Looking for a new nanny? Here are 5 things to look for in a childminder

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Finding someone who cares as much about your child's mental stimulation as they do about keeping them safe is important.
Finding someone who cares as much about your child's mental stimulation as they do about keeping them safe is important.
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You go back to work after the holidays and realise after a few weeks that your toddler knows the lead characters and storyline of a reality show or soapie inside-out.

Where are they picking this up from? Then you realise your nanny puts the tot in front of the TV from 8am till 4pm.

Going back to work and leaving your child at home with a new childminder can be scary. It's not just the child's mental development that worries parents looking for good childcare. Questions like "Will my child be safe?" and "Will they be happy?" also come to mind.

For working parents, these worries persist throughout most of our children’s childhood, and so we put a lot of energy and effort into trying to ensure the right fit between our children and the people who will take care of them.

Here are ways to make sure you're getting the best care for your little one, according to educational psychologist Anel Annandale.

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1) Are they the right fit?

The first important step to getting a good childminder for your child is finding the right fit between child and caregiver, says Anel.

“Try to keep in mind that the bonding process is interactive and dynamic, and both child and caregiver will learn to pickup on each other’s cues as they get to know each other,” she adds.

2) Is the minder attentive to your child and does she talk and communicate with the child often?

Does the minder maintain a good balance between providing for your child’s needs, and still encouraging independence at the same time?

Children need to be nurtured and supported, yet challenged at the same time.

3) Does the nanny understand what's child-appropriate and not?

This is when it comes to the kind of television content they allow your kid to have access to, for example.

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Does the minder have some knowledge of child development, so that they understand what is age-appropriate for your child and also what to expect as they grow?

4) Is the kid your childminder's main priority?

Some employers want a nanny who also cleans or prepares the evening meal each day. But if they are hired to mainly care for your child, that should be their main focus.

The more individual attention and interaction your child has with the childminder, the easier they’ll bond.

Will your child get enough one-on one time with their minder? This is more important than them cleaning your house or cooking your family meals while the kid sits in font of the TV all day. 

5) How does your childminder deal with stress and is she playful?

Is she able to manage her own stress effectively in order to respond to your child’s cues in a calm, soothing way? Can the minder keep up with your child’s energy levels? Will she get down on the floor and play with them if that’s what’s required? Does she encourage them to explore their environment?

Additional reporting: Vida Li Sik

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