In Singapore, it is not uncommon to have both mum and dad work full time to support the household. Thus, working parents would need to prepare for their little one’s full-time care arrangement after mum’s maternity leave ends.
If you are considering between sending your baby to a nanny or infant care in Singapore, read on as we delve into the pros and cons of each arrangement.
Pros of a hiring a Nanny
Low infant to caregiver ratio
In most cases for neighbourhood babysitters and nannies, there is a low ratio of infants to caregivers. Your little one might be the only baby who is being looked after by the nanny, or in some cases, there may be other babies and/or toddlers who are being cared for by the nanny together with a helper.
For either case, you can be assured that your baby will get the care and attention needed while he/she is being looked after during the day.
A nanny or a babysitter usually can accommodate irregularities in the parents’ schedule as arrangements can be made to pay by the hour. For example, a nanny might be able to look after your baby for a few more hours in the evening when both parents need to work overtime or are caught in the rush hour traffic on their way back from work.
Pros of Infant Care in Singapore
A specially designed curriculum at every stage to stimulate development
A reputable Infant Care in Singapore like MindChamps Infant Care would have a curriculum that is specially designed for infants. Activities are targeted to match the infant’s abilities and needs to the S.M.I.L.E.S.™ (Sensory, Motor, Intellectual, Linguistic, Emotional, Social) environment.
Infants at MindChamps Infant Care have plenty of opportunities to interact with the environment and people around them, doing activities which enable them to meet their milestones in a fun and engaging manner.
Guidelines and protocols
Infant care centres operating in Singapore, such as MindChamps Infant Care, are licenced by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) under the Childcare Centres Act (Cap 37A) and Regulations.
The maximum staff-child ratio for infant care as stipulated by ECDA is 1 caregiver to 5 infants. At certain preschools such as MindChamps Infant Care, the ratio is smaller than the recommended guidelines at 1:3, so that each infant can receive more attention and care.
All educarers responsible for the care of infants and toddlers must possess a Certificate in Infant/Toddler Care and the Fundamentals Certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education (with certification in Infant/Toddler) or an equivalent certification recognised by ECDA. State Registered Nurses are also qualified as educarers. They must also be certified in Infant First Aid.
Infant care subsidies
Infant care subsidies are meant to defray some of the expenses for working parents. As long as the child is a Singapore citizen, he or she will be eligible for a Basic Subsidy of S$600. Additional subsidies are available for Singapore citizen children in low-income families with working mothers or single fathers who work at least 56 hours per month with a household income not exceeding S$7,500.
Cons of hiring a Nanny
Nanny may not know how to react in emergencies
As nannies are informal care arrangements, it is unlikely that there is a standard protocol to follow in cases of emergencies. The nanny may not know when the baby requires immediate medical attention.
For example, in scenarios where the baby chokes on food, infant educarers who have been trained in infant first aid are able to administer first aid on the baby immediately. A nanny without the relevant training may not know what to do in such scenarios and this may result in a delay in medical treatment.
Traditional caregiving methods
Informal caregivers may follow old wives’ tales and traditions which may not have a scientific basis and could potentially harm the baby. For example, babies below the age of 6 months old should not drink water at all, but the nanny may think otherwise.
The cost of hiring a nanny ranges from anywhere between S$800 to S$1,200, which is more expensive than sending baby to infant care as government subsidies are granted only to Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) licenced childcare centres.
Some nannies may require parents to top up for food costs or provide their own food once solids are introduced to the infant.
Cons of Infant Care in Singapore
Strict pick-up timings
Most infant care centres in Singapore open from 7am to 7pm and typically charge a fine if parents do not pick their children up on time.
Long waiting lists
Due to the low infant-caregiver ratio, parents may find that vacancies are limited. The more popular infant care centres and those located in estates where most young couples reside tend to have long waiting lists. Thus, parents may need to start doing their research and confirm enrolment even before the baby is born.
Written by Jamie Koh
Are you opting to place your baby in infant care when you return to work?
Now that you have chosen to enrol your baby in infant care, the next thing to do is to do your research on the various infant care centres and settle on one that meets your needs and that of your baby.