The Nanny Guide: Nanny Options
Find the right type of nanny for you
Before you start your search for nannies, sit down and decide on your needs, as nanny prices vary considerably depending on scenario. Here's a run down of common nanny options, from the most to least expensive scenarios:
- Nanny Housekeepers -- They're the most expensive because they do it all. They handle all of the same child care duties as would a live-in or live-out nanny (see below), but they also are willing to perform housekeeping duties during nap or quiet time, or while the children are at school. It will be important to come to a specific agreement on what kind of housekeeping is included in your arrangement; you don't want to feel as if your nanny housekeeper isn't doing enough, or have her feel that she's being taken advantage of, as the latter could affect the quality of child care.
- Full-time Live-out Nannies -- They work full time (five days a week, usually 45-50 hours) and their duties focus exclusively on child care (play, bath time, meals, and transportation to and from activities). They do not reside in the family's home, and thus should be compensated appropriately if they are using their own car to help out with nanny duties (such as picking up kids from school).
- Live-in Nannies -- These nannies share the same responsibilities as live-out nannies but reside in the family's home. Live-in nannies typically have a furnished room, private bath, sometimes a telephone, and access to a car. Having the nanny live with your family means your care costs are reduced, but be sure to draw specific boundaries about work and non-work hours.
- Part-time or Summer Nannies -- They are good options for working parents who only need coverage after school or a few days during the week, or when school is closed for the summer. Because of the less regular schedule, it may be more difficult to come by this type of nanny.
- College Nannies -- College Nannies can be a great resource. These nannies are studying at nearby local colleges and often have more flexible schedule. If you find a Nursing or an Education major, those students will have specific courses in child care and safety. More often than not, this type of nanny can also be a great tutor for your child as well.
- Au Pairs -- An au pair offers a barter-type arrangement, where the au pair -- typically a young student from a foreign country -- provides child care and light housekeeping in exchange for room, board, and weekly pocket money. Au pairs generally stay with a host family for one year and synchronize child care with their school schedules.
There are a number of nanny options depending on your budget, accommodations, and work schedule. Sit down and evaluate your needs before beginning your nanny search.
Christine Koh is a music and brain scientist turned parent and writer about parenting issues for Care.com. She is also the editor of BostonMamas.com.
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