Tuesday, 22 September

Last month, my wife, who was on maternity leave with a 1.3-year-old son Roman, was made an important offer. She was invited to work on favorable terms. In our time, it is said that these are those that one could not refuse. Certainly, pregnancy and childbirth gave our family the most happiness in life. And, of course, the child’s health, development and psychological comfort are, without any alternative, the priority number one. However, the job offer was really important for the professional growth of the wife. In addition, the comfort of the family depends directly on the material well-being of the family, in which Roman lives now and will be living in the future. It also coincided with the time when the son completely switched to independent nutrition and began to potty-train for the first time. What to do – to hire or not to hire a nanny? How much costs to have a nanny for a child, and how to choose her right?

The modern generation of parents very often prefers the western style of life. And we, in this regard, are no exception. Young mothers early interrupt maternity leave or do not take it at all not to risk a career. Parents, who led an active life before the kid in the family, try not to change it drastically. Sure, as far as possible and appropriate. After all, a child is not a “burden” but an incentive for the family. A child is the incentive to earn more, to have more interesting and active rest, to follow and support the child’s preferences and not to betray one’s hobbies. With the correct and rational time management, everything is possible to handle. Needless to say, after the birth of children, my brother and I agreed to visit dozens of cultural and artistic places in the capital, where we had never been before. Children “made” us discover magical day walks in the unrivaled “Feofaniya” park, get acquainted with the fountains of the Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy or the beauty of the National Botanical Garden named after Mykola Gryshko of the NAS of Ukraine or the Botanical Garden named after O.V. Fomin…

However, at the stage of hesitation and later, while searching for a nanny for the son, we realized that so many friends and acquaintances do not share our convictions. Even close acquaintances, who have children of the same or older age say that it is strictly forbidden to “tear” the baby away from the mother “so early”. We were called bad parents, they said that we put the child at risk… The last reason was about extra spending on a nanny. Long-lasting interaction between child and mother is, perhaps, the most important experience in the life of a baby. Undoubtedly, this fact is difficult to argue. One way or another, in every family with children, there are times when circumstances force us to resort to outside help and leave the baby for a while with other people. Therefore, what age can you leave a child with a stranger? How to find a good nanny, and how much a nanny takes for her services? Will young mothers benefit from the new initiative of the Ukrainian Government of partially compensating the services of hired caretakers for children?

Main Criteria

Family psychologist Oleksandr Pokryshkin in the material for the Village notes 4 key criteria that must be taken into account so that communication with the nanny was psychologically safe for a child. First of all – the level of attachment to a mother. It is clear that a mother is the closest person for a baby, and from the very first days of the birth the child needs a feeling that the mother is near – her touch, smell, voice… Over time, the psychologist notes, in the unshakable duet of mother and child other people naturally fit in – dad, grandparents… nannies. If the level of attachment is too high, it is better for mom to stay at home. Another criterion – breastfeeding – is an additional and very important condition that should be borne in mind when planning an attendance. One more criterion – the period of transition from a permanent stay with a child to a long break. It is not recommended to tear the mother away from the child at once – in one day. You should first leave the baby for several hours with the father (or other people already familiar to the baby). And the last aspect is the confidence in the nanny. First of all, the trust of parents. If we leave the child with a stranger, it is important to feel confident that it is safe. But not less important is the child’s reaction to the nanny. If the child did not immediately perceive the contact – it is better to find another nanny.

If you adhere to all the criteria, psychologist Pokryshkin does not see any problems in taking moms so early from kids. However, this opinion is not shared by all experts. “Up to 2 years – the minimum, mom should stay with the child. These years and this connection will not be returned in the future if they were lost or were not,” – commented for Opinion Valentyna Lebedieva, candidate of economic sciences, professor of the National Metallurgical Academy of Ukraine.”It is known that in the works of Oleksandr Pushkin, not a word is devoted to the mother, but many lines about the nanny… Parents lose love and attachment of the child because the baby redirects their love for strangers – nannies. If the parents are ready for this, then this is their choice. By 2-3 years, the father should take care of the mother. And the state should guarantee the preservation of the mother’s workplace and pay her the amount of money intended for babysitting if the woman stays at home and does not use the services of a nanny”.

“The greatest risk is hidden in that, according to the John Bowlby binding theory, as a result of the sharp separation of the mother from the child and the change in the face of the caring adult, violations in the sphere of attachment are developing – the human ability to long-term and safe close relationships. “There might be an early psychological trauma”, – says Iryna Glavatska (Psychological Center of Iryna Glavatska). “As a result, such children may feel fear in building their own relationships in the future and staying in them. In addition, it is very difficult for such children to cope with their parenthood”.

But is it easy to find a good nanny?

It can be very difficult to find a good nanny with work experience, who is sympathetic and loves her job and so she suits child’s and parents’ needs. At least our search took us almost a month. Our close friends – two months and dozens of candidates for interviews.

Find a nanny for a child could be through special agencies, advertisement on the Internet or niche portals like “Nanny in Kyiv” or “Our Nanny“. Primarily young parents are looking for nannies with experience in kindergarten. For babies, the priority is given to nurses. At the interview, it is advisable to ask for a medical book, documents with a residence permit and a description. Ask them to provide recommendations – from a kindergarten, school or family, where a candidate for a job previously worked – normal and even necessary practice. The agencies assure that their nannies, among other things, undergo professional and psychological testing, communicate with a psychologist. The expert enters conclusions into a personal card,  which is provided to parents. On average, a nanny in the capital can be found from 10 to 25 thousand UAH per month. Experts from agencies note that today the mainstream is a young nanny, governess. Typically, young parents are looking for their dear children experienced nannies aged 28-40 years. Fashion for grandmothers is already passing. Today’s nanny should be energetic, communicative, in other words – comprehensively developed. The health, development and, importantly, the mood of the child depend on the nanny. Nanny, whether we like it or not, is as a second mom for a child.

Fortunately, we succeed. We found a good nanny – even two at once – for a reasonable price. And most importantly – with experience and sensitivity to the child.

Around the same time, when we decided to leave our son with a completely unfamiliar person, the Government reported on an important innovation: the state decided to compensate part of the payment for babysitting for women, who decided not to go on maternity leave, but to continue working. It was announced that such innovation will begin to operate next year. It was announced by the Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groisman during the government session. “Since January 1, when a mother, who works, hires a nanny, we will compensate part of the salary, so that mother could work, and a nanny – take care of the child”, – the Prime Minister said.

Whether this is a significant help for young parents or not – time will show. But the state gives the right signal. If the family traditionally decides to raise and educate a child in the kindergarten, it is their right. However, for young parents with a different viewpoint, the state leaves the doors open. After all, today, it is difficult for a young mother to find a job that can easily compensate for the labor of a nanny and bring personal profit.

Text: Vadym Lubchak

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