10 Reasons Not to Hire a Relative as Your Nanny

The search for a childcare provider can be so frustrating that parents begin to consider engaging a relative as their private nanny. While there are situations in which such arrangements work out to the satisfaction of all involved parties, those situations can be quite rare. For parents contemplating a family member as a prospective nanny, here are ten of the reasons you might want to tread carefully.

  1. You Disagree on Basic Childcare Philosophies – The first red flag that a family member is a less than ideal choice for a nanny position in your household is a fundamental disagreement about disciplinary methods or parenting styles. The fact that they’re related to your children won’t undo the damage to their routines or understanding of disciplinary concepts.
  2. There’s Potential For Financial Disputes – If there’s even the slightest chance that an arguments about money could arise in the future, hiring a family member to care for your children is almost certain to be a choice that you’ll regret in the future. These disputes can cause tension and arguments at family gatherings for years to come.
  3. Both Parties Can Be Tempted to Take Advantage of the Familial Relationship – A working relationship with someone who is not a close friend or relative is generally based upon a mutual desire to maintain respect and proper boundaries. When your nanny is a close family member, you can both be tempted to take liberties that you would never consider in a non-familial working relationship.
  4. You Feel Pressured to Do So – Hiring a family member solely because you feel that you’re under pressure from a spouse or other relatives to do so isn’t likely to pay off in the long run. You know what’s best for your children and your household; if a family member cum nanny doesn’t fit that bill, it’s not wise to hire them.
  5. The Relative in Question is Not the Best Available Choice – The decision to hire a nanny should be based upon choosing the best possible option available. If the best possible option happens to be a family member, then by all means, hire them. However, if they’re the less appealing choice in a set, you’re doing them and your children a disservice if you choose to engage them.
  6. Simply to Save Money – Choosing a family member as a childcare provider simply to save money, especially if you don’t feel that they’re entirely qualified for the position, will almost always prove to be a decision that you regret. The care of your children should only be entrusted to those that you have unwavering confidence in; saving money by sacrificing quality care is almost never a wise investment.
  7. Grandma Doesn’t Want Your List of Instructions – Parenting styles and attitudes have changed dramatically in the last two decades, and your own parents aren’t likely to be receptive to instructions and rules that differ widely from their own. By asking them to change their parenting style when caring for your own children, you can inadvertently send the message that you feel as if your own upbringing was less than ideal, leading to hurt feelings and resentment.
  8. Age is an Issue – Elderly relatives may be very enthusiastic about caring for your children, and unwilling to admit that they’re no longer physically capable of keeping up with the demands of small children. Allowing them to do so will leave them exhausted and may leave your children in danger of being accidentally injured or neglected by a well-meaning family member.
  9. They Insist on Caring For Your Children in Their Unsafe Home – When a family member without children or whose children are long grown insists on caring for your children in a home that isn’t adequately baby-proofed or isn’t hospitable to children, it’s a sure sign that they’re not the best choice for a childcare provider.
  10. They’re Already Caring For Too Many Children – A relative who cares for many children or has several children of their own may be stretched too thin by the demands of a large brood, creating unsafe conditions or inadequate supervision.

Explaining to a relative that you don’t feel they’re the best choice for the job can cause some temporary tension, but it pales in comparison to the very real possibility of a far-reaching feud stemming from the injury or neglect of a child. In these cases, it’s best to take the bull by the proverbial horns and choose an outside care provider.

10 Reasons to Hire a Relative as Your Nanny

Searching for the perfect nanny is never an easy task; however, it can be greatly simplified by the realization that the perfect candidate is right under your nose. Family-based childcare is a time-honored tradition in many societies, and was considered the norm in America as recently as twenty years ago. Here are ten of the reasons why it might be a good idea to revive this tradition in your own family.

  1. You’re Confident That They’re Capable and Reliable – The first and most important hurdle to clear when contemplating any candidate for a childcare position is their capability and reliability. As a family member, you’ll have firsthand knowledge of your relative’s level of experience and a good idea of how reliable they’ll prove to be.
  2. Familiarity – Engaging a nanny that’s related to you eliminates the transitional period; they’re familiar with your home, your children and their personalities. The first few weeks with a new nanny can be the roughest on young children, but that forced adjustment period can be avoided altogether by hiring a trusted and capable family member.
  3. Similar Religious Beliefs and Childcare Philosophies – Religious and spiritual education are very important to many families, but it can be difficult to find a qualified nanny with a similar background. In fact, parents can potentially open themselves up to employment discrimination claims by attempting to do so. A relative who shares your religious beliefs and childcare philosophies may be the ideal choice.
  4. There’s No Chance of Financial Disputes – Financial disputes between family members can have far-reaching effects, damaging relationships and creating conflict at holiday gatherings for years to come. If you’re absolutely certain that there’s no chance of any financial disagreements and a relative meets all of your requirements, they could be the perfect candidate for the job.
  5. A Relationship and Line of Communication Are Already Established – Children and new nannies aren’t the only ones who have to learn to communicate effectively and build a relationship; nannies and their employers must do the same. This can be an arduous task, especially for those who aren’t particularly outgoing. When your nanny is a relative, those relationships and the ability to communicate with one another are already in place.
  6. Reducing Separation Anxiety – When a parent reenters the workforce, it can cause separation anxiety and stress for children who aren’t accustomed to having an unfamiliar caregiver. Nannies that are also beloved family members can make kids feel as if they’re simply spending time with someone they love, rather than having a bossy stranger foisted on them.
  7. No Need For Time Consuming Background Checks – Running a background check is an absolutely essential part of the hiring process, but it can also be one of the most time consuming. When you’re considering a family member for the role of nanny, it’s quite unlikely that there will be any skeletons in their closet, provided that you have a close relationship.
  8. Emergency Contact Knowledge – Even if a new nanny has contact information for every member of your family at hand, in the event of an emergency, they’re likely to panic and have trouble remembering exactly who they should call. A childcare provider who is related to you will know exactly who should be contacted in any situation, potentially making them the safest possible choice.
  9. To Give a Young, Capable Family Member Valuable Work Experience – Securing a nanny post with no previous experience is next to impossible for young, ambitious beginners. A capable but professionally inexperienced family member is looking for their first post to secure references and begin building their resume, taking them on can set them on the path to future success and provide your children with quality, familiar care.
  10. Your Children Love the Idea – If the suggestion of a favorite aunt or cousin as childcare provider is greeted with shouts of excitement, and you’re confident that they will be reliable and are capable of handling the demands of caring for children, there’s no better endorsement.

To avoid the potential for arguments, a written agreement that includes responsibilities and salary information is of just as much importance as it would be when engaging a stranger for a nanny position.