In 2009, Jean Mercer, Ph.D., told Psychology Today that in the future, children may be taken care of by nanny-bots -- robot babysitters -- but that ethical implications would likely keep experts divided on their merit. Likewise, today's working parents must carefully weigh the pros and cons of nanny care.
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Nannies can provide the type of one-on-one interaction, and personalised care and routines that a day care centre can't. Having a nanny in your own home means your children also spend their day in a familiar environment.
In 2005, Yale University found that day care and other formal childcare arrangements are not detrimental to children's intellectual development, but that informal arrangements -- including nannies -- do have a negative impact. This is because nanny care provides less social interaction for children than organised day care.
Because a nanny works on her own, no other caregiver is present to help in times of stress or emergency. In 2005, the American Psychological Review reported that the death rate was 16 times higher in home-based care than in organised child centres.
Negative effects of nanny care can be prevented by using a video camera to watch your nanny interact with your children while you are out. However, because it's difficult to watch a camera and work at the same time, carefully screening a nanny before you hire her may be a better way to help prevent problems. Consider her previous employment, how she will discipline your children, what types of activities she will do with them and what will happen if she is sick or otherwise unable to come to work.
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- Psychology Today: Nanny-bots: Would you use a robot babysitter?
- Babycenter.com: Nanny care: Advantages and disadvantages
- AllBusiness.com: Child Care Options: Nannies
- University College London: Informal childcare has negative effects on child development
- The New York Times: 3 New Studies Assess Effects of Child Care