Choosing The Right Childcare: Tips From The Experts
Hello everyone! I am the founder of Peaceful Learning, an alternative nanny agency that focuses on finding nannies for families who are looking for the best childcare for their children. We understand that it’s a huge undertaking to find someone who will nurture and care for your precious children. It can be especially difficult to know where to start when you’re seeking someone who offers an approach to childcare that is in line with your parenting. To help you with your search, we want to share some of our tips for finding the right pair of hands who fit perfectly for you and your family.
We believe that whoever is caring for your little one whether it be a childminder, daycare or nanny, should be holistic in their approach to childcare. What does this mean? They are individuals dedicated to nurturing all aspects of a child’s development including physical and mental wellbeing, as well as the emotional, social and spiritual dimensions. This is achieved through building secure and responsive relationships with children and enabling them to be active participants in their learning, by supporting child-led play where they can follow their own interests and curiosities. Research has shown that by fostering holistic development in this way, especially social and emotional wellbeing, children are able to develop resilience, a strong sense of self-worth and a view of themselves as capable, competent and curious learners.
To find someone who supports this holistic approach it is key to identify whether they have an interest, and ideally any training, in pedagogical models that advocate for the development of the whole child. These include the educational approaches of Maria Montessori, Waldorf Steiner, Reggio Emilia, Dr Emmi Pikler® and Magda Gerber (RIE®). There are many different approaches to parenting and there is no right or wrong way, just one that works for you.
Choosing the right childcare: Take your time
When you begin your search, it’s important to give yourself time to find the right fit for your family and make sure the person is truly passionate about implementing the same approach as you in daily practice. It’s wise to meet them in person and then discuss a trial period before committing longer term. This way you have the opportunity to ensure that your parenting philosophy aligns with their approach to childcare.
Choosing the right childcare: Ask questions
Before meeting them, do some research about the philosophy you are interested in so you can ask questions to determine how they fit with this approach. For example you could ask what the environment would look like? How they would react in a situation where a child was pushing a boundary? What meal times would look like? What they think about using the word naughty to describe a child? Another powerful tool is to observe how they interact with your child. Do they come across as respectful and authentic in their communication? Do they kneel down to the child’s level and acknowledge them as soon as they arrive? Do they follow the child’s lead in play rather than push their own agenda?
Choosing the right childcare: Trust your gut
If, after the meeting or trial period you don’t feel sure, it is important to ask yourself why. Are you anxious about letting go or is there something that just doesn’t feel right about the fit? When recruiting nannies at Peaceful Learning we’ve found that our biggest asset is our instinct, because it tells us so much about a situation that we may not be aware of consciously. There are many amazing nannies, childminders and daycare centres out there so we recommend you trust your heart and if it doesn’t feel right, move on!
Choosing the right childcare: Do you homework
If it does feel right, make sure your nanny or childminder has a background or police check, a Paediatric First Aid to keep your little one safe and check in with some of their past employers to make sure there are no surprises.