Nannies are no longer the domain of aristocratic lone fathers or ladies who lunch. Ordinary families are increasingly seeing the value of hiring a nanny as an alternative to long day care.
Depending on your lifestyle and circumstances, having a nanny may end up being good value for money.
There are also alternatives that will cater to the budget conscious (or budget limited!)
Interested? Read on…
Firstly, what does a nanny do?
Nannies are professional carers who generally have some formal training working with children. They should, at the very least, have an up-to-date First Aid certificate.
The nanny’s duties will depend on the needs of your family. Do you want them to live in or out of your home? Will they be expected to do additional housework on top of looking after the children?
Where do I find a good nanny?
You can ask your family, friends or maternal nurse to recommend someone. Nannies also often advertise on places such as community noticeboards, child care centres and schools. Just remember to perform thorough reference checks first.
Formal nanny agencies are also a good idea as they will have already conducted police checks and ensured the sound character of the nannies on their books.
How much do they cost?
Rates of pay will vary depending on the nanny’s qualifications and level of experience. Rates usually start at $20 per hour.
In some cases, nannies can become registered carers or approved carers, meaning that you can claim Child Care Benefit. For more information, see here.
Other considerations include having to pay superannuation if your nanny works more than 30 hours per week, paying income tax for your nanny and taking out public liability insurance. For further information, see here.
What are the advantages of having a nanny?
Compared to long day care or before/after school care, there are many benefits to having a nanny. These include no longer having to worry about:
- Having to accommodate day care hours (and that rush to get there before they start charging late fees!)
- Your child being exposed to day care germs.
- Having no one to look after your child at home when they’re ill and you need to go to work.
- Having to prepare meals and pack bags for day care.
- Not having back-up at home when you’re unwell or busy.
- Coming home to a chaotic and messy home.
Other unexpected benefits include the following:
- You have a built-in babysitter for date nights and impromptu after-work drinks.
- When your child inevitably says or does anything embarrassing, only the nanny will know about it.
- You can outsource the boring stuff to the nanny, meaning you can spend quality time with your child.
- You can also outsource activities you’re not really be into, e.g. messy arts and crafts (plus, the nanny will clean up afterwards!)
- Benefiting from the nanny’s experience. You may have experience looking after your own little ones, but he/she is likely to have had more experience looking after many children before yours and will have some wisdom to impart regarding discipline, toilet training, etc.
What are some alternatives to the formal nanny?
Read, CHEAPER alternatives.
I knew that would catch your attention!
Looking to expand your family’s cultural horizons? Got a spare room? Then au pairs are for you.
Au pairs are usually young foreign workers who don’t necessarily have any formal childcare training. Their role is more like an older brother or sister who can help you with the kids and perform some light duties around the home.
Au pairs are relatively cheap, as long as you can provide them their own room and meals. You really only need to give them ‘pocket money’, which ends up amounting to about $7-$8 an hour (this amount has been roughly calculated by deducting accommodation costs from the national minimum wage). For more information, see here.
Au pairs may be ideal if you have slightly older children who are becoming increasingly independent, or if you work from home and need to have someone around to keep the kids out of your hair.
The Flying Nanny
No, we’re not referring to Mary Poppins.
Etihad Airways has Flying Nannies – flight attendants who specialise in offering support to parents and helping keep kids entertained on long-haul flights. Note that this is not a one-on-one service and the Flying Nanny is there to help all families on board.
Other airlines may take Etihad’s lead and install their own flying nannies soon (if they haven’t already), so keep a look out.
However, you may want to consider a male nanny, or “manny”, or (PC definition) a nanny who happens to be man. Why?
- Providing a positive male role model. This is particularly beneficial if your children currently have no strong male role models. However, even if they do, the more the merrier!
- Modelling healthy attitudes about gender roles to your children (and society as a whole).
- Less sexual jealousy (on mum’s part anyway!)
Future trends in nannying
Technology is a fast-paced beast, so it helps to stay abreast of the latest nanny services being provided. So far, we’ve heard of an app called “Little Ones” which connects families at the last moment with available nannies in their local area – kind of like an uber for nannies. This app should be launching soon, so keep your eyes open!
Another handy service (which is currently on hold, but keep checking!) is Nanny in the Clouds. Are you planning to fly with young children? Would you prefer a more personalised service than a Flying Nanny can provide? This web-based service connects parents with registered nannies who are already travelling on their flight and would be willing to provide care while in the skies for a negotiated fee.