Hiring a Nanny: What You Need to Know

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We've all seen them in Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and Super Nanny. These mythical creatures who come into your home with a spoonful of sugar, a guitar, or a star chart and transform your household from chaos to order. So who really hires a nanny, and what do they do? Here are some common questions and answers about nannies.

Are nannies only for the rich?

The nanny industry is largely unregulated, and there is a huge variation in what you should expect to pay for a nanny depending on her experience, education, and training, as well as the area in which you live. It pays to consider hiring a nanny when looking at your other childcare options. If you have more than one child, a nanny you hire by the hour may be cheaper than paying child care fees for each child. You may also be able to hire a Nanny/Housekeeper, which may be cheaper than hiring a cleaner and paying for childcare, if that was what you were planning on doing.

Do nannies always live in?

No. You can specify whether you want a live in or live out nanny. You may even hire a nanny on the basis that they live out, but stay over under certain conditions. For example, if you need to be away from home for a period of time you could negotiate that they stay over then, but live out the rest of the time. It is generally best to specify hours and conditions when hiring a nanny and negotiate anything outside of this with your nanny. Some are able to be quite flexible, and others have commitments which need to be worked around. If you need a flexible nanny, you should be honest about this when hiring so you can choose a
nanny who is able to accommodate this.

What happens if my nanny calls in sick?

You need to have a backup plan. If you have hired your nanny through an agency, you may be able to contact them and see if you can hire a substitute nanny on a casual basis. There are also casual nanny and babysitting agencies that may be able to provide you with a nanny for the day, or you may want to see if you have any friends or relatives that can help out. If you can't find help, you may need to take time off work to care for your children.

How do I know if I can trust my nanny?

You can't. What you can do is ensure that you are thorough in checking out all your nanny's references and credentials and investigate anything that doesn't seem quite right once they've been employed. This is true of any child-care provider and is part of being a responsible parent.

Nannies are worth considering when looking at your child-care options. If you take the time to find the right one, she may become a much loved member of your family.

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