Making the decision to bring someone into your home to care for your most prized possessions can be both scary and overwhelming. Many families take the agency route to save time, but if you decide that an agency is not how you want to conduct your nanny search, you need to have the basics for the process.
Before you start on the nanny search journey, please first realize that nannying is a career. Nannies are professionals, and your home is their work place. With this in mind, if you wouldn't accept something in your workplace, you should not expect your nanny to accept it either! Our agency clients are parents, but we absolutely support fair treatment and wages for all nannies, but especially So Life Nannies!
First things first, you must decide what your budget is, and be realistic. Outside of finding a caregiver that is a good fit for your family, your budget will ultimately decide the best childcare option for you. In home private childcare, or nannies, are the most expensive form of childcare, and rates will not reflect those of childcare facilities. The rate of pay should be reflective of the years of experience, qualifications, education, and the requirements of the position. Your caregiver is required to make a livable wage, and the more requirements you have for your nanny, the higher that rate should be. You also need to budget for guaranteed wages for the duration of your nanny’s employment (salary). If you are wanting a year commitment, your nanny is to be guaranteed the weekly pay for 52 weeks, regardless of whether or not they work, unless otherwise discussed. If your budget does not fit the average rate for in home childcare in your area, you should consider looking into daycare options for your little ones.
Next, you should decide how much care you need, and a proposed schedule for your nanny. Will you need full time child care, or just a few hours in the morning to run errands? Do you want someone to come and work overnight so you can sleep undisturbed or do you just need an extra set of hands to tackle extracurricular activities? Again, be realistic. Be sure to identify how many hours you can guarantee for your nanny weekly. Career nannies like to know how much they are guaranteed to make, and often plan bills around this. If you say you want your caregiver to work Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm, they are blocking off that time specifically for your family and won’t accept any work or plan appointments within that period(except in the case of emergency). If they are blocking the time off, these hours are to be paid every week, even if you only use them for reduced hours.
After finalizing a schedule for your nanny, consider what responsibilities your childcare provider will have. The nanny/family relationship is one based on compromise and support. They are there to support your family and they may be open to taking on responsibilities that will give you even the smallest amount of quality time back with your family. Will they need to prepare meals for your children? Can they help wash and sanitize bottles and pump parts? Will they need to handle laundry, organize your playroom, and occasionally run errands? Knowing what will be required of your nanny and identifying them PRIOR to your search will help tremendously while you are on the hunt. Some nannies aren't willing to do family laundry or mop floors. If this is one of the responsibilities of the position they are applying to, we advise them that the job isn't for them. The more responsibilities your nanny has, the more his or her rate will increase. Outlining the responsibilities before your search will also make contract negotiations less stressful.
We know that things come up, and though you don’t have to list every single potential duty you may want your nanny to have, after contracts are signed, they have the right to not perform additional duties- particularly if the compensation is not adjusted. As an employer, you should be understanding and respect their boundaries if they are unwilling to perform duties not listed in the contract. If they are willing to take on additional duties then avoid taking advantage of this compromise, especially if they take away the attention from their main focus, your children.
Along with your responsibilities, you will also need to determine what your boundaries will be with your nanny. Boundaries are healthy! Your nanny is a part of your parenting team and boundaries work both ways. While you’re respecting your nanny’s boundaries, your nanny will also have to respect the boundaries of your family and home. We call these our deal breakers and these should be outlined before the position begins. Some deal breakers we’ve come across from working with both nannies and families are: no screen time, no snacks between meals, no social media for kids (includes Youtube and Tiktok), no posting kids online, no smoking (even while off duty), no technology while working and no outside time from 10-4pm.