What Type of Background Check Should I Run?

It is extremely important to run a background check on the caregiver or nanny that you decide to hire. If the candidate has opted to run a background check on themselves, it is highly recommended that you also run a background check since a person can control what type of background check is being ran. It is also extremely important to do a National background check since local county searches are only limited to individual counties. A good background check would include a SS# trace (usually includes a name alias search and address history search), a National criminal search, National sex offender search and most importantly a 7 year county criminal search in at least the main county the nanny has resided (ideally all counties). In addition to the background check, we recommend running a Department of Motor Vehicle search to make sure the candidate hasn’t had extensive tickets, an accident, a DUI or DWI.

Make sure you do a comprehensive background check that will enable you to make the smart hiring decision for the safety of your family.

If your looking to run a pre employment background check on a caregiver, USSearch.com offers affordable solutions.

How Do I Let My Nanny Go?

Whether it’s on good or bad terms, letting go of your nanny is never easy. If your nanny has done a good job and the reason you are letting them go has nothing to do with them (you lost your job, are dealing other financial issues, decided to stay home, etc) then you should always give your nanny at least 2 weeks notice. You can also help her find another job by letting others know that your nanny’s available. You can post your own ad for them to let parents know how wonderful they are, provide references or call local agencies to tell them about your nanny.

The best way to break the news is to do it in person. You may need to ask them to stay a little longer than usual in advance, in case they have plans after work. If you explain to your nanny that it’s nothing personal and that the decision is due to outside issues, then they are more likely to be understanding of the situation. After you speak with them, give them a signed reference letter that explains how great they were and that it’s not their fault that they are being let go. It is also nice to let them see the kids one last time as their nanny. If your nanny is close with your family, then let them know that they are welcome to keep in touch with the family.

On the contrary, if they are being fired then it’s a different story. If your nanny has done something that is totally unacceptable (left children alone, lied, stolen something, is continuously late and undependable etc..) then you will not need to give them any notice. When the nanny has done something bad, you will want to let them go on the spot, especially If you catch them mistreating the children or stealing. You can tell them that you will be sending them any pay that is owed in the mail. If your nanny hasn’t done anything major but she has just been late often and undependable, you may want to just call her after work and explain that you are letting them go and the reasons why. You can tell them that you will put their check in the mail. Obviously, no reference will be given.

What Type of Insurance Do I Need for a Nanny?

It is recommended that families call their insurance company and ask what type of coverage they currently have on their home owner’s policy. You may want to raise the amounts for certain coverage in case an accident happens when the nanny or babysitting is working. Be sure to ask about no-fault medical coverage. That way, if someone gets hurt on your property, you can just submit their bills to your insurance company for reimbursement and will not be held personally for the accident. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Worker’s Comp For Nannies?

If you have someone working in your home then you should look into purchasing worker’s compensation for this person. This will provide coverage for medical, physical rehabilitation and lost wages in the event that the nanny gets hurt and is no longer able to work. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Nanny Benefits-What’s the Norm?

Many household employees ask for or expect the following:

• Paid Time Off (PTO): typically 5 – 15 days paid off, (usually consisting of at least 1 week vacation and 4-6 sick days). The dates for vacation time are mutually agreed on by the family and nanny.
• Health insurance (typically 50% paid by family for first year and fully paid after first year)
• Gas reimbursement if nanny is required to use her car to transport children to/from activities
• 6 or more Federal holidays paid (New Years, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas).
• Performance and wage reviews (usually every 6 months)
• Reimbursements for job related expenses
• Annual bonuses

On average, a family will offer gas mileage reimbursement, 4-6 paid sick days, all the main holidays off and 1 week of paid vacation per year. Most families cannot afford to offer health insurance, so if the nanny receives it, they should be very happy!

Reviewing Safety Issues With Your Nanny

Alarm System-Do you have an alarm system? If you do then you need to go over exactly how it works with your new nanny or you may be getting a frantic phone call on her first day of work. Make sure she knows what to do in case of an emergency and if/when your nanny is supposed to set it herself. If the system has a panic button, make sure she knows exactly how to use it. Your best bet is to teach her how to use it and then do a test run to make sure she understands it correctly. You may also want to put some notes in a binder that she can resort to if needed.

Answering Door- Your nanny should never open the door for anyone she doesn’t know PERIOD. She can always tell them that her employer told her that rule and to just leave a note. If you are expecting mail or a delivery, make sure your nanny has been told about it. If someone ever comes to the door and is argumentative or does not leave, make sure your nanny knows to call 911.Also, make sure the nanny knows of anyone who is not allowed at the home. Make sure the nanny also knows that the children should not answer the door under any condition.

Car Seats- It is very important that you teach your nanny how to properly install car seats. If she will be driving the family car then make sure she knows how your car seat works. Car seats should always be tightly fastened. If you have any questions on how to properly install a car seat, you can go to any fire station and they will make sure it is installed correctly.

Driving Safely-If the nanny is going to be using your car then you will need to show her how your car works, including all dashboard and regular lights, child and regular car locks and brakes. It’s a good idea to do a test drive with your nanny to make sure she is comfortable with your car. Make sure your nanny knows NEVER to talk or text on the phone when she is driving.

Self Defense-It is not out of the question to give your nanny pepper spray to be used if she or your child is ever attacked by a person or animal. Make sure she knows when and how it is used.

Fire-Go over the basic fire safety measures with your nanny. If your not sure what they are then stop by your local fires station and grab a pamphlet. Make sure she knows where all the smoke detectors are as well as exit routes in the home. It’s smart to do a trial drill with the children. Don’t forget to show her where the smoke detector batteries are just in case they start beeping out of nowhere. You can also include this in your nanny binder.

Water-This is important, especially if you have a pool. Make sure your nanny knows what the rules and safety procedures are. The nanny should know that the children are NEVER allowed in the yard unsupervised under any conditions (especially when there is a pool). Show your nanny where the life jackets are and when they are to be worn (i.e. within so many feet from the water or pool). If friends are invited over, make sure they also have life jackets.

How To Safely Find a Good Babysitter

Are you looking for a babysitter? Is this the first time that you are leaving your child(ren) alone with someone that is not related to you? This can be extremely stressful even if your babysitter is someone that came highly recommended by someone you trust.

Here are some things you can do that may make you feel more at ease.

  • Call all of the babysitters references. You will feel much better after speaking to other parents about your babysitter and how they have been with their children. It is always nice to hear other parents say how much their kids just love the babysitter and some parents will even let the children tell you themselves.
  • Make sure your babysitter has a background check completed so that you can rest assured that your child(ren) are in safe hands.
  • Go over everything with the babysitter before you leave. Let the babysitter know what the rules are.
  • Make sure you leave the babysitter a list of phone numbers of family members and/or neighbors & friends that they can contact in case there is an emergency and they cannot get a hold of you. It is also recommended to give the nanny a medical release form for each child.
  • Many parents will stop in to check on the babysitter to see how things are going. The old “whoops, I forgot something” always works well.
  • Ask the child(ren) how they liked the babysitter and if they want the babysitter to come back (this obviously only works if the child(ren) are of speaking age).

Nanny Reference Checking Tips

A nanny or babysitter should always provide you with at least 3 references that you can call and speak with. If they also provide you with the family’s e-mail, make sure you get a chance to talk parent to parent since e-mails can be orchestrated. If they have less than a year or two of experience then they may only have 2 references. This may be sufficient since they are still building on their experience. Here are some tips to guide you through the process.

Calling the reference: The Introduction

After you introduce yourself, tell the reference why you are calling and don’t forget to mention the nanny/babysitter’s first and last name. Ask the reference if it is a good time to talk or if another time would be better. More than likely, the reference will say yes and begin to tell you about their experience with the nanny/babysitter.

***Red Flag Alert***
If the reference pauses when you ask for them or seems hesitant or nervous to speak with you, take this as a red flag. If they quickly ask if they can call you back another time, this is also a bad sign since they may not know what to say and either need to “think about” whether or not they want to tell you that the nanny did a poor job or they may be a fake reference that isn’t sure what they are supposed to say. They may then call the nanny/babysitter and find out what they are required to say and then call you back at a later time with the fake facts. When they call back, listen to your gut. It could also just be a coincidence. If the reference seemed caught off guard and unwilling to speak with you, then it’s best to move on to another nanny. If you feel they may have just been really busy then you may want to give the nanny another chance and move on to the next reference. Unfortunately, nothing is 100% and a small percent of nannies use their best friend as a reference. Trust your instincts and have peace of mind knowing that you are one step closer to finding a great nanny.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s proceed with the questioning.

Reference Questions
If the reference is happy to speak with you then begin your questioning. Try and keep them short since the reference may only have a few minutes to spare.

•    How long have you known “nanny’s name”?
•    How long did ”  ” work for you?
•    Approximately how many hours per week did she work for you?
•    How would you describe her personality?
•    What are her best attributes?
•    What are her worst attributes?
•    How did your children like her?
•    Was she always excited to show up for work?
•    Was she organized?
•    Was she flexible with the hours for you?
•    Was she active with the children?
•    Is she patient?
•    Is she punctual?
•    Is she enthusiastic? (Consider getting a rating on a 1-5 scale for this question.)
•    Does she perform well in emergencies?
•    Were you comfortable with her driving your children?
•    Did she ever complain, ask to be paid early or ask for more money?
•    Did she need any supervision or did you feel confident leaving her alone with the children?
•    Did she take direction well?
•    Did she pick up after herself and the children?
•    Are there any areas she could improve in?
•    Would you rehire her?
•    Why did she stop working for you?
•    Is there anything else you think I should be aware of?
•    Can I contact you again if I have any more questions?

Make sure you call at least 3 childcare related references and 2 personal references. Don’t just get one outstanding reference and then throw in the towel. It’s a little tedious but goes by quickly.

Click Here for OrlandoNanny.com’s reference checking questions.

Background Check Consent Form

Never leave a nanny or any caregiver alone with a child without doing a thorough pre-employment background check. You should be able to get a national criminal and sex offender background check with social security number verification, name alias search and address history all for under $100. OrlandoNanny.com has partnered with USSearch.com to offer you great prices. The nanny will need to run her own department of motor vehicle search, which can be done through through a company like USSearch.com or she can request a copy from the DMV for less than ten dollars.

Click the link below to start your nanny’s background check.

Start your nanny background check

Recommendations:

  • Run a Social Security Number Trace which should show you any aliases they have used as well as list their address history.
  • Make sure you do a National database background check as well as in-house county criminal checks in the main counties they have resided in. It is very easy for a someone to hide an offense or crime in a different county, so that is why all of the above should be completed.
  • Make sure you do a department of motor vehicle report to make sure the nanny doesn’t have extensive tickets, accidents or a DUI.
  • Make sure you get a consent form from the nanny if the company running the background check requests one.  Click Here for a sample nanny background check consent form. Some companies allow you to agree to their online Terms and Conditions while other companies require that you have the nanny sign one.
  • Make sure you see the nanny’s background check results before making any job offer.

Wrongful Termination Lawsuits

Many issues are not easy to see coming, especially when families have so many other things going, like juggling kids, after school activities, work and running the home. It’s easy to put nanny issues on the back burner. Parents may not realize that the nanny is taking on much more work than she originally signed up for, whether it’s intentional or not. Some nannies may not express that they are feeling overwhelmed or unappreciated until they up and suddenly quit. One way to avoid this is by completing a nanny work agreement (nanny contract) with your nanny so that there are no misunderstandings of any kind. Click Here for OrlandoNanny.com’s sample nanny work agreement.

Here are some examples of mistreating your nanny;

  • Working the nanny long hours with no breaks
  • Expecting the nanny to do heavy housekeeping in additional to caring for the children, and cooking and caring for the pets (everything and the kitchen sink!)
  • Not allowing the nanny to eat or making them eat in a separate room
  • Constantly expecting the nanny to be at the family’s beck and call 24/7
  • Treating the nanny like a second class citizen
  • Talking to the nanny in a condescending manner (especially in front of others)
  • Not paying the nanny what you agreed on
  • Not paying the nanny when you’re supposed to pay them

If you do any of these things, then you are heading straight for trouble. Even though the nanny may put up with this in the short-run, it’s just a matter of time before the nanny gets upset and quits. Taking advantage of your nanny will always come back and bite you in the rear. Depending on the degree of what was done, the nanny may retaliate as soon as she quits her job. She may turn you in left and right for breaking state laws and could also file a wrongful termination lawsuit. So treat your nanny respectfully and always be considerate of their feelings. Take a minute to stop and ask yourself “Is my nanny happy?” and whether or not you are doing your best to be a good, fair employer. Remember, “happy nanny” does contribute to making a  “happy family”.

How Much Housekeeping Should a Nanny Do?

This really depends on the nanny. Some nannies are more than happy to help you out around the house, as long as it does not interfere with caring for the children. Other nannies are adamant about not doing any housework. You will need to ask the nanny during her interview how she feels about this subject. You will also want to ask her references the same question. Many nannies will tell you that they don’t mind just to get the job but you will soon find out that the chores are either not being done or are getting done with little effort. If you are looking for a “housekeeper/nanny” make sure you are straight forward in your ads and during the interview. Nannies get very upset when they are hired to be a nanny and are then given a laundry list of housekeeping duties. Make sure you go over exactly what type of housekeeping you need since you may have different ideas about what heavy or light housekeeping entails. You will also want to be clear on how much cooking and laundry is needed.

Most nannies will agree to do all housekeeping that is directly related to the children, so children’s laundry, tidying up their rooms, meals, dishes and clean up of play areas and the kitchen after eating. With that said, it is still important to speak with your nanny about how she feels about these duties.

There are nannies that will do both nanny and housekeeping but they usually are more expensive and will only do the cleaning when the children are down for naps or during a separate time that is agreed upon by the parents. Be sure not to put too much on your nanny’s plate since it may compromise your children’s care.

The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Live-in Nanny

There are many pros to hiring a live in nanny, especially if you need care for your children that is not on a set schedule. Most live in nannies work when they are needed, although they do appreciate some kind of set hours. Live in nannies are generally there when you need them. A live in nanny generally receives free room and board as well as use of the family car. They are usually paid a weekly salary of around $500/wk for 40-50 hours. Live in nannies are usually willing to help with housework and cooking. They are great for families that need someone that can lend a hand with whatever is needed. Families do need to be careful not to overwork the live in nanny. Just because she lives there does not mean that she is supposed to work 24/7. They will still need breaks and time off. Most live in nannies request 2 days off per week. You will also need to be careful not to put too much on the nanny’s plate. If you expect her to do everything (childcare, housekeeping, cooking, pets etc.) she may feel tired, overwhelmed, unappreciated and quit.

There is also the issue of privacy to consider. If you like to have family time and do not like having another person around, it is wise to think twice about hiring a live in nanny. Although it might be financially easier for you, you may find that you dislike having a non family member around all the time. Most live in nannies do not leave on the weekends and will be around when they are not working. You will be seeing this person daily.  If you like your space and are used to living alone, hiring a live in nanny is not recommended.

Steps To Find a Nanny, On Your Own or Through an Agency…

Finding the perfect nanny isn’t always easy but if you follow these steps it will shorten the process.

Step 1

Analyze your own situation and figure out what your needs are. Think about whether you want the nanny to live in or out, how many hours you’d like the nanny to work, what the schedule will be, what type of nanny your looking for (college aged or older), and what type of duties the nanny will be doing (housework, driving the children, errands, feeding the pets etc). If you plan on using a nanny agency, you will definitely want to know these things before you call since they will ask you all of these questions right away. Also, consider what hourly rate or salary you are comfortable paying the nanny. Once you get all the details figured out, it’s time to start looking for a nanny.

Step 2

The best way to find a nanny and to avoid expenses is to ask close families and friends for referrals for a good nanny. Many qualified nannies work in the same social circles and know of other good nannies that they can recommend to you. If your not having any luck, ask your friends and family for a referral to a good nanny agency. You can also go to your local Better Business Bureau and see who has good ratings and has been in business for a long time. Visit BBB.org or Google their name and reading reviews on different sites like Kudzu.com and Yelp.com. If you don’t want to use a nanny agency, you might want to try online nanny sites, like Care.com, since they are much cheaper but you will have to do all the work yourself (review profiles, call and screen candidates, call references and conduct background checks).

Step 3

When hiring a nanny keep in mind the important qualities and experience a good nanny should have. For example, a good nanny should be at least 18 years old, be in good health, have at least 2 years experience with children whether it be in a day care situation or actual nanny experience, a high school diploma or equivalent, proper immunizations and is legal to work in the U.S. Once you’ve established that she’s qualified it’s up to you to conduct a thorough interview and reference check on this person. You can find free forms and tools such as sample interview questions and sample nanny contracts on free sites like OrlandoNanny.com. Be upfront about the job requirement and what your looking for during the interview. After you’ve screened the nanny and have decided she’s a good fit, you’ll need to run a background check. A great company to use is USSearch.com since they have been running criminal background checks for many years.

Step 4

You need the nanny to spend some time with your family and child(ren) and do a “trial” run. Make sure you child(ren) like her and always ask them directly if they would like “nanny’s name” to come over more often and play with them. If the child(ren) say “yes” that’s a good sign that your nanny will fit in just fine.

Step 5

Now that you’ve hired a nanny, you’ve become an employer to a household employee. It’s important to comply with nanny tax laws which means you will have to pay federal and state unemployment tax and FICA. Any nanny making over $1500 year will need to file. Most families hire their personal accountant to take care of this matter or buy computer software to assist with this. Ultimately, it is up to you whether or not you want to do the nanny’s taxes but keep in mind it is a law and if you get caught you could face harsh consequences. For questions on nanny taxes, go to DEURR & CULLEN. They are the experts when it comes to nanny taxes.

How To Choose The Right Nanny Agency

If you’ve tried finding a nanny yourself and have decided that it’s just too much work, you may want to try hiring a nanny agency to do the job for you. Here are some questions to consider that will help you decide which nanny agency to use.

  • How long have they been in business? Five or more years is a good starting point. Most reputable nanny agencies have been around for at least 5-10 years.
  • Are they members of the International Nanny Association(INA) and BBB. The INA is the major organization for nanny agencies in the U.S. and most reputable agencies are members of the BBB.
  • Do they check references? FYI-20% of applicants give phony references. So, a good nanny agency will ask specific questions and make sure the information given matches what they put on their applications.
  • Does the agency take copies of identification as well as an in-office photograph?
  • Does the agency include a DMV report with the background check?
  • Does the agency make sure that each nanny has CPR and First Aid?
  • Does the agency register each person placed with Trustline when there is childcare involved? Law in California requires Trustline, yet most agencies do not use it. Trustline does a criminal background check and checks the Child Abuse Registry. You can call Trustline at (800) 822-8490 to find out if the agency regularly registers people with them.
  • Does the agency do a criminal background investigation? If so, what type of background check do they offer? A good background check will include a national criminal database search, a national sex offender check, in-house county criminal searches in the main cities the nanny has resided in, social security verification which should show all name aliases and the nanny’s address history and don’t forget the department of motor vehicles report. Make sure the agency does all of this before the nanny starts. Beware of companies that only offer a database search, since these can be very inaccurate if the databases are not updated.
  • Does the agency charge the nanny a fee to get a job? The better agencies would never charge the applicant a fee to place them since they are getting paid by the family. More than anything, ethically, it’s not really the right thing to do.
  • Does the agency look like they are having a casting call? Do they want you to go in and “pick one”. The better agencies will interview nannies and once approved, send them out to meet the families.
  • Does the agency tell you about payroll taxes? Do they know that domestic workers are employees? They should also work with a reputable payroll tax company like DUERR & CULLEN.
  • Does they agency want you to sign a written agreement? This is a good thing. Your contract should explain all the services in detail as well as prices, guarantees and replacements.
  • Does the agency offer to provide client references that you can call and speak to? It’s always smart to ask for a few former clients to call so that you can hear what their personal experience was.

Definition of Nanny and Other Household Help

Nanny – A nanny is employed by a family in either a live-in or live-out basis and can be full time or part time. The function of a nanny is essentially to be responsible to care for all the children in the home in a largely unsupervised setting. Duties are typically focused on childcare and any household chores or tasks related to the children. A nanny may or may not have any formal training; however, many have significant actual experience. A full time nanny typically works at least 40 hours a week while a part time nanny works an average of 20 hours/week. Most live-out nannies are paid between $12-$20/hr depending on their experience level. Live-in nannies are paid between $400-$800/week plus room and board (depending on experience).

Newborn Nanny (Infant Specialist or Baby Nurse) – A newborn nanny is an experienced nanny with very extensive training in newborn care. She has extensive knowledge of babies, feeding and scheduling. She supports breastfeeding and bottle-feeding. She is there for nighttime feedings while the new mother gets the rest she needs. If the baby is breast-feeding, the nanny will bring the baby to the mother, help position the baby and carry the baby back to the nursery when the baby is done.

A newborn nanny will also organize the nursery and is familiar with an apnea monitor, feeding systems and other medical equipment. She can discern problems like jaundice and reflux and alert you if these things occur. If the baby has problems with colic and has fussy periods, she knows the techniques for reducing baby discomfort and getting them to calm down. A newborn nanny will do the baby’s laundry every day and help with light housekeeping, as well as meals. She will teach you to change diapers, bathe and feed the baby, or she will do it all for you. She will hold and cradle the baby throughout the day, but knows when it’s time for you to be alone with your new family. Most newborn nannies are paid between $15-$25/hr depending on their nursing backgrounds and experience.

Special Needs Nanny- There are different levels of special needs ranging from mild autism to severe physical disabilities. It is best to hire someone with special needs experience or a background in Special Education, if possible, since these types of jobs are much different than regular nanny jobs. A special needs nanny will need to understand what the special need is and know what to do in different types of situations. They must have a calm demeaner, a natural love for helping others, be extremely patient and persistent. In addition, they must have the understanding and ability to build upon strengths and give support through weaknesses. Most special needs nannies are paid between $15-$25/hr depending on their experience and what the special need is.

Please see the definition of Caregiver to read more about some of the duties that may be required.

Tutor – A private instructor that tutors your child(ren) in your home. This person has the training and background in the subject(s) to provide correct instruction. Often this person is a teacher or undergraduate student at a university. Most tutors are paid between $15-$25/hr depending on their educational background and experience.

Housekeepers – Housekeepers work in all types of homes, from small apartments to large estate homes. The position involves daily maintenance of the home as well as heavy cleaning. Some housekeepers have formal training and others just have years of experience.  A housekeeper works either full-time or part-time, on a live-in or live-out basis. Housekeepers usually work alone, but should the needs of the home demand multiple staff, they may work as a team with other housekeepers. Most housekeepers are paid between $12-$20/hr depending on their experience.

Typical responsibilities of a housekeeper include: Cleaning the interior of the home, laundry and ironing, linens, assisting with the cooking and serving of guests, making the beds, polishing the silver, organizing drawers and straightening closets, running errands including the grocery shopping, maintaining stock of cleaning and household supplies, caring for household pets, and tending to house plants.

Personal Assistants – Personal assistants are responsible for working in the employer’s home in the management of household, personal, and professional needs. Personal assistants have excellent managerial, communication and interpersonal skills. They understand protocol and etiquette and have the ability to organize and prioritize multiple activities. Most personal assistants have a Bachelor’s degree in addition to professional experience in a corporate setting. Most personal assistants are paid between $15-$25/hr depending on their educational background and experience.

Typical duties of a Personal Assistant include: handling the bills, making travel arrangements, traveling with the employer, serving as an office assistant, handling correspondence, creating inventories, organizing the office and handling media inquiries, planning special events and parties, managing construction projects or home improvements, scheduling of staff and maintenance personnel, coordinating personal schedules and daily activities, running business and personal errands, and maintaining social activities.

Caregiver– A caregiver is a person who aides either an elderly person who is chronically ill or disabled or a young person with severe physical or emotional challenges. Caregivers can live in the home or out, and can work a few hours per week or many hours per day. Caregiver duties are tailored to the individual’s needs and each caregiver job is unique. Caregivers usually make between $12-$20/hr depending on experience.

There are several common caregiver duties such as: dressing assistance, personal grooming, bathing, transferring a person to their bed, chair, toilet, vehicle etc., toileting, meal preperation and serving, receiving mail and newspapers, housekeeping, laundry and linens, transporation, errands and shopping, companionship, aiding in occupational or physical therapy, assisting in light excersise, escorting to appointments and events and participating in games and activities. Most caregivers are paid between $12-$20/hr depending on their experience and what duties are required.

Senior Companions – A companion is a person employed to accompany, assist, or live with another in the capacity of lending a helpful hand and being a caring friend. Most companions will use their own vehicle for driving (for doctor’s appointments, medication pick up, grocery shopping and running local errands) as well as help with accounting & bills. Some companions will also help with housekeeping (they usually are paid more for this). Most companions are paid between $12-$20/hr depending on their experience.

Odds n Ends Jobs– These types of jobs are usually temporary and/or revolve around specific projects. Some examples are running errands, shopping, organizing, gift wrapping, helping with packing and moving, special events and temporary childcare.  These jobs can be similiar to personal assistant duties but are short term. Most odd n end jobs pay between $12-$20/hr.

Pet Sitters– Pet sitting consists of taking care of all types of pets in the comfort of their own surroundings. The purpose of pet sitting is to limit the stress of the pet while the owners are away for the weekend or a long vacation. Pets seem to do better when they are in their own home with their own bed and blanket, their own toys and their own buddies (other pets). Pet sitters provide this luxury by making daily visits to care for the pets. Some common pet sitting duties are: walking dogs, giving treats, refilling water and food bowls, snuggling and petting, playing fetch, cleaning up messes, the litter box or cages and administering medications. Most pet sitting jobs pay between $12-$20/hr depending on the duties and how often they are needed. 

Deciding Which Type of Nanny is Right For You

There are different types of nannies. Some examples include college aged nannies, grandmother nannies, retired teachers, baby nurses, night nannies, housekeeper nannies and babysitters. It is important to decide prior to your search which type of nanny is the best fit for you and your family. Keep in mind that a college aged nanny is probably not going to be around for the long-run – whether it’s due to more schooling, travel or taking the decision to settle down themselves. College aged nannies are usually recommended to families that are looking for no more than a yearlong commitment. If a family has a newborn and is looking for someone until the baby starts school, then a more experienced nanny that can give a longer commitment of 3-5 years would be a better fit. If the family has school aged children, nannies with teaching degrees or who are in college studying to be a teacher are always great, especially if they need tutoring. For a family that has an infant and toddler, it’s wise to hire someone that is in the middle – a nanny with enough energy to keep up with the children and give a longer commitment.

Evaluating your options and making the right choice from the start will ease the stress involved with the process. One of the worst experiences is having a nanny leave after the children have become attached, thus having to endure the entire search process again.

How Has the Economy Affected Hiring a Nanny?

Before the recession, most nannies were experienced professionals who had been doing it for years… but when the economy took a dive, many women became nannies solely to pay their bills. We saw many office and admin assistants and telemarketers step into the nanny world only as a means to make ends meet. On the flip side, during this time, many nurses and teachers who lost their jobs took up an interest in the nanny profession. This created an assortment of women, ones who were looking to get into the field as well as the ones who had been there for many years working as nannies. It was very hard for the career professionals to compete with nannies who were willing to take much less, especially when families couldn’t afford to pay what they were paying in better times.

During the recession, there was a huge decrease in nanny jobs due to many parents being laid off, thus being unable to afford a nanny any longer and deciding to have one parent at home. Many self-employed parents saw their monthly earnings diminish and consequently had to let their nannies go. Many families had a grandparent become the new nanny or made a deal with a friend to swap the children when the other was working.

Luckily, the nanny industry has been improving over the past few years and seems to be getting back to where it was. There are many more nanny jobs out there and the pay rate for jobs seems to have gone back to what it was prior. This is a great sign for the economy and the nanny industry as a whole.

Nanny vs. Preschool

So, why do parents prefer a nanny over a daycare or preschool? Having your own nanny who comes to your home and takes care of your children can make life a lot easier on parents.

First of all, by having the nanny come to your home and leave at the end of the day, you do not have to deal with dropping and picking up your child(ren). Nannies will also help you with light housekeeping such as laundry and dishes, and they will make sure that your home is tidier than when you left in the morning. Furthermore, they will often have dinner ready for you, so that you can relax and spend quality time with your family when you get home. A good nanny quickly becomes part of the family and before you know it, your children will look forward to seeing her daily. There are a lot of additional perks to having a nanny, such as having extra help help while you need to run errands or having them be more understanding than a daycare if you’re running late. Nannies can also help with homework and drive the children to their various activities; in general, nannies are more focused on and geared towards helping you with your individual family needs.

The flip side is that nannies will cost you a lot more than a daycare center. Nannies will usually charge $10-$20/hr depending on the number of children and job responsibilities whereas a daycare will cost a set weekly amount, usually somewhere between $175-$250/week depending on the age of your child. The average cost of daycare in the United States is $11,666 per year. If you have more than one child, it may be worth it to hire a nanny if the cost is close to the same. There are a lot of advantages to having a nanny such a as coming home to dinner made, homework done and a clean house.

The 4 Main Types of Nannies: Full time, Part Time, Live-in & Babysitters

Full Time nannies usually come to your home M-F from 8am-5pm or 8-10 hours per day. Some full time nannies are paid hourly or earn a weekly salary. The going rate for a live-out nanny is $10-$20/hr or $400-$800/wk depending on the number of children and responsibilities (excluding professional nannies that can make upwards of $1000wk). It is highly recommended that you decide on an hourly rate for the nanny if used over her regular hours.

In addition, some full time nannies live-in the home with the family. These are called “live-in nannies”. If this is the case, most live in nannies usually expect to have a schedule just like any other nanny. Many families believe that if they have a live in nanny then they can use her all hours of the day and have the nanny at their beck and call. This usually isn’t the case, and when this happens, the nanny usually winds up quitting because she feels taken advantage of. If the family uses the nanny over the agreed upon number of hours then they should pay the nanny extra. Live in nannies are expected to make a little less because they are getting free room and board. The salary for a live in nanny is usually around $500-$600wk (for 40-50 hrs) depending on the job requirements (excluding professional nannies who tend to make more). Live in nannies usually do more housekeeping than regular nannies as well as laundry and cooking. Live in nannies usually work M-F from 7am-5pm at a minimum and then they can either leave on the weekend or stay and go do their own things on the weekends with their friends and family.

Part time nannies can come to your home a few days per week or everyday for a certain amount of hours. Many families use part time after-school nannies to pick up the children from school and take them to their activities. There are also many families that have a nanny come and help the mom or dad. These are called “mommy’s helpers or daddy’s helpers”. These helpers tend to be part time and may assist the parent by providing an extra pair of hands or caring for the children by themselves. Part time nannies are great sources to give the parents some extra time for themselves, and allow them to get their own things done – whether business or personal. The average pay for part time is $12-$20/hr depending on how many children and the job duties.

A babysitter is someone that just comes on occasion usually for a date night here and there. It is highly recommended that a family find a babysitter that they like and use them over and over versus using a different person every time. I personally wouldn’t want to be introducing my child to different people but would rather her become familiar with one person that she can look forward to seeing every so often. Although there are on-call babysitters, most babysitters appreciate a little heads up so that they can plan in advance. Parents should always put the same effort and time into screening for babysitters as they do a nanny, including checking references, making sure the nanny has CPR & First Aid certifications as well as a thorough background check. Even though the babysitter may only be used one time for a few hours, hiring the wrong person can be equally as dangerous as hiring the wrong full-time nanny. The average pay for a babysitter is $12-$20/hr depending on how many hours and the number of children being cared for.

What’s Not Acceptable Behavior from a Nanny

Always communicate with your nanny. If there is an issue, don’t wait. Have an open, honest conversation and tell her what is bothering you. If she’s not getting enough done or isn’t engaging the child as much as you’d like, make the nanny a list of things you’d like done by the end of each day. Be sure that before the nanny start, you go over what’s acceptable and not acceptable in your household.

  • Nanny is late often.
  • Nanny is getting driving tickets or gets a DUI.
  • Nanny asks to be paid in advance.
  • Nanny calls in sick a lot.
  • Nanny keeps asking for more and more things to her advantage. (i.e. getting off early)
  • Nanny doesn’t clean up after herself or the children
  • Nanny is lethargic and sits in front of the TV too much
  • Nanny is not watching the child well enough
  • Nanny is not feeding the child healthy food.
  • Nanny is on the phone or computer 24/7
  • Nanny is doing her homework all day and not watching the children.
  • Nanny is in a bad mood everyday.
  • Nanny keeps asking for raises


What Do Nannies Bring To Work

Most professional nannies know exactly what to bring with them to work. However, if this is your first real nanny job, you may want to take notes.

You will definitely want to bring your own lunch, drink (water bottle filled with your favorite drink or Gatorade works great!) and snacks. Throughout the day, you should be able to snack and drink when you need to. You definitely need all that energy to get you through the day! Be sure to pack a lunch or a fanny pack, which work perfectly for those healthy pick-me-ups such as nature grain bars and almonds. Some families will even let you bring food every week and just leave it in the refrigerator. That way you have your own food already there and can avoid the hassle of having to pack a lunch every day. When it comes down to it, most families are even completely fine with you eating their food, as long as you ask beforehand.

A lot of nannies will bring different activities to work with them to keep the kiddies occupied. These often include children’s books, coloring books, educational toys and so forth. Of course, the family will also have their own toys, but children get so excited when they see something new.

There are places to find great low cost items that a nanny may need. You may be able to find useful items such as backpacks, lunch totes, children’s books, toys, arts and crafts materials and other miscellaneous items through great online deals or store sales. Many nannies also find great deals at a thrift stores.

Just remember, the better prepared you are, the easier your day will be. If the children are happy and entertained then your day will go by much faster!


Nanny Cam

Should parents use nanny cameras?

There are many sides to this story. There is the side that says that you shouldn’t bother hiring someone if you feel the need to monitor their behavior and actions. Then there is the side that sits on precaution and says that it is nothing personal about the individual and it’s just something to make the parent(s) more at ease when they can’t be with their child(ren). On the caregiver’s side, there are nannies that will not work for a family that uses surveillance because they feel uncomfortable and violated, being watched at all times (even when they are eating or feel the need to scratch their noses or buttock). Many nannies have quit jobs due to finding a hidden nanny camera in a stuffed animal, clock or electronic device. Then there are nannies that don’t mind but they usually do want to be told in the beginning. That is the norm among most nannies. However, parents say that the whole point of the nanny camera is to catch her if she’s doing something bad and if she knows she’s being taped then she will be on her best behavior. Well….yes and isn’t that what you want anyways?

There is also the law. It is currently legal in every state to make a video-only recording of anything happening at your home, at any time, without informing anyone. The fact that the camera is hidden has no effect on this concept. If your camera is video only (no sound is recorded), then you can do whatever you like with it, in your own home (but be careful because in 13 states it is illegal to record someone’s voice without their permission). Courts only allow these devices to be used for acceptable and “reasonable” purposes, through (i.e. monitoring the baby and/or your behavior with the child, or preventing theft). If the court finds that the cameras were for some illegal purpose (such as voyeurism, or disclosing private information to the public, or using the video for any sort of commercial purpose), then they will certainly not be covered, and you may be found liable.

Every so often a story comes out on the evening news of a nanny horribly neglecting a child. This becomes the talk of the town and is plastered all over the Internet. To avoid these situations it is essential for families to do proper screening. Here are some questions to ask yourself. 1) did you request references and call them directly? 2) did you background check your nanny? 3) does your nanny have legal status? 4) is your nanny CPR certified 5) do you have a good gut feeling about this person? It is extremely important to take the time out to do these things. Don’t be the one who skips on the screening and buys a nanny camera. Point being, make sure you do your due diligence and don’t cut any corners when it comes to finding and hiring a nanny. Don’t be the one who finds out the nanny is bad by catching her on a nanny camera. If you take your time to do all the essential screening then your chances of hiring a bad nanny will be nominal.

If you’ve decided to purchase nanny cameras, there are many options available to parents. Professional surveillance systems come with everything, from the monitors, cameras, DVR, cables, all power supplies and installation. Use a reputable company in your area or click here for a list of surveillance companies we recommend.

These wired and wireless hidden cameras have helped many people catch abusive nannies that otherwise would have continued to abuse or neglect their children. One thing is certain, if you suspect your child is not being properly treated, get a hidden camera. You owe it to your children.