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If you want your children to stay in your home and receive consistent care from one person who will grow to know and love them, then you are likely looking for an in-home caregiver or nanny. The title "nanny" can refer to a large spectrum of potential candidates '- from a college student looking for work or course credit, or a woman (or man) with years of experience but no formal training, to a graduate of an accredited nanny school. The cost of employing a nanny also varies accordingly. A nanny may live with your family, or she may live elsewhere and come to your house each day. One other distinction is that a nanny is your employee. That means you have more control over her job description and expectations, but you're also responsible for tax forms, employee benefits and possibly worker's compensation in the event of an on-the-job injury. You can find a nanny through referral agencies, or you can find one on your own using agencies, newspaper ads, "word of mom" referrals, or local college career placement and job centers.
What you might like about this choice
- No need to rush everyone out of the house in the morning! Many parents like the fact that their children get to stay in their own home and play in their own neighborhood during the day.
- You get one-on-one care. After all, the nanny is responsible for your kids - and your kids alone - so they're likely to receive much more individualized attention.
- Accredited nannies have some commitment to the profession and have probably chosen it as a career because they love working with kids.
- Some parents feel as if they have more say in how their children are cared for because the nanny is their direct employee.
- Your nanny may also take on laundry and other household chores.
- It's usually the most expensive care. One recent Wall Street Journal article cited the annual cost of a live-in nanny at more than $27,000.
- Finding the right person can be a challenge, as qualified nannies are in high demand.
- Kids miss out on the natural, daily, social interaction that takes place in situations where more children are present.
- A nanny may not have backup when he or she is sick, and if she were to leave your employ, you may suddenly be left without child care.
- Loss of privacy, as your employee is now living and breathing your life.
Words worth considering
"We all have some versions of the Mary Poppins icon rattling around in our heads '- a person who's going to appear suddenly and magically instill order into our lives with the proper mix of authority, can-do energy and charm. Can anyone really measure up? Still... you're going to be around each other '- a lot '- and in very intimate circumstances. Don't hold out for the great love affair, but do hold onto your standards."
'-The Nanny Book
Further readingThe Nanny Book: The Smart Parents Guide to Hiring, Firing and Every Sticky Situation in Between
by Susan Carleton and Coco Myers