8 Most Common Types of Child Care

With the many different types of child care, how do parents know which ones are the best fit for their families? The type of child care you need is dependent on so many factors, including your individual child, budget, availability and more.

Different types of child care

Here's a look at 8 of the most common types of child care. 

Children at daycare

1. Traditional daycare center

Most daycare centers provide child care during standard work hours. Many provide half day or full day care for children and sometimes provide meals, as well as field trips. Daycare centers often charge families monthly as opposed to hourly, and they provide a structured routine with large groups of kids. Daycare centers are businesses typically located in stand-alone buildings but sometimes located in religious institutions, schools, or community centers.

2. In-home daycare

Licensed in-home daycare centers often provide child care in a home setting with fewer children than in traditional daycare centers. Costs may be less for in-home daycares, as well. Licensed in-home daycare centers are typically required to provide age-appropriate activities, meet safety standards, and provide caretakers with child care training. 

3. Nanny

Nannies provide individual in-home care for families. They often commit to full-time hours and are employees of the family they work with. Typically, nannies charge per hour, with an agreed upon schedule of hours determined in advance. Nannies allow for flexible and individualized care, but sometimes cost more than other child care options. 

4. Shared nanny

A shared nanny is similar to a traditional nanny, but, instead of providing child care services to one family, a shared nanny will provide child care services to two families at one time. To alleviate costs, families can choose to hire one nanny to care for all of their children at the same time. This is often done in one of the families’ homes and provides children with social interaction as well as lower costs than a dedicated nanny.

5. Au pair

Au pairs are foreign caregivers who live with the families for whom they provide child care. Parents provide au pairs with room and board as well as a stipend, and, in return, au pairs provide families with child care. Au pairs allow families to have the flexibility of live-in child care, as well as provide children with consistent caretakers who often become like members of the families they serve.

6. Babysitter

A babysitter provides hourly care for children. They often are part-time caregivers and provide care on an as needed basis.

7. Relative care

Relatives or friends sometimes take on the child care responsibilities while parents work. Children can benefit when they receive regular care from known and trusted people, and relatives and friends typically are able to provide flexible care. Payment varies depending on situations and relationships.

8. Preschool

Children who are 2-5 years old may attend preschool. Preschools are similar to daycare centers and provide age-appropriate learning environments for children. They typically charge monthly, and they allow for kids to spend time with other preschoolers and learn in semi-structured environments. Many preschools offer full-day care on weekdays.


Parents have many choices when it comes to types of child care. Cost, location, and flexibility tend to be the biggest factors for parents when deciding which child care options are best for their families.

You can discover your child care options on Winnie.

Posted in Daycare ∙ Updated October 2019

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