‘But for most of us there is no alternative. Working is not a choice, it is a necessity. Therefore childcare is also a necessity.’
ONE of the most difficult decisions a parent has to make involves the complicated selection of appropriate childcare when the time comes. Most of us don’t have the luxury of staying at home to mind the baby, indeed many of us make a conscious decision not to. But whatever our personal circumstances, the choice we make should not be fraught with worry, unease and anxiety. It’s really difficult to hand over your precious, precious child into the care of someone else. The crèche or childminder or au pair or whatever is being paid to act in loco parentis. We trust them to comfort our babies and young children in their moments of distress, to feed them gently and with love and to play with them, read to them and discipline them when necessary.
While we are at work, trying to earn money to make a life for ourselves and our children, we can only hope that our little ones are safe, happy and cared for. What we do not expect is the circumstances that came to light in the television documentary recently. Watching this programme and listening to the fallout from it has made many parents question their very lifestyle choice. It has made people question their working commitments and examine their work life balance. Is it worth it? Is there another option? Could we survive on less income? These questions have been bandied about many homes in the past few weeks since the documentary aired.
But for most of us there is no alternative. Working is not a choice, it is a necessity. Therefore childcare is also a necessity. We should be able to trust that the available childcare facilities are suitable at the very least while being friendly, caring and nurturing at the same time. This isn’t too much to ask surely. There is no excuse for poor facilities and poor care. No excuse. None. Children need care and love. They need to feel secure and they need to be looked after. And as we wave goodbye to them early in the morning we need to have confidence in the care they will receive while we are gone.
So how do we ensure that there are no further issues of childcare hell? How can we have faith in other childcare institutions and crèches? Is it a privacy issue to request CCTV footage and constant contact? Now we know that the little reports given to the parents can be fabricated, we need something a little more concrete, a little more reliable. So how about downloading an app on the phone which gives constant video access to the rooms the children are in. There you can see what’s going on, who’s in charge of your child and the conditions in which they are in. Would that be so bad? I understand that people might have an issue with others being able to see their child, but as the video would only be available to parents who also have little ones sharing the space, and not outsiders, wouldn’t the benefits outweigh the cons? Then there can be no controversy or dispute as you can keep on top of things.
Now the only problem with this is that you could well end up watching all day long and not get a scrap of work done, but that’s a whole other problem and one that can be overcome much easier than an emotionally disturbed child after a day of neglect in a crèche. Thankfully these institutions are not the norm, but there shouldn’t even be one and whatever we can do to prevent this should be done. Our children are precious and selecting childcare is not a decision we take lightly so peace of mind is not too much to ask… shh Mum’s the Word.
Parenting Fail of the Week
I have witnessed dubious car behaviour in the past but my recent experience put all that in the shade. The beautiful weather has meant the cars are hot, the passengers are hot and everyone is in need of fresh air and cool breezes. However, letting a small child keep their head out the window of a car moving at speed is not a great plan. Anything could hit them, or bump them and you can’t help as you’re driving. Better idea to keep the windows up and use the air conditioning instead.
Aideen’s Parenting Hacks
People tell me all the time that I’m missing out as I have failed to embrace the whole camping thing… But even if I have and even if it’s raining like a normal summer day, the kids can still enjoy a camping experience. Put up a little tent inside the house with duvets and cushions. Light a battery powered candle to create atmosphere, turn on some music and give them in some snacks and then leave them to it. A safe but fun kind of camping experience. And I still get to sleep in my own bed. What’s not to love?
Aideen Glynn’s weekly column as published in the Waterford News & Star Well! magazine