Hiring a Nanny - The Nanny's View

I was a nanny. In fact, I left a teaching position in a small private school to accept the job. I wanted to try living in a totally different city and taking the nanny position gave me an income, a place to live and a car to drive.

Honestly, I was tired of spending 10 hours a day trying to teach kids who weren't really interested. I was ready for a change, but I knew I could still have an impact on a child's life. When I saw an ad in our local paper that a family was hiring a nanny, I realized this job would let me do all of that, plus cook in a gourmet kitchen to boot!

I left my family to move in with someone else's family. Little did I know that these people would become as dear to me as the brothers and sisters I left behind. You see, a nanny gets to share in the life of the family she works for, all the while sharing her life and experiences with them. I was able to try latkes and brisket (dishes I now make as part of my holiday celebrations) for the first time, while my family had their first taste of French meat pie. I met people I would never have met, I went places I never could have gone, and I tried things I would never have thought of. My young charge shared in all of this while being cared for in her own home. She knew who would be there if she was ill, who would take her to dance class and who would tuck her in when Mom and Dad had to work late hours.

Now, finding and hiring a nanny is not an easy task. Whether you go through an agency, place an ad or hire a friend, some of the key issues are listed here.

Before Hiring a Nanny, Know the Maximum Number of Work Hours Needed Per Week

Before hiring a nanny, you should have a general idea of how many hours a week, maximum, you'll need her to work. If you have a schedule that changes frequently, be sure to mention that up front and be sure your nanny can accommodate that. When your schedule does change or emergencies come up, let the nanny know as soon as you can. This can be especially important with a live in nanny; she may end up feeling trapped or taken for granted in you don't extend this simple courtesy.

Nanny Pay

This issue should be decided up front. You should know what you can afford to pay before you start looking. Do your homework. See what type of fees and salaries agencies are getting for their placements. If a friend has a nanny, ask what she pays. A live in nanny generally gets a weekly salary, including room and board. Some families include the use of a car and it's expenses as a perk. If your nanny must use her own vehicle during her care of your child, be sure to compensate her accordingly. Nannies who live out are generally paid on an hourly scale. Au pairs tend to get lower weekly salaries, but you often pay their travel expenses to and from their country of origin. Be sure to check on all federal and local tax regulations concerning withholding and social security. You and your nanny will have to pay these in order for you to claim her salary as a childcare deduction on your income tax return.

Discipline/Child Rearing Issues

You'll need to discuss in clear terms what is and is not acceptable when disciplining your child. The same should be done for key issues like TV time, naps, snacks, etc. Be sure they are understood from the beginning and check to make sure they are being followed.

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