Childcare is expensive. That we know for sure. But what we often fail to recognize are the true costs and benefits of that care. Whether you put your child in daycare or hire a nanny, you are essentially trusting someone else to raise your kid(s). I can’t speak to daycares because I’ve never worked in one, but I do know a little about the nanny side of childcare, so I created a list of the most common costs and benefits of hiring a nanny.
Professional Pay: guaranteed pay, PTO, paid holidays, payroll service
Professional pay is one thing that differentiates casual nannies from career nannies. Career nannies expect consistent pay. Consistent pay resembles a salary in that their pay minimum is the same every single paycheck, regardless of hours worked. However, because nannies are protected under the FLSA, employers are required to pay overtime (time and half) for any hours worked over 40 hours in a single week. Expect to provide nannies with PTO and paid holidays, as well. This is part of the guaranteed pay/salary concept. Aside from the pay a nanny receives, getting paid through a payroll service is very important. A payroll service allows for consistent legal pay so that a nanny can receive benefits and approval for things like loans and proof of income. Since employers pay for the payroll service and their own portion of taxes, it can cost an employer an extra few thousand dollars a year on top of a nanny’s salary. Budget for that when making an offer to a nanny.
Car Insurance and Gas Reimbursement
A professional nanny will drive your kids. The only question is, will she drive your vehicle or her own? That’s entirely up to you and your nanny, but regardless, she needs to have protection under her employers’ insurance since she drives for work purposes. If she uses her own car, she will qualify for mileage reimbursement at the federal rate of 58¢ per mile as of January 1, 2019.
Bonuses and/or Gifts
Although it is not a requirement, generally families want to show their appreciation for their nanny by giving gifts/bonuses for birthdays, holidays, and Nanny Appreciation Week. Even if you can’t afford much, nannies just want to know you appreciate them somehow.
Nannies love to take the children on outings, whether it’s to the library or to the zoo, it’s great for both the nanny and the kids to get out of the house and explore. It can add to the yearly expenses, however, those experiences are invaluable to your children and definitely recommended.
Some families provide nannies food during the day in their home and on outings. A nanny should never expect to pay for her own food or drinks while out with the kids, unless it’s something personal that doesn’t involve them.
Consistency and quality of care
When children are placed in a daycare, there is no telling how long their teacher will stay with the children. Teachers and children often rotate classrooms, resulting in inconsistent care, expectations and routines. A career nanny is less likely to bounce around with families and, therefore, can provide a stable environment for kids. Because a nanny knows she is responsible for those children 40+ hours a week, she invests in them. She creates a schedule, lays down and upholds her expectations, and builds relationships with her nanny-kids. She provides personalized attention, care and discipline. Kids benefit from consistency and knowing what their boundaries are. A nanny can provide that in a way that a daycare never will.
More family time
Families have the option of hiring a nanny who falls more under the role of a nanny manager who incorporates homemaking duties in with caring for children. She will often run errands, plan and cook meals, clean and organize the home, as well as completing other needs the family has. This allows families to spend more time together and less time doing all of those chores in and out of the house. When asked what they want most from their parents, kids will tell you they want their time and attention. That quality time now spent with family, rather than doing menial tasks is invaluable.
Less stress at home
When children have a nanny, they get to sleep, eat and play on their own schedule (well, the nanny’s schedule really), so parents don’t have to stress about waking them up early, feeding them breakfast, and getting them appropriately dressed for the weather and out the door before work in the morning. In the evenings, a nanny can cook for the family and get the kids ready for bed, depending on the family’s needs, allowing the parents to have more freedom before going to bed themselves. Having a reliable trustworthy nanny is priceless!
A nanny is an investment. She isn’t a house or a college degree, but she cares for your children. Caring for your nanny is caring for your kids. And who doesn’t want the best for their children? I’m not saying a nanny fits everyone’s lifestyle, but if you do choose to hire a career nanny, she will impact your children’s lives in such a powerful way. An educated and experienced nanny can challenge your children academically, push them to do their best work, encourage positive behavior and practices, and the list goes on. As I mentioned previously, a nanny can provide personalized attention. Like a parent, she is invested in helping your children succeed. Put forth the effort to appreciate your nanny, so she feels safe and confident in caring for your children, who will eventually walk out into the world as successful adults because you invested in their care.
Unique experiences/outings for the child(ren)
I love taking my nanny-kids on outings! They get to explore and learn and socialize, and I don’t have to be stuck inside all day. Except for the occasional field trip, daycares do not have the luxury of taking their students to story time at the library, or classes at the rec center, or to the zoo. These experiences open doors for children. They learn about things outside of the home, like animals and the solar system, in new and exciting ways. It also provides an opportunity to socialize with other children and make friends they aren’t related to.
Child(ren) get to know their neighbors and neighborhood
One thing children with nannies get to do is spend time in their neighborhood during the week. This provides them opportunities to meet people at the park, the library, the community pool, the rec center, or even the nearest Chick-fil-A (don’t even get me started on how amazing this place is for kids!). This gives them a community where they can grow up recognizing people. It gives them a sense of pride for their hometown.