Author Archives: WeNeedaNanny.com.au

About WeNeedaNanny.com.au

Jason is a father of a 3 year old girl and a one year old boy and has 8 years experience in the nanny industry.

What Does It Mean To Hire A Nanny

What is a nanny ? Well, we’re glad you asked. If you’re a parent looking to hire a nanny, knowing exactly what is involved is pretty important. Do you want to hire a nanny, babysitter or au pair ? There’s some big differences between what they are paid and what duties they will perform so it’s important to get it right. Read on to find out all the important information.

 

The overall package

Essentially, a nanny is hired to care for children, keep them safe, feed them, and provide educational and fun activities. Where a babysitter might be used on an ad hoc basis for a few hours at a time, and an au pair is a full-time, live-in carer, nannies tend to fall between the two groups.

 

There’s a whole lot of variation when it comes to nanny jobs, which might be live-in or live-out, and be anything from a few hours a week, to full-time.

 

A nanny is a professional

Babysitting is often a job done by friends, family members or neighbours, and au pair positions often go to travelling students. A nanny is generally considered more of a childcare professional.

 

They may have formal childcare qualifications, should have cleared a Working with Children check, and ideally should have extra skills such as water safety and First Aid. When you hire a nanny, you become an employer, and as such need to adhere to certain conditions, including paying a fair wage. You’ll need to agree on all aspects of the job (hours, wage, overtime, holidays, illness ect) and put it in a contract, which the nanny will sign before starting.

 

Day-to-day nanny work

The exact nature of the role will come down to what you need, and what the nanny agrees to. As an example, your nanny might provide activities to keep your child or children busy (and stimulated ! ), prepare light meals for the children, take them to school or appointments, and have scheduled outings to the park, swimming pool or library. Nannies may potentially stay in a position for years and become a valued part of the family.

 

What they aren’t ?

Unless agreed beforehand in the contract generally a nanny is not your cleaner, or dare we say it, servant ! Never forget it. Cleaning up after the children may be a part of the job. Cooking a three-course meal for you is probably not ! Whatever you want from your nanny, have a chat about it first. If they agree to any non-standard duties, put it into the contract.

 

In these days of escalating childcare costs and limited positions, many people are choosing to hire a nanny, or even share one with another family. Think about what you need, be fair and realistic, and then you should be all set to start your nanny search.

Hiring A Summer Babysitter

Ahh summer… lazy days, balmy evenings and plenty of opportunities to catch up with family and friends for dinner, drinks and lots of sunshine. Hiring a summer babysitter can be different than hiring a babysitter for other times of the year. If you’re hiring a summer babysitter to make the most of the holiday season this year, here are some tips to ensure it’s a smoother than smooth process all round.

 

Plan ahead

Summer can be a busy time, for everyone! If you want a babysitter on a regular or semi-regular basis, discuss your exact needs when you interview. If you’re looking to go on a holiday, or your babysitter is, this needs to be made absolutely clear.

 

Comparing schedules and booking well in advance is important when it comes to in-demand summer babysitters. If for instance you are hiring a young student (with a hectic social life!) the exact nature or scope of the role should be agreed to beforehand, and put in writing. That way there’s less likelihood of last-minute disappointment when your babysitter heads for greener summer pastures.

 

Check the action

Kids have a lot of energy at the best of times – in summer, even more so! If you want a babysitter who can do lots of outdoor activities with the children, chat about this at hiring stage. The value of a fit and healthy babysitter with extreme energy levels should never be underestimated!

 

Think safety

Sun safety and water safety are vital when it comes to kids and summer. Check if your babysitter has a Working with Children check, insurance, training in First Aid, CPR and water safety, and a clear understanding of sun safety, before they head out of the door with your children!

 

If they say they have qualifications, ask to see the certificates. As with any babysitter or nanny, you should ensure they know the house safety precautions as well (where the first aid kit and list of emergency phone contacts are, for example).

 

Be practical

As summer might mean you need a babysitter who can take your children around on lots of outings, you obviously need to check if they have a licence and regular access to a car (unless there is plenty to do in walking distance!).

 

Think about expenditure too. If the babysitter is going to be paying for entrance fees, summer snacks or petrol, they should either be left cash to do so, or reimbursed quickly. Work this out beforehand so there is no ill will.

 

Ready for a smooth summer? Then it sounds like you’re ready to find your summer babysitter.

Nanny Services : Just What Is Involved ?

Whether you’ve been planning to hire a nanny for a while, or have had a sudden burst of inspiration after yet another blurred week of frantic pickups, rushed meals, and barely-there sleep, there are plenty of reasons why it can be a great idea.

 

Before you get a little too carried away with fantasies of nanny services meeting all-round life saviours however, it’s essential to know just what nannies do, what they can do if asked ever so nicely, and yep, what really is just a little too far beyond the pale!

 

So what’s the usual about nanny services ?

A nanny is hired to look after your children, keep them safe and to provide fun and educational activities on a daily basis (and no, that doesn’t mean plonking them in front of the TV for hours on end or chatting to friends on the phone all day!).

 

It’s fairly standard for nanny services to include childcare and if negotiated beforehand school drop-offs and pick-ups, and for a nanny to take your child or children to appointments or other activities as organised. And nannies will generally prepare meals for your children, and clean up play areas and sometimes ( if agreed beforehand ) bedrooms and bathrooms.

 

And what’s not ?

Well, if you’re expecting your nanny to also do the grocery shopping, cook family meals every night, and have your house sparkling when you walk in the door, then unfortunately no, that’s not in the standard book of nanny services (as fabulous as that sounds ! ). Some or all of these things can be negotiated with the nanny at the interview stage but expect to pay a higher hourly rate to include these extras.

 

Are there options ?

Of course. The key when you hire a nanny is to discuss the detail before hiring, and put everything into a contract. This will outline how many children the nanny is going to look after and their ages, include basics such as hours and wages, and provide a full job description of exactly what is included and expected by both parties.

 

Obviously day-to-day activities will vary to a degree, but so long as they – and you – have a clear idea of what’s usual, than it’s going to be much easier all round. Remember too that your nanny should be reimbursed accordingly.

 

If there is something you absolutely, positively would like the nanny to do (a load of washing mid-week will change your life!), than yes, it does come down to asking them from day one. And when we say day one, we mean the interview, and not after you’ve hired them.

 

If you find a nanny who is happy to do non-standard nanny services, then that’s great. However don’t be disappointed, or even surprised, if some will baulk at the idea of grocery shopping, or preparing three-course dinners for the family. Like every other vocation, a nanny is a professional, and in this case, a professional child carer.

 

A final word about nanny services

Above all, clear communication is vital at all stages of the nanny experience. Treat your nanny with respect, and they are much more likely to return the favour, and become a valuable addition to the family.

 

Revealed : Who Really Uses A Nanny These Days ?

If your knowledge of nannies is limited to Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, it might be time to re-evaluate. Sure the idea of a nanny might seem to go hand in hand with English-style formality and rather expansive mansions, but in truth, nannies are now an option for anyone who needs childcare.

 

So just why are nannies so popular?

 

The childcare dilemma

So you’ve no doubt heard that childcare places are rarer than tantrum-free toddlers. It’s no exaggeration to say that childcare centres are very busy, under-resourced and yes, rather expensive.

 

For those looking for early childcare, it’s essential to apply while you’re pregnant, and even then it can take well over a year (often several) to be offered a place. Some people have better luck with council-run family day care programs, but these too require early applications – and patience – as carers look after much smaller groups of children.

 

The cost is another factor that is prohibitive for many. While there is some government support available, it’s mean-tested and capped, so that even with Centrelink assistance, the amount you are paying is likely to be a significant portion of your wage. For a lot of parents in fact, housing costs and childcare are the two biggest outlays.

 

How a nanny can help

And that’s why many more people are considering a nanny these days. With childcare places so hard to come by, and no guarantee of one even with an early application, a nanny can be a great alternative.

 

You can hire a nanny as soon as needed and for the exact days and hours you require. You can personally choose a nanny that fits your childcare values, and check references so that you know exactly who is looking after your child. And you have the added convenience, which should never be underestimated, of having childcare at home without the need for excessive travel.

 

Share and save

Now if you can see the benefit of a nanny, but are deterred by the cost, you might also consider sharing your nanny with others. If you have friends or colleagues who are in need of childcare, there is always the option of hiring a nanny between you and rotating the care between homes.

 

This option does require some agreement in terms of days and hours, but it’s certainly a great alternative to traditional childcare. And it’s just another reason why nannies are used by more and more parents.

Kids And Dogs : Do They Mix ?

For dog lovers, it’s often the big question : Do dogs and kids mix ? The answer, well, there’s no clear one.

 

Different breeds do have different temperaments, and within that, dogs in the same breed may differ in nature too. As with all aspects of parenting, the key is to do your research, ask for professional advice where needed (preferably before letting them loose on each other!) and always use common sense.

 

The best breeds

There are a number of dog breeds that have a reputation as great family dogs, with Labradors, beagles, bulldogs, golden retrievers and pugs being some of the most popular.

 

Do bear in mind that you should also consider if the dog is suitable for your lifestyle. An active dog that needs regular exercise and a large yard is obviously not a great option if you’re in an apartment, even if they are the most child-friendly dog around.

 

Before deciding on any dog, think not just about if the dog will be good for your family, but if your home will be good for the dog.

 

Personality traits

Any dog, regardless of their breed, does need to be trained (at least to some extent). Most vets run puppy training schools which are great for newly arrived pups.

 

If you are looking to bring home an older dog (we love rescue dogs), do ask for their profile before you commit. You want to find out if they are trained and if they have any particular traits you need to know about. A dog that is needy for instance, may suddenly become a lot more demanding when a baby arrives and they don’t have your full attention.

 

When dog comes first

Of course, if you already have a dog before your children have arrived, don’t despair if they aren’t high up on the list of child-friendly options. There are plenty of dogs that are absolutely fine with kids, even if they still prefer to curl up next to you.

 

If you do have any concerns about your dog’s behaviour, pre or post-children, do speak to your vet, to see if there is anything that can be done to calm the dog if needed, or help make a better transition to a family household. And if they do show signs of aggressive behaviour, it’s essential to seek professional advice immediately.

 

Kids and dogs can be great together, and there are plenty of benefits of bringing a canine friend into the family. An active dog will help the family stay active; children can learn to care for animals, and the unbounded loyalty and affection of a dog will never go astray.

After School Care : Some Helpful Tips

So you’re ready to start the school years. While in some respects it promises to be easier than the early child care dilemmas you may have navigated, after school child care can also be a tricky area ( yep, not what you wanted to hear ! ).

 

Demand is high and places are limited. And that’s why many parents look to other options. To find great after school child care, why not think outside the square? A babysitter, nanny or even a shared arrangement with family members or friends might be just the solution you need.

 

Family and friends

Family and friends are often the first point of call when looking for after school child care. Ask around to see if there is anyone who might be interested. You might be surprised who responds.

 

Look to other parents

Once you have started school and have got to know the other parents, you might even suggest sharing the care. Perhaps you could look after a few kids one afternoon a week, with each parent having a dedicated day. It’s certainly an option when money is tight and one that many parents find easy and convenient.

 

Hire a babysitter – or two

For those without available friends or family members, a babysitter is often the first option for after school care, but if you’re having trouble finding someone who is regularly available on the days you need, why not split the job. You may have more luck finding two people who are available for a few shifts each, and as a bonus, there could be a backup should one of them ever be unavailable.

 

University students can sometimes be a good option here. Just be sure to check references, and outline the exact nature of the role. If you do need someone to pick up the kids after school for instance, you may need someone older who has their own car.

 

Get professional

For a more qualified level of child care, especially for multiple children, you may want to consider hiring a nanny. Just be aware that as soon as you hire anyone on a permanent basis (even if they are part-time) you are legally an employer, so you will need to deduct tax, and ideally have a contract.

 

Of course, whichever path you choose for after school child care, it’s worth keeping your options open, and remaining flexible. You might have thought you’d only ever be comfortable with grandparent support for instance, only to find a great nanny who is affordable, professional and an asset to the whole family.

Common Babysitter Problems And How To Avoid Them

Good communication is imperative when you hire someone to look after your children, be it a full-time nanny or occasional babysitter. You love your children, you know them better than anyone else, and you’re pretty darn sure you know what’s best for them, thank you very much!

 

So when a babysitter suddenly does something to disrupt your best-laid plans, it can be more than a little frustrating. Rather than fire them on the spot though, it’s better to stay calm – and communicate.

 

Here are the most common problems with some great advice on how to get through them.

 

Ignoring your preferences

One shining example is when a sitter ignores your preferences, such as with the discipline strategy.

 

The first step in avoiding this issue is to bring it up at interview stage. Ask the sitter how they discipline, share how you do it and see if they are happy to follow your lead. If you don’t discuss things properly first, there are bound to be issues. We are all different after all and have been raised in different ways!

 

If you seem to be on the same page but still find the sitter is doing things their way, sit down and ask them why. You might review your strategy for certain situations. Or if needed, run through some specific examples to show them exactly what you mean.

 

Scheduling tactics

We all know that a schedule is pretty much a parent’s best friend. You need to run through the schedule before the sitter starts work, to make sure they are clear on all details. It can be a good idea to write this down and leave a copy with them at all times.

 

If the sitter seems to be doing things that are disrupting your preferred schedule, you’ll need to sit down and have a chat. You may find they have a very good reason to do what they are doing. Re-evaluate the schedule and check that your expectations are fair and reasonable.

 

Money, money, money

Money can certainly be a tricky one. As before, setting out all aspects of the pay (including overtime and pay reviews) is essential before your sitter starts, and if they are going to be working permanently for you, a contract is a smart idea.

 

Calm and controlled

In dealing with your nanny or sitter, the most important thing is good communication from day one.

 

You have a lot riding on the success of this relationship, and when it’s about your children’s welfare, you are obviously emotionally involved. Good preparation and patience will help see you through and hopefully build a successful relationship for everyone.

How To Find The Perfect Nanny Job

Just as parents need to make some effort to find the perfect nanny, nannies who take the time to thoroughly prepare for the job search and interview process are going to be in a much better position to find that perfect nanny job.

 

Here are just a few tips to help you get to the interview stage for a nanny job, and beyond.

 

Decide on what you want

The first step is to be clear on what sort of job you want before you start applying. Write down a list that covers your available days and hours, your flexibility, suitable locations (or how far you are happy to travel), ideal wage bracket, preferred number and age of children.

 

Consider if you are flexible enough to adapt your nannying style to different households. And finally, write a list of things you definitely don’t want to do (cleaning for instance).

 

The job search

Once you have a clear focus, it’s time to start the job search. Narrow down job listings into those that best fit your criteria. Prepare yourself before making the call and always phone with a pen and paper next to you so that you can write down notes and confirm interview date, address and a contact number.

 

The first impression

First impressions count. As a nanny, you’ll be interacting with children, so you need clothes that fit the bill. Having said that, professionalism pays, so for the interview opt for something like smart pants and a nice shirt rather than anything too casual.

 

Always arrive a few minutes early, and if there is a completely unforeseen circumstance that means you’ll be late, phone ahead immediately.

 

Fully prepare

Before heading to the interview, read the advertisement again to be sure you are clear on the basic facts, and write down a list of questions. Asking questions will help clarify all aspects of the role, and show that you are interested and enthusiastic.

 

Practice makes perfect

During an interview you will be asked an assortment of questions, and it’s a good idea to have a think about possible answers beforehand. The following are just a few examples of the sorts of questions you might come across:

  • What do you like about being a nanny?
  • What sort of role are you after long-term?
  • Can you give me an example of a problem or emergency in a previous role, and how you handled it?
  • What do you think would be the best way to handle my child if they had a tantrum in the park?
  • Why did you leave your last position?

 

Interviews can be daunting, so breathe deeply and try and remain calm. When you are calm, it’s much easier to stay focused and answer questions easily, without being left blank due to nerves.

 

Just remember the people interviewing you for a nanny job are doing so because they want to get to know you – and not to terrify you ! Finally, always be friendly and polite; and a follow up call or email is always a good idea.

 

How To Write A Great Nanny Job Application

There’s a lot of demand for the best nanny jobs these days so here are some tips on how to write a great nanny job application.

When you are writing any job application, it pays to be succinct, informative and always professional. These are traits every nanny should remember when applying for a job.

Writing a great nanny job application will help you get to the interview stage, and ensure you’re seen in the best light when applying for your ideal position.

 

Reference the advertised position

When applying for a job, reference the job ad in your application. Start any application letter by introducing yourself and stating that you are applying for the advertised role. The rest of the letter will essentially be about your experience and suitability for the particular position, which is why each application needs to be tailored.

 

Whatever you do, don’t use the same application letter each time. A tailored application shows you have a strong interest not just in nannying, but in working for this particular family. It needs to be personalised i.e. if parents mention the name(s) of their children then you should also mention them in your application. It shows you have read the job ad thoroughly and will give you a huge advantage over other nannies who are also applying.

Also make sure you apply for quite a few jobs as well to improve your chances. A lot of the best nanny jobs ads are receiving over 20 applicants at the moment so competition is high.

Application Letter

An application should always lists your qualifications and relevant experience. The letter is where you include other details such as why you are interested in this position, and why you believe you are suitable.

 

Do be professional in what you write, keep to the point, and whatever you do, don’t waffle, use jargon, or be too casual.

 

Show examples

Rather than just listing experience, enhance your application by including a description of what previous roles entailed. Instead of just saying childcare for two boys for instance, be specific. Include the ages of the children and duties such as picking them up from school, park excursions and meal preparation.

 

If you have a knack for creative arts, don’t be shy in mentioning it. Anything that’s varied and positive can help demonstrate your skills and experience.

 

Be positive about your assets

While you don’t want to appear conceited or arrogant, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with highlighting your strengths. If you have been told many times that you are organised and efficient, say so. If you are passionate about always being on time, you might mention that too.

 

A final word

To summarise, the letter is the place to succinctly say why you are applying for this role, what you’ve done previously that makes you suitable, and to clarify your available hours and other relevant details.

 

Above all, you need to be enthusiastic, positive and polite, and you do need to be genuine. Any prospective family is going to want to hear in your nanny application just what you love about being a nanny, and why you want to work for them!

The Essential List Of What To Leave Your Babysitter

It’s both daunting and exciting tasting freedom for the first time after having a baby. Ok, freedom may seem a tad melodramatic, and of course there’s nothing better than spending time with your child, but you’ve got to admit that for sanity’s sake, some solely adult time is pretty important.

 

Once you’ve chosen a babysitter, there’s one more step that can help everything go smoothly, and ensure you’re not stressing the entire time you’re away from home.

 

Here’s our guide for what to leave your babysitter, so you’re not left in dire panic mode!

 

Phone numbers

It may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many people forget to leave a full list of essential phone numbers. As a guide, your essentials phone list should include:

  • Emergency numbers (ambulance, police, fire).
  • Mother’s work number and mobile.
  • Father’s work number and mobile.
  • Other relevant numbers (such as trusted neighbours, family doctor, close relative).

 

Family details

It’s a good idea to write down the family details, including the full names of mother, father and all children. Include the children’s ages. It’s also very important to write down (and obviously discuss) any medical conditions, medications or allergies.

 

Schedule

While you’ll no doubt go through the schedule with your babysitter face-to-face, it can be a lot of information to take in at once and writing it down gives them something to rely on.

 

Include meal times, bath time and of course, bed times. We all know children don’t run to the clock, but trying to keep to a usual schedule will make it easier, both for the children, and the babysitter.

 

Household list

You might also write down a list of where to find basic items in the house. Band-Aids, extra toilet paper, spare pyjamas in the case of an accident?

 

While you know where everything is kept, your new babysitter is not going to. They may not need anything on the list the first, or first few visits, but it’s good to keep it as a backup for that one-off incident further down the track.

 

A thankyou

You are likely to be paying your babysitter so this is not essential, but it can be nice to leave them a treat for when they have got the children to bed – a piece of cake, some biscuits and cheese, or even a DVD or magazines. And no, a bottle of wine is never a good idea when they’re on childcare duty !

 

Can you add to this list? What do you leave for a babysitter?