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.