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Crèche or nanny for your child?

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If you are a working parent like me, then you will sure need the services of a caregiver for the period you are off to work. As much as you want to keep an eye on your toddler every minute of the day, when duty calls, what do you do? My 10 months old is in the hands of a minder as I write this piece, but then which is your preference?

According to Anu Akinola of Xtraokids Childcare Centre, making a decision between a home nanny and a daycare is a decision every parent must do carefully. Though having your young child at home could have its own good sides, like your child is less exposed to germs, but in Nigeria the pros definitely outweighs the cons. “Our definition of a home nanny is usually someone unprofessional who needs to make ends meets, who stays at home with our children and may also do our house chores. We do not have enough background information about them, they usually have limited education or exposure and they don’t have the skills to nurture children at the most vulnerable period of their lives, which is early childhood.

The early years, age 0-6 is the most important time of your child’s growth and life, research says 90 per cent of your child’s brain is developed at this time and it is at this period that a child should develop secure attachment with qualified caregivers (Primary and Secondary) as this is one of the most important factors in predicting a child’s social and emotional outcome later in life. The early years contain the critical and sensitive periods in development where a foundation for lifelong learning is laid. Spending this time in a quality environment is vital. Young children should be nurtured in a safe environment of consistent sensitive care and can only be provided by the parent or a caregiver who is trained to do so.

“The question every parent should ask themselves is, can the nanny nurture my child? Is my child safe at home? Keeping your child alone at home with a nanny may be doing more harm than good even when you have a CTCV, by the time you find out the deed has already been done unlike a quality daycare where you have two or more professionals working with your young children and negative activities are less likely to occur. Your child is your treasure; he/she deserves to be nurtured by trained professionals who know what a child needs, not by someone who lacks the exposure or experience.”

The environment (both physical and emotional) where a child is nurtured has a huge role to play in the upbringing. For Akinola, it is key in supporting the development and learning of young children. The physical environment of a daycare centre can have an impact on the emotional and intellectual wellbeing of children. A quality daycare will have an attractive ambience, age appropriate equipment/toys, and put safety in focus. The emotional environment includes the loving relationship the caregivers have with the children; verbal and non-verbal communication must be positive.

“The early years should provide an opportunity for acquiring various skills that will support your child later in life. It should be an opportunity for your child to form positive childhood memories. It shouldn’t be a race at making your child gain only academic milestones but skills to encourage independence, as well as social and emotional development. At an Early Years Center, your children should be exposed to early literacy and math skills through various play methods as well as create opportunity for your children to be creative, develop social intelligence as well as confidence.

“A quality childcare will also provide an opportunity for your children to explore through outdoor and indoor plays. A rich curriculum in Early Years will help develop young children to have a balanced and fulfilling adult life. It is most unlikely that your child will be exposed to these activities if your child is at home with a Nanny. A young child has only one opportunity at being a child and it should be filled with fun and rich memories,” Akinola said.


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