Finding and hiring a nanny or babysitter for the first time can feel daunting. But which type of carer is best? There are lots of things to consider. Consider your family dynamic, individual personalities, your practical needs, and your lifestyle – and that’s before you start looking!
Whether you are going back to work and need a full-time nanny, or are simply looking for a part-time babysitter, there is no roadmap. But there are ways to make the journey a rewarding experience. The most important thing is to take your time and not rush the decision.
Finding the right nanny for your family is an investment and can be rewarding for you, your family, and the carer.
Starting the journey
A good place to begin your search is to first determine the needs of your family. This allows you to search for a caregiver who reflects your values, respects your family culture and can make decisions aligned with your beliefs. Every parent wants a carer that can provide a warm, loving and caring environment. What does this look like to you?
Caregivers don’t just care for your child, they also contribute to your family’s lifestyle. To help you consider the types of caregiver that are right for your lifestyle, we’ve outlined them below:
Understanding the different kinds of care
1. Babysitter or part-time nanny
A babysitter or part-time nanny is perfect if you want to have some alone time as parents on a regular basis (which can be difficult for any family). A flexible arrangement means you can take time for ‘you’ while your family is well looked after.
What’s the difference between a babysitter and a nanny?
Generally, a babysitter needs tailored instructions for short-term engagements. A casual or part-time nanny has the skills and experience to provide structured care over a longer period of time. All carers though should be considered as a new addition to your family.
Engaging a babysitter or casual nanny has many positives even if they are intermittent. You can engage a few of them so you have backup. You can add benefits for them such as leaving money for home delivery, access to movies (or a pool if you have one). They often become a friend for your children, and may be a ‘Godsend’ when it comes to helping with the homework.
Engaging a part-time nanny is great if you have a regular schedule. The more you set regular expectations, the more freedom you will have to enjoy the lifestyle you desire. This could allow you to apply for a part-time job, work from home, study a course, or schedule catch-ups with friends.
Imagine a little extra help running the household so you can enjoy better ‘quality time’ with your family.
If you think a part-time nanny could work for you, consider the following:
- Ensure commitments are made around the role and your schedules. Make your expectations clear. Part-time nannies may have other jobs, work for several families, or be studying, so it’s beneficial to both of you that the schedule you outline is clear.
- It can be a better alternative to a childcare centre, who often want a minimum commitment or only offer set days. HIring a nanny lets you pick the days your child is cared for, rather than having to navigate schedules to meet childcare centre requirements.
- Just like a full-time nanny, it’s worth taking the time to source the right person. It may take some time to get the right fit (think schedules and personalities) but once you do they’ll likely become part of your family.
- Don’t expect a babysitter or part-time nanny to be available at a moment’s notice. They may not be able to come if there’s a last-minute outing planned, or your schedule is erratic.
- If you know your schedule is likely to increase, have the conversation up front. Then when the time comes, they may be more willing or able to take on more hours or responsibilities.
2. Full-time, live-out nanny
A full-time, live-out nanny can be the perfect balance between building a strong connection to reliable care, and having the space to enjoy alone time with your beautiful family.
While a full-time nanny will be more engaged with your family than a part-time nanny or babysitter, it’s still important to understand what care your family needs, rather than expecting Mary Poppins!
While your nanny won’t live-in, they may still cover many of your needs, such as care before or after school (or during the day for younger children). Then you can negotiate other tasks and times that are consistent with the level of childcare and support you need. All particulars need to be outlined in the contract, including start times and end times.
Considerations for a full-time, live-out nanny:
- You can retain more personal privacy, and maintain a professional, working arrangement.
- Be clear on what tasks are being filled by the nanny, so you have more time to concentrate on the needs of your family.
- While it’s important to set clear working expectations with the nanny, the most important relationship is between the nanny and your children. While it’s beneficial that you like them and get along with them, make sure that your children respond positively to the new addition.
- A nanny who works full-time will likely need a car. Some will have their own vehicle, while others will not. Transportation and car usage needs to be factored into the contract.
- They will become part of your routine. They will know your child’s likes and dislikes, their temperament and daily activities, but you will still have private family time for activities and bonding.
It’s important to establish a strong relationship early so that expectations are met between you and the carer. Communication is critical, but the more you invest in the relationship, the more rewarding it will be for your family.
3. Full-time, live-in nanny
Having a nanny that lives with your family can be an amazing experience. Imagine how much your children will develop as their connection with the nanny deepens. Some of the incredible benefits of this holistic approach can include:
- Creation of a more cohesive, safe and stimulating environment for the child, as the nanny integrates more into the day-to-day responsibilities of caring for the child and supporting the family.
- The nanny will be more involved and aware of the child’s developmental requirements, such as engaging in playgroups, life skills, learning and sporting activities.
- Familiarity and trust will develop both ways, as the nanny grows and integrates with the child and the family.
- Household chores should be a consideration and not an expectation. Talk with your nanny about meal preparation, related laundry, after-play clean-ups and transportation duties.
- Food and accommodation, and other expenses and benefits related to the role, can be considered with the salary package and contract.
- Freedom for your family and the nanny to negotiate the terms of their engagement and scope of their involvement within the family unit.
- More availability and flexibility to meet routine needs as well as impromptu and emergency situations.
Whilst there are the obvious benefits of having around-the-clock assistance, you will have less privacy and space in your home. You’re also obligated to ensure that your nanny has everything legally, including food, amenities, their own time and privacy.
Remember that while you may develop a great connection with your nanny, you must always maintain a working relationship and ensure their rights as a worker are met.
Let the journey begin!
Once you decide which type of caregiver is right for your family, and welcome them into your lives, they will feel so much more than simply a nanny or babysitter. They will be an educator, a nutritionist, an activity coordinator, a researcher, or tutor. They may even, over time, become a friend and trusted member of your family!