Concerns about childcare are one of the most stressful considerations for new, first time working parents. Research into childcare options begins early in pregnancy, if not before! Looking at your lifestyle and schedules through the prism of childcare options is a daunting endeavor.
Is a nanny really the best choice for your family?
Childcare in Your Home
Morning routines for working parents are already stressful - that time from rising to leaving the home is chock full of hurry and bustle. Before children many couples are already feeling the morning stress. Factor in waking a baby and attending to her needs, packing the diaper bag, prepping bottles and the like, and a nanny in your home sounds like heaven.
Child to Caregiver Ratios
New parents are automatically attracted to the individualized care that a nanny can provide to their child. When baby is distressed she is immediately soothed. When baby is hungry she is immediately fed. No waiting while the caregiver attends to other children in a group care setting. If mom or dad cannot be there in person, knowing that there is another adult caregiver whose sole focus is the baby is soothing.
Laundry, Bottles and More...
While a nanny's primary job focus is on baby care, she will routinely understand that the baby's laundry, bottle prep and other child related household tasks are part of her job description. The idea of coming home to clean bottles, baby laundry done and put away is undeniably appealing, especially in contrast to coming home tired and hungry after baby pickup from a care center with a diaper bag of dirty clothes and empty and dirty bottles!
Hours that Match Your Schedule
Most childcare centers and family day cares have firm and fixed hours of operation - something along the lines of 7 am until 6 pm. We know, however, that many work schedules don't follow the standard 9 - 5 work day. Medical professionals routinely work multiple 12 hour shifts for example. The beauty of employing a nanny includes the ability to schedule her work time to be compatible with your own.
Sick Child Care
Family day care and group childcare centers have strict sick child rules that are intended to protect the health of the other children and staff in the facility. A nanny on the other hand expects to care for the mildly ill child - common fevers, colds, ear infections and the like. New parents are often caught off guard planning for sick child care. Do consider that caring for the sick child carries the inherent risk that you or the nanny can become ill too. Do be generous with sick leave for your nanny, and do have a backup plan in place for when, not if, the nanny catches the stomach bug and cannot come to work.
Nanny Care Not All a Bed of Roses...
There are undeniable benefits and conveniences to choosing a nanny to care for your child. There are of course other items to bear in mind.
A nanny is the most expensive form of childcare
Salaries vary tremendously across the country, where in major metropolitan areas a nanny will earn $15 - $25 an hour, and in lower cost of living areas $12 - $18 per hour. Don't forget to factor in overtime - nannies are hourly employees! The nanny is your employee, so the IRS and state government will expect about 10% of the nanny's salary from you, the employer. Workers' Compensation insurance, additional coverage on your auto policy if your nanny will drive, and the financial cost of back-up child care when nanny is sick or on her own vacation are other financial considerations.
Share a Nanny?
Many families who want a nanny but cannot afford a dedicated nanny turn to a nanny share - where 2 families share the services of the same nanny in one of the families' homes.
Jealousy and Privacy
On a personal level, the nanny will likely form a strong bond with your child - and jealousy is a real risk. Not only is jealousy uncomfortable for the parent, but it can also create underlying stress in the parent's relationship with the nanny. A nanny is also working in your home and privy to some intimate details of your life; do factor in the loss of privacy in your decision.
When you hire a nanny you become an employer!
Yes, that's right, you are now the boss, and with that comes responsibility. Nannies are legally protected by minimum wage and overtime laws, and properly handling the taxes and paperwork can be a huge headache. Fortunately, we are here to help with that. Contact us to learn more about your responsibilities and the services we offer. Fortunately, you can just go ahead and simplify this task and concentrate on your family, work and relationship with your nanny.