Free childcare. Good news for working parents?

ID-100188903This article from the Family and Childcare Trust highlights emerging problems that arise from the double-edged sword that is “free childcare”: a development about which  nannytraininglink has been concerned about for some time.

The trend toward part-time working has seen many nannies struggling to cope with the consequent reduction in salary compared with the traditional working pattern of 50-60 hours per week for a full time nanny. During its many years providing help to families and nannies, Nanny Link Ltd has found that childcare work has shifted to mostly before and after school care. Where part-time vacancies are offered, they are generally at anything between 1 and 3 full days a week since parents are now making the most of the flexibility that employers offer mothers returning from maternity leave. Many parents also take advantage of the free nursery places now on offer and this has additionally contributed to the decline in opportunities for full-time nannies as well as a drop in the hours for those working part-time.

Parents need to carefully assess their requirements and options for childcare before making a final decision on which way to proceed. With many qualified and experienced nannies unwilling to reduce their hours and remuneration, the demand for part-time work is largely met by unqualified and inexperienced nannies. As a consequence there is a growing and clear need for parents to balance the quality of care with the cost of securing it; for whilst reputable, qualified nannies don’t come cheap, they are undoubtedly a worthy investment in a child’s future.

Irrespective of the hours worked, the work of a childcarer carries a great responsibility i.e. to ensure that a child is allowed to develop in an environment conducive to curiosity, adventure and its social and educational needs. Nannytraininglink offers training specifically aimed at teaching nannies to develop the planning, social and communication skills necessary to provide such environments allowing them not only to properly fulfill the role but -more importantly- to contribute positively to the future well-being of the children in their care.

Margaret Cowell