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Role of a Nanny in Early Childhood Development

The job of a nanny is a noble one and can be quite rewarding too. A nanny’s job description typically varies with their preferences and availability and the needs and requirements of their employers, i.e., the parents of the child. Other things that can vary are:

  • Number of children under their care,

  • Age of the child/ren,

  • Any child/ren with special needs,

  • Whether live-in nanny or live-out nanny,

  • Sole or shared charge of the child/ren, and

  • Need to drive, travel etc.

No matter the job description, a typical nanny looks after every aspect of the child’s wellbeing, from taking care of their daily needs to playing a role in their early development. However, the role of a ‘perfect nanny’ in the early development of the child is often overlooked.

There’s lots of research that indicates that a nanny’s role is fundamental, and complements that of the parents’, in helping a child’s language, cognitive, and social development.

  • Psychological development

The influence of nannies on a child's psychological and emotional development may be profound and if unrecognised can potentially contribute to psychological issues in adulthood. A nanny who communicates periodically with the parents, sharing important information concerning the child, can help identify and address potential psychological/behavioural concerns, thus giving the child the best chance of overcoming these. When dealing with difficult children, it is best if the nanny and parents can agree and implement the same strategy for dealing with difficult behaviour; research shows that consistency is very important in improving child behaviour.

  • Safety and hygiene

The ‘perfect nanny’ ensures the highest levels of safety and hygiene around them and the child under their care. This helps the child with a safe and secure environment to grow and develop in. A nanny can and should be, resolute in practising safety procedures and guide parents on these as well. E.g., being aware of stairs when caring for crawling children, or ensuring that the parents use plug socket covers for toddlers who are keen to touch/explore everything – these are things that a nanny can help with. The parents may not have the skills or maybe blindsided to the potential risks, compared to a professional, trained nanny caring for their child.

  • Educative and play skills

Activities in the home and further afield help children with social and communication skills. Taking a local walk outside can spark a number of ideas from counting cars to identifying different door colours,” says Helen McCarthy, the Principal Strategic Advisor at Tllid and a Professional Qualified British Nanny (N.N.E.B) with over 30 years experience as a Nanny, NCS and Childcare Consultant. Whilst a lot has changed in the nanny industry, the expectation that a nanny comes up with activities to engage the child, has not changed. A nanny can help the child develop and grow physically, as well as emotionally and socially, by coming up with unique and engaging activities and encouraging the child to participate. If the nanny can drive, they can even take the child to local activities that help the child get comfortable with social interactions and group activities.

  • Meal planning

According to Uncle Indie, the resident paediatrician and child psychology expert at Tllid, “there are some golden rules… for parents and nannies to work together in successfully managing this [eating] behaviour”. A good diet ensures that the child grows and develops, physically as well as mentally, esp. during growth spurts and leaps. Therefore, a nanny who understands the nutritional requirements of children at different age groups, and changes to their eating behaviour, can play a vital role in the early development of the child.

How does your nanny support the early development of your child/ren? Do you have any stories to share? Please leave your comments below.

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