Preparing your Kids and Home for your Nanny’s Arrival
More than 200,000 people in the U.S. work as nannies. These professional childcare workers nurture thousands of kids so that their parents can work. While many of us grew up with stereotypical ideas of images of nannies with a face like Mary Poppins, the fact is that nannies include both sexes and adults of all ages; even high school students work as nannies today.
It’s not uncommon for many families to invite a caretaker into their family so that the children can be cared for in the comfort and safety of their own homes. Nannies fulfill a much-needed and, frequently, much-loved role in the families they serve. It can be exciting to invite someone into your home to play such an integral part in the household, but there are many things to keep in mind before your nanny’s arrival. We’ll discuss them here.
Today, single parents and working parents opt to hire a nanny to care for their children. One of the key benefits of hiring a nanny to work in your home is that you, the parent, are also the employer. That means that you get to relate your own plan and expectations for childcare, which is not always the case when enrolling children in daycare. Nannies provide care that’s customizable to the child and the parent’s values and needs.
Moreover, many parents love that the nanny can provide individualized attention to their child or children. This often leads to enriching bonds between the kids and their nanny or au pair. It’s also convenient for parents to have a child caretaker working in their home, someone who knows the routine and can contribute to the household’s smooth functioning.
Today, some nannies wear baseball caps or have purple hair. Others wear sensible shoes and may even instruct their charges in a foreign language. There is a diverse range of individuals who work as nannies and au pairs today.
Many families turn to high school-age students to work as part-time caretakers. These students might provide childcare after school, evenings, and weekends, much like traditional ‘babysitters.’ However, they may work a set schedule, helping parents who work late or on-call hours.
Many college-aged young adults earn income working as a nanny. They’re often able to work around classes or devote their summers to this type of job. College students enjoy this type of work because it’s reliable, flexible, and usually quite enjoyable.
Nannies, regardless of age, are often so young at heart and full of liveliness. This goes to prove that age in a nanny hardly matters. What can matter, however, is experience. Many nannies in an older demographic have considerable experience with children. They may have worked as nannies before, raised children of their own, or even retired from a teaching profession.
It’s not uncommon for grandparents or aunts/uncles to work as child caregivers for young family members. This practice is a tradition among many families and in many cultures.
Many families require the services of a full-time nanny. When parents work long hours, it’s helpful to have a single caregiver providing the children with seamless nurturing and support.
An au pair is usually someone between the ages of 18 and 30 who opts to travel to work internationally as a nanny. They can soak up the new culture, immerse themselves in a new environment, and earn income by providing childcare for an individual family in return for a cultural experience.
These are the main ‘nanny’ options. You can decide which type of childcare arrangement is right for your family.
As you consider who to hire for the crucial job of caring for your kids, you’ll want to think about your needs. How many hours per day/week do you need to depend on a professional nanny to take care of your children while you work or travel? Once you know how much help you need, you can consider other factors for hiring a nanny.
The average pay for a nanny varies by state. The average annual full-time nanny working in New York is slightly more than $35,000 per year. In many states, nannies earn anywhere from $12 to $17 per hour. You’ll want to determine your employment budget before interviewing prospective nannies.
It’s important to let prospective nannies know upfront when you will require their services. Do you want them to live in your home, for instance, and provide on-call service? Many parents who work in dynamic fields like medicine often rely on nannies who can provide a robust level of availability.
It’s essential for many parents that their kids are comfortable with their nanny. Therefore, it’s not unusual for families to include the kids in the selection process somehow.
A lot of research goes into choosing a nanny, and with good reason. You’ll be inviting this person into your home to care for what’s most precious to you. To make the right decision for your family, keep these tips in mind:
A comprehensive background check is a crucial step. Never hire someone to care for your children of any age before you perform a background check or have written proof from a nanny agency that they have completed an extensive background check.
How much experience caring for children is important to you in a prospective nanny or au pair? If your child is a newborn or has special needs, you may wish to hire someone who has experience with these situations.
Always require formal references that you can check for their integrity.
- Are you trained in pedagogy? (i.e., Montessori)
- Do you drive?
- Are you comfortable with pets?
- Are you open to performing light housekeeping duties? (i.e., meal preparation)
- Are you trained in CPR?
- How do you manage a temper tantrum?
- What would you do if the child comes down with a fever?
- How do you comfort a crying infant?
- What would you do if a child fell and hit their head?
- What are your rates? Do you charge overtime rates?
- When do you propose to take a vacation?
- What days or times off do you require?
After you hire your new nanny, you’ll want to prepare your children for the arrival. Be sure to discuss things such as:
Safety Precautions. Your kids need to understand your rules regarding safety. Remind them about your expectations when it comes to safety and security.
Activities. Talk to your kids about the activities that your nanny may have planned. You may also wish to have activities lined up to help your kids, and the new nanny gets to know each other.
Reassurance. Many kids may feel apprehensive about a new caretaker coming to their home. Reassure them and let them know what to expect and how much time you took to choose the ideal nanny for your home.
Reminders. Remind your children how important it is that they tell you about anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
When your nanny arrives at your home, take time to:
Perform Introductions. Invite your nanny to introduce themself to the children. Ask the children to present themselves too.
Establish Ground Rules. It can be helpful to establish your ground rules for the kids while they’re in the presence of the nanny. This can help alleviate the inevitable “my mom lets me do it” or “my dad says that’s okay.”
To help ensure that your new nanny transitions comfortably to your home and caring for your child or children, you should prepare your house for the nanny’s arrival.
Groceries. Be sure that you have plenty of groceries in stock in your home so that your nanny has no trouble providing your kids with the meals and snacks you prefer for your kids.
Baby Products. Always have plenty of diapers, baby wipes, and other baby essentials if you have an infant.
Schedule. Create an easy-to-read schedule for your nanny. Include all the essential elements like nap times, school pickup times, mealtimes, etc.
Information List. Have a list of emergency numbers for your nanny. In fact, you may want to have a couple of copies.
Nannies Get Hungry Too. Be considerate. Have adult-friendly food for your nanny. Save the chicken tenders for the kids.
Extra Keys. Provide your nanny with extra keys to your home.
Petty Cash. Be sure to leave some petty cash for the nanny. Don’t expect this person to pay for treats at the baseball field or pool out of their own pocket.
If you’ve invited an au pair into your home, you might want to perform a few extras. For instance, you may wish to specially prepare their own room and provide their own sheets and towels. Consider creating a support plan for them and providing them with information about amenities in the community. You can also present them with a welcome gift to help them feel more at home.
When your nanny arrives, you’ll want to address some of the basics. Don’t overlook these crucial tips:
Discuss your home’s safety and security measures. Be sure your nanny understands how to work your alarm system if you have one and understands how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
Talk about your transportation expectations and transportation safety. You may want to familiarize your nanny with your children’s car seats, for instance.
Talk to your nanny about your kids’ routine. Naturally, some days may involve different activities. Put this routine in writing so that your nanny can refer to it easily.
Explain your house rules as well as rules for the kids. You may not wish for kids’ friends to come into the house when you aren’t home. You may have television rules or other rules that you want to put in an easy-to-reference list.
Use this handy guide before and after you hire a new nanny. It can help you avoid forgetting anything important. Your nanny will likely appreciate all the work you did to make caring for your children as easy as possible.
Originally posted in Porch.com