Do You Have What It Takes to be a Full-Time Nanny?December 26, 2013 | in Nanny
Although they might take a lot of them, becoming a full-time nanny is no walk in the park. This is a professional position, with professional responsibilities and professional compensation. And, for the right candidate, it also has a fair amount of personal enjoyment. Making a connection with and becoming a positive influence in a young life can be an incredible and rewarding experience.
There is a list of generally accepted nanny requirements; 18 years of age, high school diploma (or equivalent), good health, child-related experience (educational, practical or both) and the ability to legally work in the US are just the start. However, a serious candidate has to carefully consider whether this is the career she wants to take on. Not only are the responsibilities heady, with children’s safety and security at stake, but little ones quickly form bonds with their caregivers, so dabbling and then quitting without notice or much thought to the upheaval it can cause can throw a family’s household into chaos while they scramble to find a replacement.
Live-In vs. Live-Out
Contrary to popular belief, most nannies do not live in the household with the family. Those that do choose to accept a live-in position typically have a slightly smaller salary in exchange for the benefit of having a place to live. If you take on a live-in position, you need to be flexible with your privacy needs. Sleeping quarters apart from the children’s is a standard, though a private non-shared bathroom is not guaranteed. You also need to be strong about boundaries, as children (and occasionally parents) may need to be reminded you’re not on duty 24/7. Make sure a detailed, written work agreement includes any sort of conduct rules the family has for the house regarding visitors, legally drinking (when not on duty, or in the hours before), curfews, private food prep and storage areas, etc.
A Full-Time Job and Then Some
Nannies are expected to work a full 40 hours each week at a minimum. However, many caregivers are asked to cover additional hours or come in an extra day here or there in a pinch, since the kids are already accustomed to their nanny. In these cases, in order to pay the nanny legally, the family should compensate the caregiver for these additional hours at a pay rate of time and a half.
*If the nanny is paid a flat rate per week, this should be divided by 40 (which should equal at least the state minimum hourly rate according to the Fair Labor Standards Act). Overtime pay would then be this rate times 150%.
Do You Do Windows? Know Your Duties
While most nannies are not asked to do housework, aside from that which is required to clean up after the kids, this rule is not written in stone. It is, however, often an expectation that the nanny will plan, create and clean up after meals for the children. Some parents, on the other hand, will request that a nanny provide both childcare and full housekeeping services. Shopping, driving and covering playdates are further duties that may need to be negotiated. Duties should be discussed in detail during the hiring process and listed in a nanny work agreement so there is no confusion at a later time.
No Fear of Commitment
Full-time nannies will quickly bond with their charges. Families who take on nannies usually request at least a year-long commitment to start the relationship, though they might intend to engage a nanny’s services until the kids reach school age (barring any younger siblings coming on the scene). In other words, becoming a full-time nanny is not something you want to embark on if you have plans for further education or moving from the area within a few months.
However, if you have the skills and experience to qualify as a nanny but don’t want to commit to a long-term position, temporary or fill-in nannies are highly sought after to fill in for nannies who have family emergencies, unforeseen illnesses or other temporary conflicts. Even shorter term options can be very lucrative, especially for those willing to join families on vacation. Travel nannies charge a premium and can usually eke out a few hours of private time to enjoy the destination during the stay, though it is certainly not a lax endeavor as parents are footing the bill to ensure they get some downtime and might have high expectations.
The bottom line? If you meet the minimum accepted criteria, love caring for children, have the experience and know-how, and are willing to make a significant commitment to a family, you may have what it takes to be a full-time nanny and it may be worth putting yourself to the test.← 100 Easy Seasonal Arts and Crafts for Kids | How Old is Too Old When Hiring a Nanny? →
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