Why should parents hire a nanny to care for their children? Of course, as a nanny I’m an advocate for this type of childcare. There are so many benefits that I’ve seen for parents who choose to use a well-suited nanny (be they experienced, and/or qualified, and/or just a really great fit for the role) to care for their children in the family home.
First and foremost, at least in my opinion, is individualised quality care for the children. Regardless of a child’s age, they need consistent caregivers to meet their needs. If parents are working or otherwise occupied, a nanny can step into the role of caregiver during the hours needed. For young children this will often be full day care. For school age children they will need care before and after school, and school holidays, but also availability for someone to collect them or stay with them if they need to miss school due to illness. As nannies we can allow children the freedom to be in their own home environment but also the flexibility to explore and engage with the wider world during outings to local playgrounds, libraries, activities, and attractions.
Nannies typically care for just the one family during each shift, so they are usually better able to focus on the needs of individual children compared to educators who have a large group of children to care for at one time. As nannies we can cater the day’s/week’s activities and routines to suit a child’s interests, developmental stage, and learning styles. We can focus on the children’s emotional needs, help them learn vital life skills, and create educational experiences through play. What about social needs? While nannies do not usually have many children in their care, we can organise playdates and attend classes and activities to encourage children to have social experiences. Once the child is older, I do believe they should begin attending part-time preschool/Kindergarten in preparation for school.
In addition to meeting the children’s direct needs, nannies help parents immensely by taking care of children’s other needs. Responsibilities such as children’s laundry, meal prep, and tidying/organisation of toys and clothing are all things that fall under standard nanny duties. Without a nanny parents may need to rush children home at the end of long daycare or after school care and make a meal, rush them through a bedtime routine when they are potentially overtired and overstimulated, then spend precious time in the evening or on weekends taking care of basic household chores. A nanny who is in (and out) of the home all day has time to take on tasks to keep on top of the children’s belongings. Many nannies in Australia are also willing to add in additional household tasks if they have time. Though most of us are not housekeepers or cleaners, I believe helping families with basic household maintenance adds a huge value because it allows parents to spend more time focused on their children and other interests when they are home from work.
The decision to employ a nanny is one that can provide benefit to the whole family. Not only by the nanny helping out with basic household duties but also by the security the nanny’s relationship with the family can provide. One of the things I love when working with families is when the parents tell me they trust me and know that their children are in great hands when they are with me. When parents know that their children are being cared for by a nanny they have chosen based on their family’s needs, a nanny they trust and know will care for their children in a way they are comfortable with, the parent can focus on the other responsibilities in their life for part of the day. This support can be helpful to many families and vital to some… and that is the value of nanny care.