Raising children, having a successful career and keeping your household together is a challenge. Honestly, we need help to do that. Sometimes we have family members who are willing and able to help, but this isn’t always the case. If this is your situation, you’ve probably already started looking for a nanny to help your family live the life you want.
There’s a problem…
- What does a nanny actually do?
- What can I expect from them?
- Is a nanny really what I and my family need?
Let’s look at this together.
What are you looking for?
First things first – are you sure you need a nanny, or are you actually in need of a babysitter? It’s important that you know the difference. Luckily, I already have an article out about this. Let me give you a quick recap.
A babysitter is someone that you have over for date nights. You have them irregularly. You have them do fun things with the kids. Babysitters usually are younger girls who are in high school or college. They are there for a good time with the kids and to make sure nobody gets hurt.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for someone who is going to act as an additional parent, someone who’s going to do house chores, someone who is going to be there regularly, someone who is basically going to be you when you are gone, you’re looking for a nanny! This means that you will advertise for a nanny. You will interview only nannies.
After considering these factors, if hiring a nanny is the still the way for you to go, here’s what you should expect:
They should respect your privacy. It’s okay to have rooms of the house you don’t want them in, but don’t forget to communicate that upfront. Nannies should also respect your time by arriving punctually. This applies whether or not you have a live in.
Additionally, your nanny should be CPR and First Aid certified. This ensures that you can keep your children safe while you’re gone even in the face of an emergency. CPR and First Aid courses will make sure that they are aware of the difference between situations they can use their training to save an endangered child and when they would need to dial for emergency services.
You should expect them to be able to do tasks related to the children, which include doing or supervising all of the following:
- Changing diapers
- Feeding (bottle or solid)
- Giving vitamins or medicine (with consent in the contract)
- Brushing teeth
- Transportation to school activities or playdates
- Primary language learning
- Enforcing house rules (ie making sure the kids’ do their chores)
- Homework help
- Practice reading and writing
- Practice tying shoes
- Riding a bike
- Arts & crafts time
- Potty training
- Going on outings to the zoo or park
- Putting them to bed
You should also establish with your nanny beforehand whether they will be willing to care for sick kids.
Light House Cleaning
When you say “light house cleaning”, what do you really mean? This is where communication is important – be specific. Everything should be discussed and put in the contract as agreed upon. Keep in mind, if you’re expecting more, you should expect to pay more. We can break this down by looking at things they “should do, would do, and could do.”
The should do’s are tasks that a good nanny will automatically assume is their responsibility. If they say no to anything beyond these, be understanding. If you want more, look for someone else. The would do’s are things that a nanny would more than likely do if they feel the price was fair and they have the time during the day. Finally, the part everyone is wondering about, the could do’s. These are the tasks up for debate. These are things that might be acceptable to ask your nanny to do occasionally. They should not be expected. When asking for these tasks to be done, you should mention compensation and emphasize that you understand these are outside of their normal duties. The last thing you want to do is make your nanny feel unappreciated. They might be willing to do everything outlined in this article. If you’re unsure, just ask them. The worst that can happen is they’ll say no.
Cleaning they should do:
- Take out diaper trash
- Clean bottles/kid dishes/their dishes
- Clean kids’ room/make bed
- Wash, fold and put away kid’s laundry
- Clean up kid messes
- Pick up kids’ toys and clothes from around the house
Things they would do:
- Clean playroom (dusting, organizing, vacuuming, sanitizing toys)
- Load and unload the dishwasher
- Take out the trash and recycling
- Sweep or vacuum
- Occasional side projects
Tasks they could do:
- Anything on the should do list for other household members
- Running errands – dry cleaning, grocery shopping, going to the post office, taking the car to the mechanic
- Cleaning out fridge
- Cleaning bathroom weekly
- Answering the house phone
Be reasonable with your requests. Be balanced. They can make your life easier, but if you ask too much, they might not stay. Also, remember that they will only have some down time when the kid is sleeping or deeply involved in play. Keep in mind that some of the down time they have during the day is their break/lunch times. Everyone deserves to take a break – even the nanny.