The trend of Saudi women getting out of houses and seeking jobs has been on a steady rise and is one of the signs of a progressive society. Women are now becoming independent and putting their education to good use. Taking up jobs, however, means they have to leave behind their children at home under someone else's supervision. Traditionally, Saudi homes have housemaids to help out with the daily chores but they are often not reliable enough to be left to supervise children the whole day. This has given rise to demand for babysitters and nurseries.
Parents are now seeking babysitters who would not only take care of the children but also indulge them in meaningful activities that will add to their learning. Finding babysitters unfortunately is a daunting task. There are no official registered babysitters available. This job is not recognized as a proper profession by the society that requires training and qualifications. It is treated as an informal job where people hire babysitters based on word-of-mouth and references from friends and extended family. What this means is the babysitters are often not trained in the task of looking after the children properly and do not perform the required duties efficiently. These are usually just women looking for an easy way to earn money.
An alternative to hiring babysitters is sending children under the supervision of nurseries. But this doesn't take care of the issue since most nurseries close at 12 in the afternoon, while usual office timings are till evening. Moreover, nurseries are an expensive option with no guarantee of superior service. Hence not many couples are comfortable with it. This problem of caretaking has led to working mothers turning towards the government officials, appealing to them to register babysitting as a proper profession under the Ministry of Labor. What this would in essence mean is that babysitters will have to obtain license before they can provide their services. Not only will it regulate the entire process, it will also give mothers a sense of relief that the people they are hiring are indeed properly trained and trustworthy and there will be no security concern. Moreover, in case the babysitter causes some kind of harm, the parents will be able to hold them accountable in the court of law.
Another popular appeal that has recently surfaced from working mothers is that the government should provide license to people who want to host nurseries in their homes. This would regulate the entire business. They will be required to hire competent staff that has certificates proving their competence. This in turn will ensure the quality of service will be maintained. The licensed status will enable parents to trust the nursery to take good care of their children. They will have peace of mind knowing that their children are in the hands of trained professionals. Whether the government pays heed to these appeals remains to be seen. What is confirmed, however, is that with registered babysitters and licensed nurseries more mothers would consider taking up jobs.
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