Author Archives: Alison-Deary


There are few things in life that are more daunting for any parent than handing over your precious little child to someone else to care for. Whether it is a Mom returning to work after maternity leave, or a stay at home Mom needing some help at home, finding the right child care, and the right person to care for your child is a decision that requires a lot of thought and planning – and ultimately, following your instinct.

In an ideal world, or one the pictures in magazines would have us believe, we could all blissfully stay at home with our kids, frolicking in parks, doing crafts or baking, and not having a care in the world. However, in reality, most Moms today need to work, whether from home, or traveling to an office each day. Most stay-at-home Moms are also finding that they need some assistance with the kiddies, to get other tasks done, or simply for sanity sake.

Moms feel tremendous guilt about “outsourcing” their childcare. But we need to acknowledge and understand that there is nothing to feel guilty about. In past times, wealthy families would also have “governesses” or nannies, and even in the poorer families, older children and family members would help to care for smaller siblings and children.  The only difference now is that we have considerably more choice about who can look after our children, and where they can be cared for. But there are always factors to consider in selecting the right childcare option.

A few questions parents can ask, when selecting the best child care are:

1)      Do we have a family member that can assist caring for our child?

2)      What budget do we have for child care?

3)      Would we prefer our child to be in a group of children, or receive one-on-one care from a caregiver?

4)      What are the most important characteristics we need in the caregiver/school/nanny?

These questions will help to guide you with regards to whether having someone care for baby at home, or taking baby to crèche are more suitable.

With home-based childcare, you normally have the option of an Au Pair, or a Nanny. The main difference between Au Pairs and nannies are that Au Pairs tend to be young ladies who are studying, or have just completed studies, and are working to either gain experience, or tide themselves over. An Au Pair will have a car and driver’s license, and are well suited to position where children can be taken to and from activities and extra-murals, and can help with home-work. In my personal experience as someone who trains and places child-minders, I have found that you do get some Au Pairs that are suited to caring for infants and small children, but I have found that the most value in Au Pairs is found when they are assisting older, more active toddlers and school going children. Au Pairs are costly though. The current cost of an Au Pair can range from R6 000 – 12 000pm for a full day Au Pair.

Nannies are generally ladies that have a more basic education, and are very well suited to infant and child care. Because the majority of nannies range from 28-58years of age, these ladies are maternal, and often have had children of their own. A well trained nanny will be able to do all day to day care of the baby, such as nappies, bottles, sleep routines, bathing, feeding etc… as well as have a good knowledge of what to do in the event of an emergency. A nanny should also understand the importance of play, and will mentally stimulate a child as well as taking care of the physical needs of the child. A good nanny will make sure that the child develops not only by growing, but through play and social stimulation as well. Most nannies are also prepared to have an element of domestic work as part of their day-to-day duties; however, it is crucial that the nanny and parent both acknowledge that the care and well-being of the baby or child will come first. Many parent’s also employ a nanny-domestic to perform domestic chores in the morning (when kids are at school/crèche) and tend to kids in the afternoons or if the kids are off school ill, or on school holidays. Nannies can either reside at the premises of the employer (generally Monday to Friday), or can travel to work daily. A good Nanny or Nanny-domestic will cost from R2 500 – R4 000pm, depending on hours, duties, experience etc…

Crèche’s are available all over, and today, we are seeing more and more companies opening day care facilities and crèche’s for the children of their staff – making it easier for working parents to drop and collect children from crèche. All crèche’s do need to be registered with provincial government, and need to adhere to certain regulations regarding safety, caregiver-to-child ratio’s etc… Children attending crèche are also exposed to other children, and thus have loads of social interaction. Unfortunately, due to this social interaction, children attending crèche are often prone to picking up bugs from one another, for this reason, most Paediatricians’ recommend keeping kiddies home until 3yrs. But that can be quite long for many kids, who do need the interaction sooner. Most crèche’s open early in the morning, and cater to parents who can collect their kids a little later (around 6pm). Some crèche’s cater to parent’s who also want to send children half-day, or a couple of days a week. Crèche’s can range from around R2 000pm-R5 000pm.

At the end of the day, there are no right or wrong answers, and the choice of child care is a very personal choice. Parent’s need to select the option that best suits them, and their requirements. Investigate all the options, and choose the one that suits you. When you meet Nannies, Au Pairs, or visit crèche’s, follow your gut-instinct, and choose the right option for you.


NANNIES:    Help At Home (, contact Ruth Kloppers on 087 808 9433 or 084 870 8544

AU PAIRS:    Au Pair Professional Services (, contact Hayley Eaton on 0861 692 4453 or 083 270 5060



Packing Tips

Moving into a new house is a very exciting experience. Packing up all your belongings and moving into a new property brings the beginning of a new chapter in your life. In order to go through this experience with your sanity intact, it is important that you plan ahead and pack correctly.


We have compiled a proper list of packing tips to help you plan a peaceful and exciting move.


How to Pack for a Move


  1. Before you start packing create a simple inventory or record keeping system. Estimate the total number of boxes you will end up with and number in your book from 1 to estimate amount, leaving enough space to write down the contents of each box. This list will go with you into each room where you pack. Number each box on all sides according to your list and add coloured stickers according to your colour coding system (see point 2).  This way it will be easy to find items easily, even if boxes are going into storage for a period of time.
  2. Work out a simple colour coding system. Select a colour for each room in the new house and use coloured stickers on boxes. Remember to indicate the appropriate colour on each door in the new house. This will help the movers to place the boxes in the correct rooms.
  3. Keep all your packing supplies in one place and ensure that you have more than enough stock. The supplies should consist of boxes, tape, notebook, permanent markers, bubble wrap, wrapping paper (newspaper without ink) and stickers or pens for colour coding and whatever else you might need.
  4. Boxes obtained from the grocery store are not always sturdy enough to hold heavy or fragile items. Boxes can be purchased through your moving company or directly from a packaging supplier. If you buy boxes from the moving company, you might be able to return unused boxes for a refund. Some movers provide good quality second hand boxes, so ask your mover about this.
  5. If you are making use of second hand boxes, be sure to remove all staples from the top and bottom to avoid surface scratching.
  6. Hanger boxes are more expensive than other boxes, so be sure to ask about the price. These large, tall boxes are ideal for packing pillows, blankets, soft toys, etc, although the main purpose for these boxes is for clothing that should remain hanging.
  7. Buy blank newspaper rolls from your packaging supplier or moving company for delicate objects. Take care not to use newspaper with print, as the ink can cause permanent stains. Reusable plastic bags from the grocery store also works for some fragile items.
  8. Before you start to pack your boxes, make sure that you get rid of unwanted things. Read our Moving Tips for more about what to do ahead of your move.
  9. Make a list of things you would want unpacked first and label the boxes accordingly.
  10. To properly pack boxes reinforce the seam at the bottom of the box with packing tape and run a piece of tape perpendicular to that seam. Do not under pack boxes as it can then be easily crushed and the content can move around causing damage. On the contrary, over packing it can cause it to burst and send contents flying.
  11. To fill empty space in boxes, use empty plastic bags, dishtowels or clothing for support. Bubble wrap works great for this purpose, but can be costly.
  12. When the box is filled to capacity, tape it shut and label it as described under points 1 & 2 above.
  13. Mark boxes with delicate content as “fragile” or “this side up”.
  14. Pack room by room and keep items that belong in the same room together.
  15. Pack smaller, light weight items like shoes and handbags into reusable plastic bags and put these in the bottom of hanger boxes before hanging clothing. Be sure to hang clothing close together to avoid falling off of hangers.
  16. Pack heavier items like books into small boxes and lighter items in larger boxes. The strength of a box should support the contents. An ideal box should be without rips, tears or any damage to the corners. Remember, if a moving company has to repack a box for you, they might charge you for the service.
  17. Where possible, repack electronics like TV’s, plasmas, computers and printers into its original packaging. Try to keep loose parts and cords with each item.
  18. Pack very small items into resealable plastic bags or into bigger containers such as shoe boxes or jewellery boxes.
  19. Wrap fragile items in bubble wrap and pack between cushions or linens in boxes.
  20. Take special care with small items like the lid of a tea pot or espresso cups, as these can easily get lost between bunched up pieces of paper.
  21. All glassware and china should be wrapped with enough paper to avoid clattering inside the box.
  22. Pack plates on their side, wrapped individually in enough paper. Never lay plates flat. Put enough stuffing inside the box that the plates can’t move around.
  23. Glasses should also be wrapped individually and packed standing up. Use double layers if possible, especially for delicate items like china and glassware. Put heavier items in the bottom and lighter glasses at the top.
  24. Most moving companies are only liable for items they pack themselves, so the best way to insure your fragile items is to have them pack it for you. Most moving companies in South Africa will be able to provide you with a quotation that includes packing of the kitchen only.
  25. Use your own suitcases and duffle bags to pack clothing, sheets, towels and other linen. Do not use suitcases for heavy items.
  26. Place lamps and lamp shades into separate boxes. Wrap with clean paper and blankets and remove light-bulbs from all lamps.
  27. Keep around 10 boxes aside for last minute packing on the day. This will be used for groceries, bedding, cleaning supplies, etc.
  28. If you are moving into a house with wooden or laminate floors and you want to protect the floors against scratches, stick felt flooring pads underneath all heavy furniture before going out into the truck. This will spare you the trouble of doing this at the new house and will also prevent scratches caused when the furniture is placed by the movers.
  29. Tape bolts, screws and other loose items underneath furniture so that everything is easily accessible when furniture is reassembled.
  30. Lastly, for your own sanity and that of the movers, keep children and pets out of the way. If possible, arrange a baby sitter for the children and your pets. This will greatly reduce your stress levels on moving day.