Should You Keep Your Nanny When Your Kids Are at School?
How you and your nanny can work around your child's school schedule.
You and your kids love your nanny. She's been with you since your kids were little and you couldn't imagine your family without her.
But once your children are of preschool or school age, schedules change. Now a full-time nanny isn't as practical. However, you still need her help when your children are home and you can't be with them.
How can you decide what is best for you, your family and your nanny? Here are five scenarios that may help:
Keep Your Nanny on Full Time
If you have the financial capability to keep your nanny around full time, this is likely the easiest solution to your problem. She comes in the morning to feed your kids and get them to school, then picks them up a few hours later.
Having your nanny stay at the house while you're at work and the kids are at school is the best way for you to ensure your children are always covered in case of emergencies or sickness.
Child care expert Lora Bradley of NannyBizReviews notes that, "When you pay your nanny while your child's in school, you're paying for her availability. You're guaranteeing she won't make other plans that can't be broken at a moment's notice, that she won't take another job, that she won't enroll in a class with mandated attendance. If your child gets sick, if the weather turns bad and school closes early or if there's any other kind of emergency, your nanny can be at school in just a few minutes. If you don't have relatives or friends that can fill in on short or no notice, or if your work responsibilities make it hard or impossible for you to leave work for an emergency, this can be an essential guarantee."
You still have to pay her for the entire time because you're asking her to be on-call in case something happens. Negotiate with your nanny to figure out a payment that makes sense for everyone. Learn about other ways you can be a Fair Care Employer.
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Ask Her to Perform Additional Duties
Do you also have a housekeeper, maid or laundry service that helps you out with other tasks around the house? Perhaps you could consolidate these jobs into one while the kids are at school. As long as your nanny is on board with the arrangement, asking her do additional work around the house when she's not working with the children can streamline your household and ensure she can stay around full time.
Parenting expert Adam Caller of Tutors International says of his own family, "We have a nanny, who we deliberately employed on a full-time basis as a nanny-housekeeper. Her role is clearly set out to be responsible for the housework as it pertains to our son...his laundry, bedding, his nursery, cleaning his toys...and for us, our laundry/ironing and keeping basic staples [like milk, bread, eggs, etc.] properly stocked. She is very busy when the little chap is otherwise occupied."
Cut Back to Part Time
If your family truly cannot afford to pay your nanny for the time your children are at school, then it might be best for you to ask your nanny to shift to a part-time position. Working part-time will give her fewer hours and less incentive to stick around, so be prepared for your nanny to find a new job or find additional part-time work elsewhere for when she's not with your children.
Hire Part-Time Help
If your nanny wants to stick to full-time work, you may have to part ways. Post a job for a new caregiver who can fit your changing needs. Maybe you take care of the morning routine and hire an after-school sitter to pick up the slack in the afternoon. Or you hire two separate sitters: a morning one and an afternoon one.
These after-school or before-school only jobs can be perfect for college students, however, who are not looking to be life-long nannies, but rather are using the jobs to help work their way through school. If you live in an area near a university, this might be a great option for your family.
Try a Nanny Share
If there's another family in the area who is facing child care scheduling issues as well, see if you can work something out with them that will allow both families to have their needs met. Perhaps a stay-at-home mom needs some time during the school day to run errands or do freelance work from home without children interrupting.
If your nanny and the other family are open to the idea, a nanny share could help both families meet their needs without you having to reduce the hours your nanny is paid.
Bradley notes that, "Nanny shares are also a great choice for families looking to save money on hiring a nanny. If you have families in your neighborhood that are facing the same child care challenges you are, a nanny share might be the perfect solution."
Read more about If a Nanny Share Right for You »
Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer in Houston, Texas. Her work can be found here.