Who’s the Daddy?
I approached watching the first episode of ‘Daddy Daycare’ on Channel 4 last week with some trepidation.
Television’s portrayal of nurseries is rarely positive, usually concentrating on ‘nightmare’ settings viewed through an undercover reporter’s camera.
Daddy Daycare’ is different, of course, because it is the hapless fathers who are set up to be shown as ridiculous. Chosen for their hands-off, reluctant approach to parenthood, the men are pushed into a large, inner-city nursery and allowed to founder, until there is a miraculous turnaround in their feelings caused by the delightful children and the realisation that this is hard, skilled work. Such is the inevitable pattern of these reality shows!
The nursery in the first episode came out quite well for its practice and the way the staff operated. The problem for me was the attitude of the female practitioners to men, all men it seemed, as fathers and potential childcarers. This was so scathing that you have to doubt that the figure of two per cent men in the early years sector is likely to rise any time soon. And does the women’s scorn for males as carers transmit itself to the children?
The men were bound to fail, at least for most of the programme, for this is ‘entertainment’ – but how many childcarers of either gender would struggle to run an urban dance session for pre-schoolers on their first day?
The other issue that concerns me with TV shows such as these is the rights of the young children, who are seen by millions, possible misbehaving and unhappy or with their dirty nappies on display! There is lots to ponder in the name of ‘light entertainment’.