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Is Childcare Harmful for my Child?

2011 October 19
by nannyjob

Leaving baby
Most of us know what it’s like to be a first-time Mum going back to work after a period of maternity leave. We consider our childcare options: day nursery or nanny or childminder? Which is best for my child? Can I afford what I want? Will it be ok to leave my baby in the care of someone else?

You wonder (or worry!) how your child will get on with the new minder(s); whether you’re doing the right thing in going back to work and leaving your child with – as is the case most of the time – a complete stranger. And many of us will feel a certain amount of joy, a freedom, a sense of “getting back to normal”, a reclaiming of our identity, in getting back to work.

The naysayers
Then we hear so-called experts such as the psychologist and broadcaster Oliver James claim that mothers of toddlers should avoid working outside the home and leaving young children in the care of others for long periods. In his 2010 book “How Not to F*** Them Up” James wrote that mothers who go out to work and leave their toddlers in day care are to blame for their child’s bad behaviour. James’s views are controversial to say the least.

The best of both worlds?
Is it unnatural to leave your child with someone else while you go out to do a day’s work in order to pay the bills or to further your career or simply to do a job you enjoy? Of course, there are women (and some men) who prefer to stay at home to raise their children but they have to be able to afford to do so. Can working parents have the best of both worlds? Is it possible to go out to work and be confident that the childcare you have chosen is “good enough” for your child?

The data
Recent studies show that childcare is not in fact harmful for children, once it is consistent, i.e. children are not given to one person one day and left with another on another day in a haphazard way, and once it is of a high standard. In other words if you can’t be the one to look after your child you want “second best” to be the very best. This is where careful consideration of your childcare options comes in. One of our previous blog articles, “Choosing Childcare That’s Right for You” is worth a read for more information on making this decision.

The reality
Nowadays most women have no choice but to work and their attitude is usually “I am doing my best”. Working motherhood is a reality so it’s crucial that you find childcare that’s right for you. Rather than assuming you won’t be able to afford a nanny, take a look at the NannyJob website. If you have more than one child, you may find that sending them to a childminder or a nursery can often work out nearly or as expensive. The advantage with a nanny too is that your children will be cared for in their own home by just one person. Alternatively, if you have just one child and wish to reduce your childcare costs, a nannyshare might be worth looking into. Visit our parents section at to begin your search.

One Response Post a comment
  1. November 3, 2011

    Having trained as a nanny for two years (NNEB) worked as a nanny and then having my son i found it hard as every mother does to leave my child. However the information given above is absolutely correct. I choose a nanny but then thats not surprising being one myself- and to be honest running an agency. However when he got to 3.5 yrs a nursery school was best as he needed others around him so we can change options when needs must. Being with a nanny gave him another outlook on life and confidence.

    Children need consistant care in a loving and professional setting whether at home or within a nursery. When our children are very young it is essential that the person who cares for them is trained and has all the paperwork to back up their personal history. Always make sure anyone you take on is checked out and you see a reasonable amount of candidates to make a valid choice.

    Research all options as well as cost, the convenience, and your childs needs. Some children are better at home as being out of their environment is unsettling and you may need to choose this option for a short while until they become a preschool age. All the best to all parents making this choice

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