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Do You Need Nanny Services?

Important Strategies for Working Families

These days, many families are seeking childcare alternatives related to COVID-19 concerns. Employing a nanny and sharing nanny services with another family are popular choices. Finding someone to spend hours with your children and take part in their upbringing is a serious endeavor. 

Here are some tips for hiring a nanny for your family or sharing childcare services.

Hiring a Nanny

Be clear about your needs. Would you like your nanny to work part-time or full-time? Do you need her to be available at night? How about weekends and holidays? Do you need a live-in nanny? Will the nanny focus exclusively on childcare, or are you looking for someone to also help tutor a child? Do you seek a nanny who will do housekeeping? Knowing your needs upfront will make for better candidate interviews and a fairer job offer.

Know your budget. What can you afford to pay a nanny? Live-in nannies are often more affordable, but that person will need a private space and essentially will become part of the family. Is this option feasible for your household? If not, know you’ll pay a little more for a nanny who comes and goes with your schedule.

Research legal requirements. A nanny is your employee, and should be compensated as such. Laws on taxes, benefits, and insurance, including workers compensation and other concerns are unique to each state; know what Virginia requires. Never break the law to pay a nanny under the table. Nothing good will come of this decision for you or the person you hire.

Choose candidates wisely. Word of mouth is an excellent way to find a good nanny, so ask around. Friends and family members may know of an experienced nanny and have insight into how they care for children. Always do a background check. Ask for references from past employers and then call those references and discuss the nanny.

You can find nannies through online sources, but only search for nannies on reputable websites. Look through nanny services near you in the BBB directory to find ratings and reviews.

Arrange to meet. Ensuring your children and the nanny get along is another important step in the hiring process. Arrange a meeting and then take a step back to observe. If the candidate seems like a solid option, you might show the potential nanny around your home.

Clarify rules and expectations. Before making an offer to a nanny, let that person know all your expectations including acceptable discipline practices, distance learning requirements, and possible meal-prep and cleaning responsibilities.

Put it in a contract. When you’ve found the right nanny, provide a written contract that clearly outlines all compensation, whether food or travel allowances are included in the salary, if a vehicle will be used, the number of weekly hours worked, etc. Outline all details clearly, even the ones that might not seem important. You must give yourself and the nanny legal protection. Never allow a nanny to work for you without a signed and legally binding contract. It’s a good idea to have an attorney review the contract prior to signing.

Include a trial period. Set up a trial period and specify its length. Include this information in the contract. This will give you and the nanny some time to test out a working relationship with your family. If, after the trial period expires, the nanny doesn’t seem to be a good fit, you can part ways without violating a contract.

Setting Up a Nanny-Sharing Arrangement

Nanny shares are rising in popularity as the pandemic continues to impact working families and childcare in general. The idea is that one nanny cares for the children of two families. The nanny gets paid a premium, but the families share the cost. Kids get to socialize with other children, but on a smaller scale than they would in a childcare facility. 

Find the other nanny-share family. Look for a family with children in the same age group as yours, and ensure your children get along. Even more importantly, make sure the other family shares your family’s ideas and moral values when it comes to matters like discipline, education, and play time. You’ll both have to contractually agree how to compensate the nanny including how to handle sick days and vacation time.

Discuss shared expenses and responsibilities. It’s important to be clear with the other family about shared expenses such as snacks, meals, arts and craft supplies, toys, and any school supplies or academic materials. At whose house will the children be cared for? Who will drop off and pick up the children if needed? Clarification on these issues will prevent problems later, so ensure they’re part of the contract.

Time off, vacations, and sick days. If the nanny needs to take a sick day, who will care for the children? When the nanny schedules a vacation, will both families schedule their vacations at the same time? Or will both families seek their own childcare for that time? Ongoing communication between families and the nanny is critical on all childcare matters.

This is a challenging time for working families. You can find a reliable nanny by researching nanny services with the BBB. To read more about the BBB’s accreditation standards and standards for trust, visit BBB.org. 

Barry N. Moore
Barry N. Moore is president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Central Virginia, including Metro Richmond, Fredericksburg, Charlottesville, Petersburg, along with forty-two Virginia counties. Barry lives in Richmond with his family.
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