Mother’s guilt plagues most working moms. The reality for most, is that a dual income is needed to afford modern day necessities, which leads moms with little option but to head back off to work.
Occupational therapist and founder of Nanny ‘n Me, and co-founder of Play Sense, Lara Schoenfeld weighs in on the choice between sending your child to crèche or hiring a nanny.
“In the wild a young bear is born helpless, hairless and blind and stays with its mother for 2,5 years” comments Schoenfeld. “This is quite similar to what psychologists call the’ attachment’ period of our babies. 0-2 years is when our babies either learn trust or mistrust” she comments.
“Consistently having their needs met one-on-one in a loving environment lets your baby know that ‘I am safe, I am loved’ and is the cornerstone to health, wellbeing and development” advises Schoenfeld. “The good news is that children can safely attach to more than one consistent caregiver” she continues.
“Many a mom has said that they spend double their crèche fees per month: once for the crèche and once to the doctor. This is due to what paediatricians term Crèche Syndrome” Schoenfeld comments.
“A baby could be sick every three weeks when exposed to a group environment. Whilst some exposure to germs is good and can actually build the immune system, repeated infections can lead to secondary infections and cause failure to thrive” she warns. “Your annual leave is also affected this way with doctor visits and ill babies needing to stay at home” Schoenfeld points out.
What about socialisation?
“Early attachment to an adult figure forms the basis of successful social emotional development for life” Schoenfeld advises. “If I know I am safe and loved I naturally start to venture beyond my safe place and want to play with others” she comments.
Babies play alongside each other (known as parallel play) until the age of 2 years. They then begin to like playing amongst other children but still need a tuned in caregiver to learn to socailise.
“We have to be shown how to share and manage our emotions at such a young age. Relating to others is also dependent on language skills which are really starting to explode in the year between 2 and 3” Schoenfeld comments.
“Some research may be suggesting that sending your child too early to crèche affects their ability to focus due to the high levels of stimulation” Schoenfeld points out.
“I urge moms to try keep children at home with a skilled primary caregiver until age 2 or 3, and then consider a play group thereafter” Schoenfeld advises.
“Certified nanny training courses are available across South Africa, and is a good investment for moms hiring help”.
Hear Lara Schoenfeld speak as part of the #MeetUp series taking place at The Baby Show. The Show is making its debut, September 28 to 30, at Kyalami
International Convention Centre.