|Who’s Raising Our Children Parents or Child Care Providers?
Children’s author eases the fears of child care for parents and children
Childcare workers in America held 1.3 million jobs in 2004, and that number is expected to increase 27-percent over all other occupations by 2014 according to Department of Labor.
Today, preschool children often spend much of their time in the care of someone other than their mother or father. In fact, many children are in childcare from 9 to 10 hours a day, 5 days a week before they are a year old. For many this continues until they enter kindergarten.
There is debate as to whether it’s good or bad for children, and while child development experts do not agree on the answer to this question, one professional Southern California child caregiver feels that as a society we have the responsibility to create materials that allow children to visually relate to being in the care of a babysitter. The traditional picture book of a mom home with her children is a fading reality.
“I want to soften the anxieties that parents and children may have when away from each other,” says Suanne Margaret Hastings, author of Many Moods of Maddie, the first of many books in the Baby-Sitter Series. “My books comfort children with the idea that it’s okay to be away from mom or dad and left with a babysitter and that it can be fun!” With that in mind, Hastings developed a distinctive tool for children and their parents as well as caregivers - in today’s dual-income household. The book set, called The Baby Sitter Series, is designed for children ages 2-7.
“I initially began writing stories to help entertain the children in my care, but found such a love and a joy in the process that I continued over the last four years developing an entire series of books as well as other products to help children figure out just why these ‘people’ are in their lives and help make them feel good about it,” Hasting adds.
“Baby sitters, nanny’s and daycare workers often times become children’s ‘best friends’ and are the literal role models of the 21st century where in many cases both parents are pursuing careers,” says Hastings. “Throughout ten years of providing child care, I noticed that there are no tools or children’s books out there that help kids feel comfortable with the idea of being left alone with a caregiver.”
For better or for worse, childcare is here to stay as the need for two incomes continues to rise in America. The most important thing is that in making the decision when and where to put a child in a childcare setting, parents should understand the impacts of childcare. They need to become informed about the pros and cons of daycare. Parents who are educated about the childcare process can prepare their children better for that next step into kindergarten and elementary school.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Suanne Margaret Hastings is a Canadian born writer/actress who majored in Fine Arts at York University in Toronto, Ontario.