When there are so many options to look after your child, you could be forgiven for finding it difficult to choose the right one for your family.
There are childminders, nurseries, au pairs and nannies. When you’re both working, which one is right for your child?
A professional nanny gives you flexibility, peace-of-mind and confidence that, whatever happens, your children are in safe hands.
- Childminders do have to be registered, but don’t have to have any specific training. They will usually only take your child for a specified time and you’ll need to ensure you can collect them on the dot.
- Nurseries are inspected and licensed and most of their staff will usually study for a childcare NVQ while working. They will have fairly rigid opening and closing times.
- An au pair is usually a foreign national whose primary goal is to learn English and has no qualifications (and sometimes little experience). They will help around the house and look after the children, but should not be in sole charge or left alone with small children under two.
- A professional nanny has studied for two years and has the highest qualification, currently the CACHE diploma (Council for Awards in Childcare, Health and Education, formerly NNEB).
There are a few very good nannies who do not have any qualifications. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t employ them, but you should be looking for at least ten years’ experience as a nanny – and, of course, excellent references.
A good nanny has a genuine love of children and has chosen childcare as a profession. They will see each child as an individual and will ensure that your child has every opportunity to learn, grow and explore in a safe environment. Your nanny will have a sound knowledge of child development and will put daily routines in place to provide a framework for your child.
Ideally you should choose a nanny who will understand and respect your family’s cultural, ethnic and social standards. This will ensure your nanny fits into your family quickly and lets you pursue your careers knowing your children will be well cared for in a safe place.
Choosing childcare can be a challenge and, if you are looking for someone to be in sole charge of your child, who can take full responsibility for their welfare, a nanny is the perfect choice.