By Suzanne Bearne
Business reporter

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  • Coronavirus pandemic

image copyrightAntoinette Woodimage captionVirtual nanny Antoinette Wood says she plans the lessons very carefully

As many parents have struggled with childcare issues during the pandemic, a number of tech firms have been offering solutions.

Richard Conway says that many people were not convinced by his idea for "virtual nannies" – whereby the childminder is on the other end of a Zoom call.

"A lot of people thought it was a crazy idea, and that it involved leaving the child home alone," says the founder of Childcare.co.uk.

Instead the service is designed so that mum or dad can get some work done at home, while someone else, via a computer screen, keeps the kids occupied. The child must be aged at least two for parents to use the service.

"Younger children need a bit of entertainment, and if parents are working they can't always give them the time they need," adds Mr Conway. "So we thought having a virtual nanny, who is a real nanny, by video would be a great solution."

Earlier this year, Thea Herodotou, 37, a senior lecturer in London, arranged for a virtual nanny to look after her daughter Zoe, aged five.