Every year, more parents are joining the workforce. Already, more than half of all children under the age of 6 live with two working parents or a single working parent. All of these parents have one thing in common: The problem of how to care for their children while they go off to work. Choosing child care that's right for your child is very important and can be very difficult:
  • You have to understand and explain the kind of help you need.
  • You have to examine your own values and beliefs about bringing up children.
  • And you must be confident that the caregiver you choose has values you respect and will give your child individual, caring attention.
New findings from brain research indicate that brain development in young children is directly stimulated by relationships. Children benefit from the opportunity to know adults of different ages, sexes, and cultures. Whether they're in homes or centers, your beloved children need warm, caring, responsive, knowledgeable adults to make them feel safe and open to learning.

WHO IS THE IDEAL NANNY?
The ideal nanny is trained in basic child development or early childhood education, as well as basic health and safety skills, generally does a better job with child care. The best training for an early childhood caregiver is coursework, combined with practical, supervised work directly with children. Previous experience with children is also important, of course, and the background and personality of the caregiver will affect the quality of your child's care.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN

Consider. . .
The keys for selecting a qualified nanny are to allow yourself enough time for the selection process, to define what you want and expect, and to define your child's needs. To do this you can ask various questions and consider these criteria:

Age: Would you be more comfortable with an older mature nanny? Or would you prefer a younger nanny, perhaps a student?

Education: Is it important for you to have a nanny who is formally trained in child development or in early childhood education? Is a college degree an important qualification?

Experience: Is previous experience in child care an important issue for you? What do you consider appropriate experience? Is raising a family adequately, or would you desire experience in a more formal setting such as a classroom or child care center?

Personal Traits: Visualize your ideal nanny. Is s/he quiet and calm, outgoing, and peppy, creative, and neat? Is a sense of humor important to you? Do you have pets with which the nanny will be in contact? How do you feel about smoking? What about religion? Do you require someone with a similar cultural background? What personal qualities do you want you, nanny, to have?

Other Important Factors: What can you afford to pay a nanny? How long a time commitment do you expect your nanny to make? These questions will get you started in defining the kind of nanny care you want for your children. After defining what you need and expect, the next decision to make is whether or not to select a nanny on your own or to pay a professional placement service to find a nanny.