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Choosing a Good Nanny Over Daycare – 2 Scenarios For Working Women to Consider
One of the best investments a working woman can make is in a good nanny. A good nanny is worth every penny in the quality of life she can provide you and your baby.
Above all, babies need love. Many people value socialization highly, but it has been my experience that socialization is overrated. Providing your child with consistent, loving care is far more important and will result in well-adjusted children and a work-life balance you can enjoy. The next two scenarios are real life scenarios. They are just two of many that I have witnessed.
Dustin has been in daycare since he was one year old because his parents felt it was important for him to be socialized. In daycare he learned to bite other children and that he had to throw huge tantrums to get the attention he wanted from his annoyed caregivers. Today Dustin is 4 years old and he is juggling preschool and daycare while his younger brother, Russ (1-1/2 years old), stays in daycare all day. Their father drops Dustin off at preschool most mornings and Dustin’s grandmother picks up both boys from daycare most evenings and transports Dustin from preschool to daycare at noon. Their mother drops Russ off at daycare in the mornings on her way to work.
They all spend a lot of time sitting in traffic. In the evening their mother makes the boys watch TV while she prepares dinner because they always fight unless constantly supervised. She doesn’t trust Dustin not to seriously hurt Russ and she feels like a referee. They have about an hour together eating dinner before she leaves them to watch more TV while she does laundry, cleans the house and makes lunches for the next day. Bedtime is usually a disaster because both boys hate going to bed because they have had almost no time with their parents. Their dad usually treats Dustin while mom puts Russ to bed.
Dustin is constantly in trouble at preschool. Recently, his parents were called by school officials who were concerned about his behavior, especially how he was purposefully bullying and hurting other children. They feel he is angry all the time and said he needs more “Mom” and “Dad” time, which means he doesn’t feel like he gets enough love and attention. Meanwhile, Dustin’s parents feel that their family life is completely out of control. They barely manage the logistics of having two children and could not manage without the constant help of Dustin’s grandmother to do some of the transportation from place to place. They are very disappointed with Dustin because of the way he picks on his little brother and refuses to do anything they ask of him. Even worse, Russ starts acting up too. Although their main priority was to socialize the boys, they rarely have play dates and they don’t like going out with the boys because they are so badly behaved.
Claire’s parents found a good nanny just before her mum had to go back to work when she was four months old. Her parent’s main requirement was to find someone who would focus on Claire; and her development and provide her with unconditional love. Claire’s mother hated the idea of her baby loving someone else, but since she couldn’t stop working, she wanted her baby to feel loved and safe above all else. Today their nanny takes care of both Claire (now four years old) and Mia (two). Claire’s parents always miss the morning drive because they simply tell their nanny the day before what time they need her the next day. In addition, if both parents are late at work, they simply call their nanny to let her know. During the day the girls play outside, learn about nature, ride tricycles, push their strollers around the neighborhood, draw, paint, make things with play dough and many other enriching activities. Claire and Mia are fed healthy food that their Nanny cooks at home or prepares for small picnics at the park. She takes them to swimming lessons, the discovery museum, and for play dates.
Because of the constant individual attention, both girls are very well behaved. Because their parents feel that the girls learn more with their current routine than they do in preschool, they decided to skip preschool. While the girls nap in the afternoon, their nanny cleans the house and does the laundry. She also defrosts and starts preparing food for dinner before leaving when mom or dad gets home. When their mother comes home she fixes dinner while Claire and Mia read and play in their playroom. The girls rarely argue because they are used to playing together and sharing. If they want more attention, then their mother sits them at the table in the kitchen with her, where they talk, color or read. After dinner, and since most of the chores are already done, they all play together for an hour before it’s time to get ready for bed. The girls enjoy their bedtime routine as they all get ready together. Since they share a room, their parents can usually hear the girls chatting together for a few minutes before drifting off to sleep. Claire and Mia’s parents love their family and the time they spend together. They feel both girls are well adjusted, well behaved and happy to take family outings. Both girls are comfortable playing with other children their own age, as well as younger children, older children and adults.
It has been my experience (raising three children who are close together in age) that my nanny is worth her weight in gold. I couldn’t manage both my career and my family without her. Besides, she loves my kids and I can count on her to throw herself in front of a bus to save them if something were to happen. We are a team, my husband, my nanny and I when it comes to raising our delightful children.
Not all nannies are created equal. You need to find one that you can trust and that will give your children lots of attention, strong guidance and lots of love. Keep looking until you find your perfect nanny. There are many online resources for finding babysitters, such as http://www.craigslist.org and http://www.sittercity.com. There are also local agencies, although they can be expensive. I have found that the best resource is word of mouth, often leading you to a retired school teacher or someone who becomes available because their current junior positions are grown and in school.
I have seen and interviewed many nannies for myself and for friends. Ask open-ended questions when you interview them so you can find out what their natural style is. I always ask them to tell me what a typical day is like with their charges. That way you can find someone whose natural style most closely matches your own. I recommend having at least one week of overlap with a new nanny so you can see her in action and make sure your wishes are clearly understood. I also recommend going in randomly for the first month or two to see if things are as they should be. Finally, if you have trust issues, get a nanny. My husband installed one hidden in a bookcase in our playroom as well as in the nursery. We stopped using it after a few months when we saw that our instructions were being followed. Some of the new nanny/surveillance cameras can be set up so that you can log in from any computer and see what’s going on in your home at any time during the day.
Copyright 2010 Julie Fagan
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