Back to Work

If your maternity leave is coming to an end, you’re probably beginning to explore your childcare options. Here are a few to consider.
By Jessica Baxter

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dial a nanny
Hiring a nanny is a popular choice among working moms who want their children at home in a familiar space. Employing someone to look after your child at home also means you can set the schedule and be more in control of the kind of care you’d like for your little one. The added bonus is that your child gets one-on-one attention. Of course, staying home can limit opportunities for early socialisation, which is why it’s beneficial to sign up for nanny ‘n me or toddler socialisation classes, which gives your child the opportunity to interact with other children and introduces your nanny to childminders in the area who she can arrange play dates with.
 
Before you begin your nanny search, be clear about what your needs are. Do you want someone who will also help around the house? Do you want a live-in nanny? Must they be fluent in a specific language? Knowing the answers to these questions will help a nanny agency recruit the right person for you. Alternatively, you can hire independently, but be sure to ask for contactable references.
 
While experience is important, it’s not a deal breaker. If you feel comfortable with someone and like how they interact with your baby, you can always send them for nanny and first aid training. Also consider having your nanny start while you’re on maternity leave so that you can determine if it’s a good fit and the nanny and baby to settle into a routine before you start work.
 
In terms of salary, it is entirely dependent on their level of experience but the standard rate is between R4000 and R5000 per month. Remember to also budget for a monthly UIF contribution as well as an annual bonus.
 
crèche it is
Many moms around the world send their babies to daycare or crèche at just three months old owing to unaffordable childcare at home and they are no less well cared for or stimulated. The benefit of a crèche is that you know you’re getting experienced childminders looking after your baby. However, as is the case when your child first goes to school, you can expect a few more colds as your little one is exposed to more bugs – not a bad thing as it strengthens their immunity in the long run. Your child will also not get the kind of personalised care they would if they were at home, but that certainly doesn’t mean they’ll be neglected and one can argue it may just teach them a little more independence.
 
But not all crèches are created equal. Ideally you want to choose one that has been in the game a while and has a good reputation. You also don’t want to enrol your child in a crèche with big numbers. Smaller groups mean more attentive care. Fees vary and depend on how many days you want your little one to attend and whether or not you need aftercare, but you’re looking at anywhere from R3000 to R6000 per term.
 
au pair at home
Much like a nanny, hiring an au pair allows you to keep your child at home. The difference between the two is that au pairs are university students or older, educated individuals with their own transport, which is why you can expect to pay more for their services. Should you choose to pay by the hour, the going rate is R50-60, alternatively you can hire an au pair half day for around R5000 per month or full day for up to R8000 per month. The benefit of an au pair is that you have a little more freedom, because they can run errands for you and take your children to and from play dates and extramural activities.
 
address book
Supernannies supernannies.co.za (Cape Town, Joburg, Pretoria)
Au Pair SA aupairsa.co.za
Nanny n Me nannynme.co.za (Cape Town)
Toptots toptots.co.za (Cape Town, Joburg, Durban)

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