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Should You Hire a Live-In Nanny?

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
Feb. 26, 2018

Debating whether or not to hire a live-in caregiver? Here are things to consider.

On your most harried days, having a live-in nanny sounds like the best possible solution. Having the extra help right in your house when you need it offers peace of mind and stability.

Remember every nanny who lives with you will bring something different to your home.

"There is no cookie cutter anywhere," says Becky Kavanagh, the co-president of the International Nanny Association who spent 20 years as a live-in nanny for one family. "Each situation is fresh, unique and new, just like every child, parent and nanny is. That is why the process is so involved."

To learn more, read our 12 Tips for Hiring a Live-In Nanny 

Pros

Here are some of the reasons you should consider hiring a live-in nanny for your family:

  • Live-in nannies offer valuable flexibility. When you're late for work, you know your nanny is right there to help get the kids dressed and fed. And you know she'll be on time in the morning because she doesn't have to commute. If you have an unexpected trip, a live-in nanny can be there overnight.

    "But a live-in is not available to you 24/7 and her salary doesn't compensate for 24/7 work," cautions Lisa Weinberger, a lawyer and founder of Mom, Esq. She's entitled to payment for all hours worked -- and often overtime pay for working over 40 hours a week.

  • Live-in nannies are often more affordable. You can usually negotiate a lower salary than you would pay a live-out nanny, because you're also covering their room, board and other living expenses.
  • Live-in nannies are like family. Your family gains a new member, one who has your kids' best interests at heart.
  • Your kids enjoy her company. A live-in nanny sees them at all hours, so your kids might develop a relationship that is extra-close. She might teach them a new language or show them new study skills.
  • You get to know your nanny. When someone lives with you, you naturally get to know them better and you will see her interacting with your kids more often.
  • A live-in nanny can offer a new viewpoint. If your live-nanny is from another location or culture, she'll bring invaluable exposure to new ideas. Your family may learn about interesting foods, traditions and languages.
  • You stretch your comfort zone. Adapting to a new person in your home takes flexibility on both sides and the adjustment isn't always easy. But if you can both get through the beginning, your family will have learned a new set of adaptive skills.

Considerations

Think about these issues before you hire:

  • You have another person in the house. Even with the best situation, a live-in nanny will compromise your privacy at least a little. It might just take some getting used to. Sometimes, she will join you for dinner, but sometimes you'll just want family time. Making the distinction can be awkward.
  • Live-in nannies are like family. And just like any family, problems crop up in the best relationships, and you can't send the live-in nanny home for the night.
  • The nanny has a life. It's great to have a nanny with lots of interests and friends, but as your home is her home, sometimes those interests and friends will come to your house.
  • She may get homesick. If your nanny isn't local, she may become homesick. One of the best ways to counteract this is to help her get involved in the community in whatever might interest her. Take her on a tour, show her around and introduce her to other local nannies. The sooner she feels at home, the happier she will be.
  • The end of the job is more involved. When it's time for you and your nanny to part ways, she has to move out. That alone is much different than just giving two week's notice. And if everyone is attached to a beloved nanny, it can be emotionally tough as well.
  • She may not work with your family. "It has to be the right fit," says Lindsay Heller, also known as The Nanny Doctor. If you find the situation just isn't working out for you, hopefully it will happen within your previously agreed upon trial period. If not, you have to be able to take that final step and end her employment.

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil is an award-winning freelance writer and a mom to two girls. She lives in Massachusetts and has written for local and national publications.

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