We love our nanny, but my children will be starting school full-time, what should we do?
The following is a real question we received, and it’s a common one among parents who have nannies they adore when back to school time approaches…
“Since my daughter was a baby, she’s had the same nanny, and we couldn’t be happier with the care that she’s been provided over the years. But my daughter will be starting full-day kindergarten this fall. When she was in pre-school she was only in school a few hours a day. Is there any way I could still keep my nanny?”
Child care expert and CanadianNanny.ca founder, Martha Scully, has this advice for parents who want to find a way to keep the nanny they love even after their children start going to school full-time.
It’s understandable that your daughter and your nanny have formed a strong bond; children often develop a special place in their hearts for their nannies. In fact, many parents become emotionally attached to their kids’ caregivers as well, and it can be difficult to say goodbye to them. A nanny who’s capable, firm, warm and caring is a treasure.
Of course, the simplest solution would be to keep your nanny as a full-time employee and, in essence, pay her to be available throughout the week in case emergencies or sudden school closings occur. The trouble with this approach is that on most days you’d be giving your nanny money to basically do nothing for several hours at a time. Even if you could afford this arrangement, would it really be the best way to spend your disposable income?
Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between dismissing your nanny and remunerating her for just sitting around the house. The ideas below may allow you to keep employing her so that she and your child(ren) can have a lot more quality time together in the future.
A Change in Hours
Your first action might be to ask your nanny if she’s willing to work for you on a part-time basis. Maybe she’d be interested in taking a part-time job in another field during the day, or perhaps she’d like to take classes at an area college.
Alternatively, maybe you could change your nanny’s hours but not reduce them. Between afternoons, evenings and weekends, it shouldn’t be too hard to cobble together a 40-hour weekly schedule. If your nanny is flexible, she might even work different hours on different weeks according to your family’s needs.
Sharing Your Beloved Nanny
Another option is to try to find local residents who are looking for a part-time nanny. Some parents work from home, and it can be hard for them to focus on their projects while keeping an eye on their babies or toddlers. Similarly, some stay-at-home moms and dads would relish having a nanny for part of the day so that they can go to the gym and handle other personal affairs alone.
Your nanny might work for such parents during the morning and afternoon. Then she could pick up your daughter at school or wait for her at a bus stop before proceeding to your home.
To find such parents, comb through online ads for nannies. In addition, ask your friends, colleagues, and relatives if they know of anyone who might be interested in a part-time nanny.
Another option is to give your nanny a slate of new responsibilities during the day while the kids are at school. Those tasks might include cleaning, organizing household items and running errands. That way, you’ll have more time throughout the week, and you might feel justified keeping her on full-time.
If your nanny enjoys cooking, you could ask her to be in charge of meal preparation. And even if she’s not skilled in the kitchen, she could still create menus for your family or shop for all the ingredients that you need. Some nannies may prefer to do laundry over cooking. It is always best if you find tasks that the nanny enjoys rather than what she is being forced to do.
Make sure that your nanny is fully on board with every new assignment that you give her. When nannies become dissatisfied with their positions, it’s often because their employers’ expectations repeatedly change, sometimes arbitrarily. Plus, many household chores are definitely not part of the typical job description for a nanny.
For more on the typical duties of a nanny and what is considered extra work read: How Much Housework Should I Expect From My Nanny
A Temporary Situation?
It’s important to accept that none of the above ideas is guaranteed to make your nanny stay. If you share your nanny with another family, she might find that going back and forth between households (and different styles of parenting) is too draining. Thus, that arrangement might not last. Likewise, if your nanny is working for you part-time, she might realize that she prefers the stability that comes with full-time employment. In other words, you might still need to prepare for your nanny’s departure.
On the other hand, many nannies form an emotional bond with families. After several years together they truly feel a part of the family. Children do not see their nanny as an employee. They see their nanny as someone who cares for them and who wants to be with them. Since the nanny feels like part of the family, as your children age she may enjoy doing tasks beyond the traditional nanny job such as supervising parties and activities with friends, taking them to sports practices and music lessons, and helping with homework.
So, if you can find a way to keep your nanny through a system of sharing or a shift in hours or duties, she and your child(ren) can look forward to many more bonding experiences.
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