup staff. As a result, you might lose childcare for that day or week. This could be catastrophic for parents who work long hours and can’t stay home with their kids.
  • Mixed age: In a home daycare, there are likely not enough spaces to keep newborns separate from toddlers. As a result, this could leave your child with few options for playmates close in age.

What is Center-based Daycare?

Home-based Vs. Center-based Daycare: Which is More Suitable for my child?
Children who go to childcare centers adapt easily to school-like environment

Center-based daycares are usually located in commercial buildings, and they usually have more employees than home-based daycares. Also, most center-based daycares adopt a standardized form of curriculum.


  • More staff: Having a larger staff simply means the whole operation won’t shut down if there is a staff emergency. Also, center-based daycare staff is more likely to include a specialist in CPR, nutrition, child education, among several others.
  • More resources: They have more resources to provide enrichment activities such as gymnastics, sports, music, field trips, etc.
  • School-like environment: Center-based daycare provide a school-like environment for children. As a result, children who go to these childcare centers are better prepared to enter school, having adapted to school-like facilities and rules.
  • More peer interaction: In a center-based daycare, your child has more playmates to interact with, including children of their age group.
  • Organization: Center-based daycare run a tighter ship since they run a large operation. In basic terms, there are clear rules and schedules for activities such as naptime, snack time, and playtime. This will help your child to learn to be organized themselves.


  • Strict schedule: Center-based daycares are more strict when it comes to opening and closing hours. As a result, parents may look for alternative daycares that are willing to accommodate unusual hours or overtime. Also, some centers may even charge fines for picking your kids late.
  • Higher costs: Typically, center-based daycares are more expensive than home-based daycares. The basic reason for this is that the owners need to rent space, pay salaries, and also buy insurance for employees and children. As a result, you end up paying more for their services.

What Are The Other Childcare Options?

Other great alternatives to consider for daycare are nannies, au pairs, and babysitters.
We are going to explain the roles they play in childcare so that you can fathom if they are great options for your kids.
Without further ado, let’s get started!


Some parents aren’t comfortable with daycare. This is partly because they want their child to be trained at home. Oftentimes, the reason is that they want their child to have personalized attention. Hence, if you have the budget and you’re in this category, a nanny would be a great option. This way, you know your child will enjoy the comfort of your home, be with someone you know and trust, and is under the surveillance of your indoor video cameras.

Au Pair

Have you ever heard of a nanny that came from a foreign country? These nannies are known as au pairs. Most times, they live with the host family and they are generally less expensive than other kinds of nannies.

Therefore, if you’re comfortable welcoming a caretaker into your home, getting an au pair would be a great option. This will provide the opportunity for your kids to form a bond with someone other than their parents. Also, knowing someone you trust is with your kids when you’re not around is bound to give you peace of mind.


Home-based Vs. Center-based Daycare: Which is More Suitable for my child?
Babysitters are hired by the hour to care for your child

This is an individual parents hire by the hour to care for their children. They may watch the child at your home or their home. Also, their working plan differs because it may be during the day or night.
Basically, babysitting is usually a part-time job that an individual holds in addition to other activities such as work or school.

Tips for Choosing the Right Daycare

Knowing what type of childcare best suits your needs is essential. This is because it makes it easier for you to find the perfect childcare.
Highlighted below are some tips to consider when choosing the right daycare for your child:

Know the type of childcare service that best suit your needs

As a parent, there are several types of childcare services to choose from. However, before you begin your search, you must decide on the type of care that is suitable for your family’s needs.

Find out the type of education and philosophy the daycare teaches

Most childcare does not just take care of your child. They also offer quality early learning programs and education. This is usually common in center-based daycares because they incorporate different educational philosophies that would help develop the social and emotional skills of your child. Therefore, you need to consider what is right for your child; and more specifically, find out if the daycare philosophy aligns with your parenting beliefs.

Consider the location

As a parent, having a busy and demanding work schedule simply means that you must consider the childcare location.

Will you be able to pick your child early? How does this affect your daily routine? Should the location be close to home or work? These are some of the important points to consider.

Licensing and registration

When contemplating the type of childcare (between home or center-based daycare) to enroll your child, we strongly recommend you look for a licensed and registered childcare service.

Consider the size

Whichever daycare you choose, make sure it can handle the number of children under its care. Home-based daycare and center-based daycare differ when it comes to size. Thus, the decision lies with you. Do you want a small center that offers your child that homely feeling? Or you want your child to experience a school-like environment with some amazing facilities, educators, systems, and procedures?

Consider the staff ratio

When choosing a daycare, you need to make sure the number of staff that will care for your child is satisfactory to you. You also need to familiarize yourself with the staff that will look after your little one.

Some of the things to think about when it comes to staff include;

  • How consistent is the staffing roster?
  • What is the staffs’ level of qualification?
  • Is there a backup plan should a staff get sick and is unable to work?


At the end of the day, home-based daycare and center-based daycare can both offer poor and high-quality child care. Thus, it is important to select quality childcare that would be crucial to your child’s future.
Furthermore, irrespective of your childcare preference, you need to look for a daycare that offers a high-quality program, has trained and experienced caregivers, low teacher-to-child ratios, and also offers an appropriate curriculum.

Thinking of enrolling your child in childcare services? Perfect Angels Learning Center has got you covered. We make it our goal to help your child succeed by understanding how your child learns and grows. Enquire now to schedule a tour of our facility or contact us at or +1 301-877-0110.