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.

5 Reasons to Consider a Nanny Manager Position

One of the things that nannies dread most when they assume a post with a new family is “job creep,” the tendency of even well-meaning employers to gradually add more and more tasks to a nanny’s duties, some of which aren’t related to the care of their charges. This is considered a major no-no by nannies and nanny agencies alike, who claim that household chores fall under the duties of a household manager. Need for both a nanny and a household manager has given rise to the position of nanny manager, one that combines the elements of both careers into one. There are many reasons why a veteran nanny might want to consider making the leap to nanny manager; here are five of them.

  1. Increased Salary – Adding to your tasks and responsibilities also means a raise in pay, which is welcome in any economy but can be a lifesaver in a struggling economic climate. The vast majority of employers understand that the increased demand and drain on a nanny manager’s energy requires that they are compensated accordingly; by completing household chores and preparing meals for the family, you could boost your annual salary considerably.
  2. Retaining a Post – In some cases, agreeing to take on additional responsibilities may be the only way to retain a post, as families are forced to cut expenses in any way they can. If your current employer eliminates a household manager’s position, you may be able to absorb the responsibilities she left behind for what amounts to a considerable pay raise on your part, but is still less than her annual salary. You’ll be earning more while your employers are paying less, making everyone happy.
  3. Your Prospective Charges Are School Age – Considering a position in which all of the children are of school age makes it a bit easier for a nanny to transition into a nanny manager. With the bulk of the day during the school year free to catch up on laundry, tidying up and meal planning and preparation, there’s very little added stress and the potential for a considerable boost in income.
  4. You’re Ready For a More Challenging Position – Whether you work in childcare or as an astrophysicist, there comes a time in everyone’s life when a more challenging, engaging position is appealing. If you’ve become a seasoned veteran in the trenches of nanny-dom, feeling as if you’re going through each day on autopilot, adding responsibilities and tasks to your to-do list might be just what you need to feel invigorated and challenged anew.
  5. Boosting Your Resume, Employability and Future Earning Power – No post lasts forever. Children grow up, and the nannies who care for them are forced to find work with a new family. Being able to add a glowing reference under the title of “Nanny Manager” on your resume sets you apart from other candidates without your level of experience, enabling you to find new posts more easily and command a higher salary.

Nannies with culinary backgrounds or experience working in other domestic positions are especially encouraged to consider making the move into nanny management, as they are already equipped with a considerable related skill-set.

10 Reasons Why Parents Hire Granny to Be the Nanny

Childcare trends have shifted over the last few decades, leaving grandparents lower and lower on the list of potential childcare providers. Parents choose public daycare centers, or hire nannies to come into their home and care for their children; here are ten of the reasons why going back to Granny-as-Nanny might be the perfect choice for your family.

  1. Familiarity and Affection – Rather than leaving your children in the care of a stranger, even one that holds a degree in child development, allowing your kids to spend time in the care of someone they already know and trust might be the best fit for your family.
  2. Peace of Mind – Granny has plenty of childcare experience; after all, she raised you safely to adulthood! When your own mother (or mother-in-law) is in charge of seeing after the children while you’re away, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing they’re in the care of someone with a true emotional investment in their safety, happiness and well-being.
  3. Shared Childcare Philosophies – If your parenting style is in line with that of your own parents, you can be assured that your children will receive the same training and discipline that they would if you were home to care for them yourself.
  4. Financial Considerations – While children are our most precious resource, daycare and nanny fees can quickly eat the lion’s share of the family budget. Grannies don’t charge as much, and are typically eager to spend as much time with their grandbabies as possible.
  5. Increasing Kids’ Vocabulary – One surprising result of grandparent care is an increased verbal acuity in children, according to Dr. Kirstine Hansen’s Millennium Cohort Study. Dr. Hansen is quoted, “Grandparents tend to make more of an effort to sit down and talk to children to make up for lack of physical activity, but there’s also some evidence that they are more likely to use better grammar, have better vocabulary themselves and correct children more, unlike other people.”
  6. Rising Autism Spectrum and ADHD Rates – The Center for Disease Control estimates that a shocking 1 in 88 children is now suffering from some form of autism, with ADHD rates following suit. This dramatic spike in developmental disabilities can make it difficult for parents of these special kids to find caregivers who understand the routine and avoidance of triggers that are essential for symptom management. Grandparents who have a close relationship with their grandchildren almost always have a deeper understanding of their grandchild’s needs than a daycare provider or private nanny, making them the ideal choice for caregiver.
  7. Reducing “Working Mommy Guilt” – Even though working outside of the home has been the norm for mothers since the Sexual Revolution, there are pangs of guilt that accompany leaving your small child in the care of a stranger. Knowing that they’re in the care of a loving and capable grandparent can go a long way towards easing this strain, making it more tolerable to maintain a professional career.
  8. Ease of Communication – Learning to communicate effectively with a new nanny or harried childcare provider can be quite difficult; with Grandma, communicating is second nature. Your familiarity with one another and hers with your needs and desires might make her the perfect nanny candidate.
  9. Building and Maintaining Familial Relationships – In order to form a strong bond with their grandparents, children must be able to spend time with them. When Grandma takes over the childcare responsibilities while parents are working, she’s also forging relationships and making precious memories with her grandchildren.
  10. Reducing Separation Anxiety – Little ones that panic at the sight of Mom edging towards the door may not suffer as much when he’s left in the loving, familiar care of a beloved grandparent.

When determining the best course of action regarding a grandparent as childcare provider, the most important factor to consider is health and physical ability; if they’re no longer in relatively good health and aren’t mobile enough to keep up with the little ones, they may be better suited for family visits than full-time childcare provider.

Career Nannies

When you think of babysitters you probably think of high school age kids working part-time to earn some extra money. Maybe you think of the girl down the street who’s grown up before your eyes and is now watching your own kids. What you probably don’t think of is someone who is making a career out of watching kids – and I don’t mean teachers – I mean career nannies.

In a recent LA Times article the idea of the career nanny was explored, focusing on Maile Yoshida, a college graduate holding a degree in Communications who is earning her living – her “salary” if you will – from being a nanny. Charging $20-30 based on various factors, Yoshida makes her living from watching other people’s children… and she’s not just doing it to hold her over until she finds a career.

“This is my means of income,” she said. “This is what I do for my career.”

That’s where sites such as ENannySource and SitterCity come into play – they allow parents to connect with nannies based on a variety of different requirements and needs- from locations to price range to experience and more – all depending on what the parents are looking for in the person who will be watching their children.

The shift in the babysitting/nanny demographic has likely been spurred by a variety of different factors, such as teenagers coming across as increasingly immature in an age focused on social media and staying connected to their friends, or just wanting someone who’s had more life experience.

Whatever the reason, though, the career nanny movement is only gaining momentum and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Do You and Your Children Deserve a Nanny?

It might seem like an odd thing to think about, but do your children deserve the best care?

Do you deserve to be the best parent possible?

The answer to both those questions is, of course, is a resounding YES!

So why not get a nanny? Nannies offer the best personalized care for your child. Much better than setting them down in a crowd of kids at a day care, nannies care for children in their own homes, ensuring a comfortable, nurturing environment. And nannies do so much more than just watch the kids. A good nanny can help them learn, do the day-to-day drudgery that wearies many a working parent, and make sure the kids get to and from activities safely.

For the parents, a nanny can be a huge stress reliever. Imagine having time to spend with your children having fun and enjoying them instead of worrying about homework or dirty clothes. Taking time for yourself isn’t a crime. Kids enjoy being with relaxed, happy parents much more than stressed, angry ones. Do yourself and them a favor and get someone to take some of the pressure off.

You don’t have to be Superman. You don’t have to do everything. You and your kids deserve the best, so give some serious thought to finding the perfect nanny for your home.

Making Nana the Nanny

Having a grandparent watch the kids brings about mixed reviews. One the one hand, there is a level of trust between parents and grandparents that is pre-established versus the trust between parents and a hired nanny that is built as the relationship grows. On the other hand, though, grandparents usually have different and possibly outdated techniques when it comes to raising children and are not as willing to change their parenting style to mimic the parents’ ways.

For the Fedderson’s, who were interviewed recently by the Washington Post, helping raise their grandchildren has flowed smoothly largely because they are willing to step up to the plate when they’re in charge and step back when their daughter and son-in-law are home from work.

“When I’m watching her, they pretty much understand that what I say goes,” Feddersen says. “But when they’re home, I totally back off.”

It’s when you don’t have that balance that things get complicated, with each person imposing their own rules and devaluing the others’ parenting/nannying tactics. 

As long as a high level of respect for the parents’ wishes in regards to how they want their children to be raised stays of the utmost importance, having a grandparent watch the kids is one of the most ideal situations: you save money, your kids have a closer relationship with their grandparents, and you don’t have to worry about background checks and criminal records.

Women Need Nannies, Not Company Cars

A recent article quoted Australian publishing queen Ita Buttrose as saying,

“I am a great believer in packages that include some support for the mother, whether it is a nanny or a housekeeper or whatever,” she said, “You might not get the shares, or you might not get the car, but you balance one out against the other. Of course companies can do it. Women who want to continue their careers and have families should ask for that package from their employer and the workplace needs to think about how they are going to offer it.”

Should companies have an alternative plan for working mothers? Sure! Why not? Why shouldn’t they offer a discount or payment for nanny services instead of a company car or shares? In the long run, this would benefit both the company and the working mom.

“Having a nanny made my life infinitely easier and certainly having someone in my home caring for my son was much better than me dropping him into day care,” she said, “It means there is always someone with the child and if the child is sick and there’s an important meeting, you can still get there. If you occasionally have to work back late your child is not going to starve. You are in charge of the routine then and you know what you are doing with your baby, whereas when you drop your baby into day care it is a different routine.”

If companies want more women on the boardroom (as they should) then they need to get on the ball. Offering care packages and services like that would help working moms to climb the carrier ladder while still providing quality care for their children.

Blogger Seeking Nanny, Help Requested

We are constantly watching the blogosphere and today we came across a blogger that was looking for some help.  Her name is Sabrina Garibian and she is the visionary behind RhodeyGirlTests.com.  Her and her husband Trig had their first baby in September and she has written about some of her adventures on RhodeyGirl Tests.  You can find out more by reading the PhillyBaby section of her blog located here.

Recently she made the following statement:

“I can’t believe it, but it’s already time to start thinking about long term child care.
I feel so sad. I really wish I could just stay home (and not work, since I work from home), but I am not quite ready for that and neither is my wallet. So back to work I go this January.

How do we find a nanny? I need someone in the house with me 2-3 days a week to watch Raffi while I work, bringing him to me for feedings only. Since it is the most important job in the world, we need to make sure we find the perfect candidate.”

She’s received quite a bit of feedback from bloggers and subscribers that largely empathize with her lamenting about the costs and difficulties associated with finding the right solution.  People talk about challenges with finding quality daycare centers and the high costs associated with traditional nanny placement agencies.  However, everyone agrees that the most important thing is to find someone she can trust with her child.

Since she is a working mom and specifically working from home, this presents some challenges.  We did some searching and came across the following article: 10 Challenges for the Nanny of Work from Home Parents from one of the most established online nanny agencies (over 15 years in the business), eNannySource.com.  We thought that this was an interesting angle to the story that RhodeyGirl might appreciate.  We wish her all the best as she seeks a nanny and look forward to reading more of her posts on her blog.