Pros and Cons Of Letting A Family Member Take Care Of Your Child

5 min read

Having a family member to take care of your child is the “original” child care, especially in India! In earlier times, when our parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents used to live in one big joint family, it went without saying that all children were cared for, whether their parents were near or not. Continue reading to know the Pros and Cons Of Letting A Family Member Take Care Of Your Child.

At best, we have one set of parents living with us. And what is more, most dads and moms are forced to return to office work a little while after the baby is born.

There are many options available to take care of your child, though – daycare, nanny, or getting a family member (e.g. a grandparent, an uncle, or aunt who lives in the house or nearby). We explore the last option in this write-up, especially in terms of its pros and cons.
letting a family member take care of your child

In This Article

The Advantages of Letting a Family Member Take Care of Your Child

Let’s talk about the upsides first:

1. They are Affordable

Considering the amount one needs to shell out for a good daycare, a relative caring for your child would mean that you save a lot of money per month. Some relatives may even refuse any payment if you offer, but on the whole, it is pretty likely that you will still save quite a wad of money on childcare.

2. Family Members are Trustworthy

Considering how difficult it is to find a nanny who can be trusted enough to leave your child alone with, relatives are God-sent in terms of trustworthiness. Trust factor seems to play a major role in childcare decisions.

3. They are Accountable

Your relative will always remain your relative. There is no “leaving one job for another”. And for this reason, they know that they are accountable for your child’s well-being.

4. Family Members Might Share your Views on Parenting

Most likely, if you were all raised in a similar fashion, your relative and you will have similar views on nutrition, screen-time, sleep routines, and discipline. This means that your child does not feel a disconnect when you take care of him/ her and when the relative takes care.

5. Family Members are Familiar

This one is a big plus for your child. If your relative is staying with you, the child is seeing them day in and day out, and their face and ways are familiar. Further, the babies remain in your home, another familiar place. This makes them feel secure and calm.

6. They Give Exclusive Attention

Unlike a daycare, a relative will give your child a lot of one-on-one attention. So there is no way that your child will be left crying for attention.

7. They are Reliable

They do not disappear from work without notice. Since it is a relative you will know what is happening in their lives and can plan for an alternative in advance if they are expected to be unavailable in the future.

8. Family Members Will Take Care of Your Child, Sick or Not

For starters, a child raised at home does not catch as many infections like the ones going to daycare. Secondly, most daycares discourage parents from sending their kids to the facility when sick. Your relative, on the contrary, would be happy to take of the child, even if the child is sick.

What are the Challenges of Letting a Family Member Take Care of Your Child?

Following are a few challenges of letting a family member take care of your child.

1. It is Difficult to Set Ground Rules

Unlike with a nanny, you cannot give your relative “strict” instructions on anything. Your relative might also find the discussion offensive as well.

2. They Might Have a Different Parenting Style

This is especially true if it is a parent or parent-in-law looking after the child. They come with a lot of knowledge and experience, many of which might be in contradiction to what the internet or doctors tell you.

While you can definitely set expectations, you might always end up worried if they are being followed in your absence. And you cannot exactly “question” the relative.

3. It Leads to Indebtedness and Obligation

Offering to take care of your child is a great help. And sometimes, it is an unpaid one. If your relative refuses to take payment for caring for your child, you may find it harder to say how you want your child to be cared for. So you will feel obligated to this relative, which can be tricky.

grandparent with baby

4. Family Members are Not Exactly Trained to Take Care of the Child

Sure, they know how to take care of your child well. But would they nurture them too? Most daycare professionals are trained to help in your child’s social, physical, and cognitive development.

They are engaged in a lot of activities like sports, arts and crafts, and songs. Your relative might not be able to provide these at home.

5. They Might Not Have the Stamina to Take Care

As the baby grows, starts walking, and then running, and then climbing stuff (!!!), remember that your relative might be older and might not have the stamina to run behind your child all day. Although not always, this lack of stamina can often lead to relatives engaging the kids in front of the TV more.

6. They Might Not be Able to Take Care of More Than One Child

Nannies or daycares are more than happy to welcome your second child for the extra money. On the other hand, the relative might be reluctant, mainly because of the time and effort needed to raise 2 kids.

7. The Child Might Miss Out on Socializing

One of the biggest boons of daycares is the interaction a child has with his peers. That might be lacking if the child stays home.

Now you know the Pros and Cons Of Letting A Family Member Take Care Of Your Child. Just like there are pros and cons of letting relatives take care of your child, there are pros and cons for both daycares and employing nannies.


1. How do I Set Boundaries When a Family Member is Taking Care of my Child?

Talk to the adult first. Make them understand your parenting style and rules. Then explain your need to them and make them understand what are your “nos” and why.

2. Will my Child Stop Loving me if I Let a Family Member Take Care of Them?

No, this is just insecurity. Ensure you spend enough quality time with your child. Also, keep talking to your child, so that they know why someone else is taking care of them.

3. When my MIL is Taking Care of my Child, Whose Parenting Style Should we Follow?

You need to find a common ground. It is your child and you can set certain rules. At the same time, you cannot ask your in-laws to change who they are.

4. What do I do if a Family Member Taking Care of my Child Goes Against my Parenting Style and Preferences?

This is very common. If this happens, you need to take a stand. Talk and sort out the differences like adults, without it affecting the child.

Also Read: Should I Choose A Maid Or A Creche?

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