Nannies need better childcare training

Families say some candidates appear to be untrained or not up to the task, with others smoking in front of children or leaving their charges while on duty.

From left, Insaf Bousserwel and her twins, Sophia and Raslene, with Sarah their trained and trusted nanny. Victor Besa for The National
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DUBAI // Nannies need better training to meet the demands of the job, and parents say they are struggling to find competent child minders.

Families said some candidates appeared to be untrained or not up to the task, with others smoking in front of children or leaving their charges while on duty.

Last week, it was announced that new recruitment centres overseen by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation would be set up to replace domestic agencies after concerns about the way many operate.

Often regarded as a privilege of the wealthy in the developed world, live-in nannies are often a necessity for many families in the Arabian Gulf area because they need two salaries to get by.

Diana, a young working mother from Istanbul, brought her 18-month-old daughter when she moved to Dubai but sent her home to live with her grandmother soon after.

She had to sack two nannies because they both smoked in front of her child and “disappeared for weird reasons”.

“In the end, I couldn’t find a good nanny,” Diana said. “My mother, who was helping us out in the interim, had to go back with her. If I find a nanny I will bring my child back.”

Insaf Bousserwel, 34, a Tunisian nursery teacher whose businessman husband regularly works abroad, decided to hire a nanny to help with her twins.

She found someone she felt she could trust, and then paid for her training at H&A Parental Guidance in Dubai.

“I want to provide the best care for my children and a well-trained nanny puts me at ease and makes me confident about who I’m leaving my children with,” Ms Bousserwel said. “I wanted a nanny who could be self-confident and would be able to do first aid. I also want a nanny who knows how to play with my children and make them learn at the same time.

“There are a lot of nannies in the UAE but they were not qualified enough and didn’t make me feel at ease. In the end I found a nanny that I trusted enough and had her trained to make her qualified enough as well. There are many options in Dubai to hire a nanny but the challenge is to get a good one.

“I could see at first that she didn’t interact enough or at least not the way I wanted with my children. Since she took this training, she is better with tantrums, fussy eating, small accidents, use of devices, and playing and interacting with my children.”