We are spoilt with the childcare options we have in South Africa! I have had an amazing ‘other-mother’ looking after my three children with me. I have also however heard of horror stories of toddlers being left alone for the day or even of a psychotic nanny locking a baby in her cot all day. So it is with caution that I do advocate having a nanny for your child.
I believe that approached correctly this can be a wonderful tool and amazing relationship:
- Interview your nanny very carefully! Have a list of questions properly planned and do a thorough reference check before employing anyone.
- Train your nanny adequately. Put her through a first aid and CPR course if she is going to be home alone with your little one.
- Share your baby’s routines carefully with your nanny – she should follow your baby’s rythms and your routines otherwise weekends will be a nightmare for you.
- Socialisation opportunities are important to both your baby and her nanny. Try to set up a playdate at the park or nearby where your baby and her nanny can socialise with other nanny-baby couples. Nanny n Me groups are a wonderful opportunity for nannies and children to interact.
- Ask your nanny to keep a diary or log for at least a few weeks so that you get a good sense of what goes on while you are away – how many nappies, how much outdoor playtime and when your baby sleeps. This will help you to problem solve if night sleep goes haywire or your little one is fractious when you get home.
- Separation can be hard for you and your baby. When her nanny arrives for work, be very positive and happy to see her. Your little one will be happier with her nanny, if she sees a positive response from you. When you leave her with her nanny, always say goodbye and of course greet her cheerfully when you return – this limits separation anxiety.
- Do not underestimate termination of employment – your baby loves this person and when she leaves, your baby will be affected. Make sure you deal with this carefully – prepare your baby or toddler and explain with empathy that nanny is leaving, no matter how bitter you may be feeling.