After 26 years in the childcare business and raising two successful children, I know busy parents need reliable and accessible childcare. In my opinion, the best option, especially for a child under three, is a nanny in-home care. I have four granddaughters, two of which had nannies and the other two were in daycare. They are all happy and well adjusted.
However, a nanny certainly makes a parent’s life easier. Instead of your getting your child up early in the morning to conform to an adult-centered world, the nanny can arrive and greet your child upon his waking, beginning a day that is centered on his needs. The nanny plans outings and play dates. The nanny teaches and nurtures. The nanny may help with laundry, cooking and light housekeeping. Nannies are truly household partners, and the really great thing is that your child has another person in his or her life to love.
Choosing a daycare or a nanny is a very important decision. There are several ways of finding a nanny: the internet, personal advertising, or a nanny placement agency. Least expensive is the internet. However, given all the horror stories we all hear about meeting someone on the internet, this would not be my choice. This is not to say that parents and nannies don’t get lucky and find the perfect fit. Choosing a daycare can be very time consuming. (For referrals to child care centers, try Child Care Resources.) You want to visit several of them and ascertain each one’s philosophy on raising children and whether or not it fits with yours. When you find a daycare you think is a good fit, make a surprise visit. This helps you know how the staff is interacting with the children in their care. Another option for finding a good daycare is to ask trusted friends and associates. These days a good daycare is expensive and sometimes difficult to get your child into. There can be a long waiting list.
Advertising for a nanny has its own drawbacks because of the number of people you have to screen by phone, before finding one you’d like to meet in person. I have heard many people say that for every thirty respondents to an ad, only three of them even sound like decent candidates. Out of those three, two are likely to be no-shows at the first interview and the one who does show is highly-likely to be unqualified in some way. Using a nanny placement agency to find the right nanny is the easiest and less time consuming but also the most expensive.
However you choose a caregiver, be sure that the daycare or the nanny is right for your child. It is so important that it is a good fit. Your child may be spending more time in daycare or with the nanny than with you. He should be excited to go to daycare or spend time with his nanny. I believe that a good caregiver is “born, not made” and truly loves children. When you find that special person, your child’s life will be blessed.