Happy National Nanny Recognition Week. It is a week of celebrating in the nanny community. Last year I wrote a blog post about what NNRW means to me. I love celebrating nanny care. It has been a great career for me and the community of nannies means quite a great deal to me.
But NNRW is also a great opportunity for us and I am not sure we are doing enough to capitalize on it. The nanny industry as a whole has changed immensely in the past few years. Big sites like Care.com have increased not only our visibility but also have made having a nanny something that even more families desire. There are more and more nannies across the U.S., and not just in the big East and West coast cities where they have been for decades. It is not uncommon to find families looking for nannies in cities like St. Louis, Cincinnati and Dallas. It is not only for the ultra wealthy families anymore either. Certainly, having a nanny is more expensive than other forms of child care, but more and more upper middle class families see the benefit and decide to make the sacrifice necessary.
Which brings me to my point. This week- National Nanny Recognition Week- should be about showcasing NANNY care. And in my opinion- there are many many benefits we do not share enough about nanny care. Here are just a few.
There is loads of research about secure attachments in young children. Attachment theory states that children who have a trusted bond with their caregiver who is responsive to their needs will develop a more secure sense of self. There is further evidence that secure attachments in the early years also impacts behaviors such as risk-taking, relationship building skills and even cognitive outcomes. Nanny care, at its best, will provide the environment where secure attachments flourish. Nannies love their kids and are responsive to their needs in a way that is not always possible in a center where the ratio of infants to caregivers can be as high as 5 to 1.
2. Individualized care
Nanny care is the most individualized kind of child care. You want your child to use cloth diapers or be fed a vegetarian diet? Nannies can provide this. If a parent dreams of a fun filled, pressure free, play based environment, nannies can provide this. Maybe you are dreaming of an outdoor education curriculum for your 4 year old, again a nanny can do this.
3. Support of the WHOLE family
Nannies are there to work with parents and support them. Most parents do not appreciate being told how to parent, however, it is nice for parents to have another, less emotional, more experienced and educated opinion when it comes to making tough choices in parenting. And let's not forget the day to day support of having someone who will do a load of laundry, start dinner or run an errand for you. Parents who have nannies can come home at the end of the day instead of rushing to a center to pick up kids. Nannies take on tasks like changing over seasonal clothes and organizing playrooms leaving working parents more time to actually have fun with their kids.
4. The Village Effect
"It takes a village to raise a child" is an African proverb made famous by Hillary Clinton's book. But the proverb holds true. Children benefit from having people in their life who will advocate for them, educate them, challenge them, provide boundaries for them and most of all love them. In days past, we had large extended families or even close knit neighborhoods. Nannies become a part of that child's family. They love them and care for them in a way that is hard to describe but easy to see in action. Nannies provide another perspective. They often stay in touch long after their period of care ends and can impact a child's life in ways that we are not always able to see. A mom once explained it to me this way.
I am always so uptight trying to get everything right on the weekends. We planned a trip to the museum and got there promptly at 9 am to find that the museum didn't open until 10. I started to freak out inside my head, not knowing what to say to my daughter. What would we do? What a disaster!
This week while we celebrate each other we need to celebrate nanny care as a whole. We need to loudly proclaim that nanny care is amazing and a great choice for families. We need to proudly recognize the benefits of having a nanny in your life.
These are just a few of my favorite benefits to nanny care. What are yours?