Statistics show that 50 percent of U.S. children are in some form of childcare by the time they are 9 months old and yet many parents are so desperate for help that they often leave their children with caregivers who may be doing developmental damage.
Conversely, a good caregiver can greatly contribute to a child’s neurological growth. This often overlooked “third parent” might be a relative, a neighbor, a nanny, or a sometime babysitter, according to parenting expert Tammy Gold.
Utilizing her psychology background working with families and nannies, Gold, author of Secrets of the Nanny Whisperer, offers these tips to help you select the best caregiver for their family:
1.Wrong Responsibility Type: Typically parents want nannies in three general responsibility categories what I have called 3 Nanny Responsibility Types:
- Parental Unit Nanny: A proactive and independent caregiver who can fully function physically and emotionally as a parent would. Best for: parents who work full time or part-time, and in cases of divorce, single-parent or parents with a chronic illness families where an extra caregiver is needed.
- Partner Nanny: A collaborative and adaptable caregiver who splits the house and childcare with the parents. Best for: Part-time working parents, at-home parents, or working parents with older children.
- Executor Nanny: A reactive and dependent caregiver who follows the directions the parents assign to her. Best for: at-home parents, part-time working parents with older children.
2. Wrong Child Development Match: The developmental needs of children change rapidly. So perhaps your nanny was great just holding and rocking your infant all day but not cannot keep up with the demands of a toddler. Or the nanny was great with a toddler, but does not know how to encourage independence and free play learning of a preschooler. The nanny needs to have experience or be able to handle the developmental needs of your child.
3. Live In/Live Out Match: If you are finding you have a hard time keeping coverage, it may be due to the type of living situation. Sometimes parents who work long, irregular hours and need round-the-clock care think they can manage with a live-out but end up spending so much money and time finding extra coverage for the hours the nanny goes home at the end of the day. Or conversely, a family hires a live-in nanny and realizes they are not comfortable with a person in their home 5 or 7 days week.
4. Urban/Suburban Match: Many parents make the mistake of taking their nanny with them from the city to the burbs or from rural location into a city. However, certain nannies thrive in certain areas. Your city nanny may do well when she can be mobile and autonomous taking your child to various parks and play dates in the city, yet when she comes to the suburbs she may not know how to keep a child busy and stimulated when they are both stuck at home all day. I call these nannies “Suburbound nannies” because they may be literally tethered to the house all day every day for 5 or 7 days and that not only can damper their ability to developmentally stimulate your child but it may also make them sad or even depressed because the change of scenery is too great. Alternatively, you may have a nanny who thrives in the quiet calm of the suburbs and now in the city cannot handle taking the children on public transport or handle running in and out of various busy streets in the urban setting.