In my roughly ten years of nannying experience, I’ve learned a thing or two. Heck, my senior project in college was based on the pros and cons of daycare vs. nannies. I have worked as a nanny in three different states, both part time and full time, with kids of all ages and for families with up to five children. But enough about my résumé; all this is to say, I’ve recently conversed with several people on the topic.
I’ve sought advice from fellow nannies as I made the transition into being a nanny with my daughter in tow, I’ve given advice to individuals who are seeking nanny positions, as well as parents who are seeking nannies.
As it turns out, childcare is wildly popular topic with minimal guidelines and regulations. I am by no means a childcare expert. However, I have real life experience that I would love to share with you! Here, I will highlight a few things that I have learned through the years that will hopefully be of service to you if you are either looking for childcare or are interested in entering the field.
Nanny vs. Daycare
The short answer- both are perfectly acceptable options depending on your childcare needs. Both have pros and cons. Daycare is typically more affordable (unless you have multiple children, in which case it can be comparable or more expensive), has built-in socialization for your children, as well as a pre-determined curriculum in many cases. However, you’re typically limited on what hours you can drop off/pick up and you might not get as much of a say as to when your child eats and sleeps. Hiring a nanny gives the parent a lot of customization with schedule and guidelines, but can be more expensive.
My experience has been in nannying, so we will continue this conversation in that avenue of childcare.
The #1 Rule
Here’s the thing, guys; Nannying is an extremely unregulated profession. At the end of the day, however, it IS a job and if you’re the parents, you ARE an employer. I’ve had every type of situation I can think of: under the table, over the table, paid vacation and holidays, no paid vacation and holidays, contracts and no contracts. I’m not here to shame you if you pay or work under the table or if you don’t go above and beyond for your nanny. I’ve been there, I’ve done that. Here’s what I’ve found: it FEELS better and honorable to have the parents (employer) take out taxes if you are making a taxable amount. As for benefits- as a nanny, you have every right to request what you need and what you think is fair for a full time employee, just like any other profession. Parents- if you’re hiring a nanny, be prepared for this. You get what you pay for.
Respect & Communication
As I stated earlier, nannying is an extremely unregulated profession. Two things that make it easier for both parties is to build a relationship with eachother. Like any relationship, everyone is happiest when respect and communication are exercised. Both parties should always be on time (just like any other job!), and should something come up, it should be communicated that they will be late before actually being late. Respect for each other’s outside lives goes a long way.
Some of my closest friends are parents that I have nannied for.
It’s Not A Backup Job
Your college major isn’t working out for you, you don’t know what else to do… “Why not become a nanny? Should be an easy job I can just breeze through”. Ummmm. No. Don’t do that. Seriously. Just don’t.
Nannying is NOT for the faint of heart. Children are moody, energetic, and can’t always communicate what they want/need. If you don’t genuinely love kids and have endless patience, childcare is not for you.
Parents, trust your intuition when interviewing. Look for those key attributes, such as patience. A child is such a valuable responsibility… The last thing anyone wants is someone that will snap, neglect, or irresponsibly care for a child.
Nannying With Baby In Tow
Last but not least, my new reality. I am both a nanny and mother. At the same time. I’m not going to sugar coat it- it’s EXPONENTIALLY harder than being a nanny without his/her child along. It’s emotionally tolling to split your attention between your precious child and another.
But guess what: it can be done! Parents, don’t write off nannies that want to bring their child. There will definitely be an adjustment period for them, but there are so many perks! Built in playmates and socialization are just two examples.
What childcare questions do you have? Feel free to send me a message! I’d be happy to help you troubleshoot wages based on region, benefits, schedules, contracts and activities!!