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Tuesday 14 April 2020

Are Virtual Nannies and Virtual Tutors the way forward for parents AND professionals?

Right now we are in the middle of a pandemic. Schools are closed, parents are working from home and the balance of the scales between educational curriculum, child-care and work are tipping furiously back and forth, leaving many feeling like they are attempting to be a jack of all trades, yet master of none.

peppa pig showing on a screen as a virtual nanny babysitter

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Parents are holding their hands up in a ‘me too’ movement, admitting to tapping into the babysitting powers of Peppa Pig whilst they try to steal a precious half hour to undertake a conference call or draft an email. Phrases such as “in a moment” are thrown towards our children and our work, as we try to ‘do it all’ – where doing it all really just means doing the basics...

Are Virtual Nannies and Virtual Tutors the way forward for parents AND professionals?

Google searches for independent play ideas have increased, while Teachers and parents alike flock to Facebook groups to share ideas and ask advice. Online games and activities are recommended by the minute, but often with parental support or supervision required. Some independent schools are offering a set number of hours of online tuition, but this is for the few and not the many, with most unsure of how to access this level of support…until now. Childcare.co.uk have launched a Virtual Nanny and Virtual Tutor service to help parents struggling in isolation.
“The UK’s leading childcare platform has launched a Virtual nanny service, to help struggling parents during social distancing and isolation. Parents will be able to hire virtual nannies to look after children whilst parents work from home, after a recent study of work-from-home parents found that more than four fifths (81%) said they ‘couldn’t work effectively’ whilst also caring for their children. Virtual nannies can expect to earn upwards of £60 a day but will set their own price.” 

Facilitated via a secure video chat platform, the virtual nanny will be tasked with entertaining and supervising the children in order to make it easier for parents to concentrate on their work, using video chat technology, such as; Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts or WhatsApp. Parents must remain in the house whilst the sessions are taking place for safeguarding reasons.

Each virtual nanny can expect to earn around £60 a day, with an average hourly rate of £10, however it is ultimately up to the provider to set their fees.

The virtual tuition service, allows parents to hire remote tutors to teach their children during the lockdown period. Currently, more than 5,000 tutors are offering their services via the platform. Virtual tutors are currently charging £10 to £50 an hour.

Those interested in either hiring a virtual tutor/virtual Nanny, or signing up as one can do so over on their website.

After the site recently questioned parents and more than three quarters of respondents (79%) said that ‘entertaining their children’ was the most stressful aspect of the lockdown – it is clear that alternative support systems ( compatible with social distancing) are worth exploring.

Attempting to take on the role of ‘Teacher’ within the home, whilst also attempting to parent and nurture children during what is a very stressful time can blur boundaries and cause unnecessary conflict and confusion. For many families, children behave differently for parents than they do Teachers. Parents and ‘home’ are considered their ‘safe space’ - somewhere to let off steam, show emotions and often, relax the rules of conversation and boundaries of learning. It can be hard for a parent to take on the role of educator within the home when this is so far removed from what is normal and usual. Placing some learning time into the ‘virtual’ arena and into the hands of the professional could help to break up the days and the pressure.

For the youngest children, my advice would still be to continue to focus on play based learning – including learning opportunities within daily, ‘real life’ scenarios such as maths within baking, mark making for a purpose, and setting up resources to allow for child-led, independent play. 

You may find my post on play ideas for when you're stuck at home helpful.

Would you like to know how to incorporate technology into the Early Years?

Sarah x

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