Hiring A Nanny

Best Practices to Establish the Perfect Nanny Relationship

Our guest post today comes from International Nanny Association

 

You’ve finished your search and have finally hired the best-fit nanny for your family, but where do you go from here to ensure that you develop the best possible nanny relationship ongoing?

Honeymoon Period

In every new job, both the employer and employee will be trying to make the best possible impression. Venturing into new territory will mean that the nanny may try different approaches and end up keeping some, while changing others. Adjusting to the expectations of the job and forming a bond with the children and family will take time. Rome, the perfect romance, and a long-lasting nanny relationship aren’t built overnight (or in two weeks); be patient and realistic.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

You hired this professional for a reason. That being said, she’s human. She may do things differently than you do, or would do. That doesn’t make them wrong. People have diverse ways of handling children. It’s easy to pick up on these variances, especially in the beginning, but try to be respectful and give your new nanny the space she needs to blossom in your household. Carefully weigh what really matters. Certainly, something involving a safety concern or a personal boundary you’d communicate about, but if she gets your child dressed in another order than you do or has a varied teeth brushing routine, it may not be worth worrying about. In fact, many parents comment on how much they’ve gained from having another adult around, with years of childcare experience, who second handedly taught them a great deal, if they were open-minded and willing to see other methods through this lens. At the end of the day, if your children are well cared for and you trust her, then that speaks volumes.

 

Read more for a successful nanny / family relationship. 

Helping your child adjust to a new caregiver.

Every child will receive care from someone other than their parents.  It may be a nanny, babysitter, grandparent, daycare worker or teacher.  Often times this situation can be difficult for both parent and child. Nanny Resources

TLC Family Care would like to share some tips to help you both through this new challenge.

1. Preparation.  A few days before start talking to your child about what is going to happen.  If possible take a look at the new setting and talk to your little one about what is going to happen during the day.  If you have hired a new nanny have the nanny come over to play first before she starts work.

2. Communication.  Tell the new nanny or caregiver all about your child.  Share routines and likes and dislikes.  You can also tell the nanny about recent events that might help build a relationship.

3. Transition objects.  If possible let your little one keep something with them that will remind them of home.  This can be comforting for your child.  A transition object might be a blankie, favorite stuffed animal or a picture of mom or dad.

4. Play Games.  For a younger child playing games like peek-a-boo and hide-n-seek help with  separation anxiety.  Kids learn that things continue to exist even if they are out of sight.  It also helps teach children the idea of a reunion and that objects and parents do come back.

5. Aftermath.  Finally be prepared that your child may react to the separation after the fact.  This may come in regression in toilet training, temper tantrums, or low levels of frustration.  Remain calm and talk to your child about their feelings and reassure them that everything is going to be OK.  Let the nanny or caregiver know about these new feelings too.

TLC’s nannies have experience working with kids and come ready to help make the transition a smooth one. Give us a call today to speak with one of our placement specialists and help you find the perfect caregiver for your family.

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.

Tips for checking a childcare reference.

This post originally appeared June 2011, but the information is still valuable. Reference checking can be a daunting task, but don’t delay in this important step in finding and hiring your nanny. 

As the Placement Counselor for TLC for Kids in St. Louis, I often take for granted the things I do everyday.  For example, this morning I was talking to a client who was ready to call references on a nanny she was interested in hiring.  She said that she had her questions ready – but just wasn’t sure how to go about it.  She didn’t know how to start the conversation and needed some tips.  It dawned on me that this is definitely a topic that St. Louis parents  are interested in learning a little more about.

When taking a childcare reference on a potential nanny:

  • Introduce yourself and explain why you are calling.  Let the person know you are a parent and the ages of your children.  Explain that you promise to keep confidential all of the responses and that the feedback of their former nanny/babysitter is extremely important to you.
  • When you ask the various childcare related questions, pay attention to the person’s voice inflection and pace of their  answer.  If the person answering the questions is hesitant or seems unsure of any of the answers, this is a definite red flag.  Many people are hesitant to talk negatively and this is when you must push a little and assure the reference that you are considering bringing their former nanny into your home.  You are counting on their honesty!
  • If the reference seems unsure of information or answers to the questions, something isn’t adding up.  This could indicate a false reference, which is something that is of course unacceptable.
    When in doubt, trust your gut instincts and make sure that you are 100% comfortable with the applicant you choose.  References are a great way to get a feel for the integrity and character, not to mention the experience level of a childcare provider.

At TLC for Kids, we love it when a parent gushes and is super excited to talk to us about their former nanny…usually, that means her other references are also stellar and she is a great find!

Good luck and if you have any comments or suggestions please let us know!

Jessica Friedman
TLC for Kids, Inc.

Every Family Needs A Work Agreement With Their Nanny

TLC Family Care has always asked families and nannies to complete a work agreement before the nanny begins. Our friends at Breedlove and Associates share with us why the nanny work agreement or nanny contract is so important.

Hiring a nanny can be both exciting and nerve-wracking, especially for ultra-busy, sleep-deprived families. Often, the obsession with finding the perfect caregiver causes families to overlook important employment details.

The Mistake

A Virginia family began searching for a nanny to care for their new bundle of joy. After an emotionally-draining 6-week quest to find the ideal nanny, they hastily agreed — verbally — on a work schedule and hourly rate. The nanny started work the next day without any kind of written agreement in place.

The Law

In some jurisdictions, a basic employment agreement is legally required. Whether required or not, we highly recommend that families use a placement agency or an attorney who can facilitate a comprehensive contract between family and nanny.

The discipline of drafting detailed job responsibilities, house rules, emergency procedures, work schedule, vacation/sick time procedures, compensation, pay frequency, communication/review procedures, etc. radically reduces problems and misunderstandings. It also tends to lengthen relationships because it makes the employee feel like a valued professional. Finally, it can be an important and cost-effective means of arbitrating any family/nanny issues.

The Mess

Within a few weeks, the honeymoon was over:
The family had trouble hiding frustration with the nanny’s housekeeping habits. She was tidying up the baby’s room and kitchen as well as cleaning toys and baby clothes. But the family had expectations of the nanny doing the family’s laundry and light housekeeping.
The nanny resented not getting paid for Labor Day. She needed the money and had assumed that she’d get paid for major holidays.
When the nanny got her first pay check, she was confused by the tax withholding’s. She thought the agreed-upon amount would be her “take-home” pay.

The Outcome

The family talked to friends and did some online research into the typical duties of nannies. They quickly realized that nanny job descriptions vary wildly and that they had done a poor job of articulating their desires at the beginning of the search process.

Similarly, although the family had done some research on household employer tax and legal obligations, they had not discussed the compensation and benefits offer at the appropriate level of detail for their nanny.

Despite the rocky start, the family really liked the way the nanny took care of the baby so they made a considerable effort to keep her. They created an employment agreement and sat down with her to discuss all the “relationship details” they should have discussed a month earlier.

Unfortunately, the nanny took another job shortly after their meeting. She did not feel valued or respected and opted for a fresh start with another couple.

The family hired their next nanny through one of our agency partners. The agency used a thorough job description process to focus the search on nannies who met the family’s expectations. After a comprehensive vetting process, the agency held the family’s hand through an employment agreement that left no room for misinterpretation or confusion. It’s been almost 18 months and the relationship is going strong.

How the Whole Thing Could Have Been Avoided

When searching for household help, busy families are tempted to take short cuts. Aside from being pressed for time, it can feel somewhat awkward to have a formal contractual agreement with someone with whom there is such a personal relationship.

However, in our experience, the formal work agreement is the single-best predictor of the long-term success of the relationship. Without one, the relationship almost always seems to be rife with misunderstandings and resentment. With one, the relationship enjoys clear direction and increased professionalism.

We encourage families to retain a reputable placement agency that can guide them on employment agreements and other important aspects of due diligence involved with household employment. It dramatically enhances the odds of an endearing and enduring employment relationship.

If you have additional questions about this or any other aspect of household employment tax and labor law, visit them online.

 

Having a nanny doesn’t make you less of a mom!

This article was first published June 2010, but the message still resonates today with moms, and dads everywhere! St. Louis Babysitters

As I flip through the latest editions of newsstand magazines, I often notice articles that feature celebrities boasting that they don’t require the services of a nanny. The articles usually then go on to quote the celebrity stating their intentions to raise their children alone. While this is all well and good, when it’s true, we usually see the same celebrity featured shortly after they’ve publicly denied employing a nanny out and about with a nanny or two in tow (think Jennifer Lopez).

While there are those celebrities (like Gwyneth Paltrow) who praise their nanny and admit that they couldn’t work if they didn’t employ the services of a qualified in-home child care provider, they are sadly the minority. Generally it seems that most high powered women and celebrities simply avoid the child care topic and keep their nanny a deep dark secret. Why is that?

While I don’t have the answer, I do have some theories. First, I think that our society still harshly judges working moms and has certain expectations regarding a mother’s role.  Although more women than ever work outside of the home and more women than ever hold leadership roles in major corporations and  government,  if they have children, there is an underlying current of judgment that says they don’t spend enough quality time with their children. But what is “enough” and why aren’t men subject to that same judgment?

Secondly, women often feel guilty for working and are torn between their work obligations and their family obligations. The result of this tug-of-war is that oftentimes working moms are left feeling like they aren’t adequate at either being a mom or being an employee, which can negatively impact a woman’s self-esteem and overall happiness.

A hundred years ago, many extended families lived in the same neighborhoods (if not the same house), so Grandma or Auntie helped with the children, did much of the cooking, etc. Today, this simply isn’t the case. For most families, Grandma doesn’t live around the corner, and if she does, she may have a life and career of her own, so she isn’t willing or able to help with the children as much as grandmothers of  two or three generations ago did. While the living arrangements of families have changed over the years, the fact that many families need help raising their children hasn’t. The result is that these families are now forced to look outside the family unit for the assistance that they need.

Not so long ago, a high profile client hired a wonderful nanny through my agency. The client, who is a successful business woman, was interviewed on T.V. and when asked about her family and her children she made not one mention of having a nanny. While the woman talked about how the children are on a schedule and eat only healthy meals, she never once mentioned that it was in large part due to the nanny who had planned the schedule, cooked the meals, etc!

Another time I was on vacation, relaxing by a pool, when the woman lying next to me and I began a conversation. She asked me what kind of work I did, and when I told her that I owned a nanny agency she really started telling me off!  She told me how supporting mothers so that they could go to work was undermining our society, etc., because they were supposed to be home with their children full time. I really got quite a lecture.

While INA has worked so hard to educate the public about nanny care, I tell you these stories to remind you that we still have a lot of educating to do.  If a mom wants to continue her career and doesn’t have a mother that can help her, isn’t the most responsible thing to hire the best possible care giver to care for her children? And, wouldn’t it make sense for that mother to work with an agency that is screening these care givers and only presenting to her those candidates that meet her standards and needs? And might this mom be happier pursuing both a career that she loves and raising a family that she loves, with some help from a loving, knowledgeable, experienced nanny that loves her work? The answers are yes, yes and yes!

INA members are the cream of the crop when it comes to quality in-home child care. With nearly 25% of our membership in attendance at our 25th Annual Conference, it’s evident our membership takes continuing education seriously and embraces the mission of INA, which is to educate the public and industry professionals on the importance of in-home quality child care.

As our keynote speaker, Marybeth Phillips, founder of Trustline, said, “We must all do our part.” When it comes to educating the public, the quality of services you provide, the way you represent yourself or your business and the information you share with others about the importance of choosing a quality child care provider speaks volumes. When we all do our part we can help working mothers know that they are not alone and that there are quality agencies and nannies who can partner with them to ensure their success at work and at home. So, please, do your part!

By Susan Tokayer
(past) International Nanny Association Co-President

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660

Should You Share That on Social Media?

Important information for all nannies and parents from the International Nanny Association.

Recently there has been an article circulating on industry social media (INA included) that shares personal and private information from nannies about the families that employ them. As   the industry leader, the INA works to continue to educate both industry professionals and those outside the industry regarding the recommended practices for nannies. We thought this article provides a good chance to talk about what a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) is and what you can, should, or should not share if you don’t have one of these in place.

An NDA is a document usually provided by the parents who employ you or more often, their legal advisers. It details the restrictions you have when talking about who you work for and the specifics of your job with others outside of the home. It might even explain what information about the children you can disclose to others who work in the home if you work for a family with several staff members. It will also often dictate when and how photographs of the children may be used. NDA’s come in all shapes and sizes. They might be simple and they might be complicated. If you are presented with an NDA or any other kind of document you are asked to sign, you need to make sure that you fully understand what it says and the consequences should you violate that agreement. Asking questions of the parents who employ you is a great first step but you might want to take it to a trusted attorney of your own to be sure you know what you are signing.

So what can you share? Read on for more important information and tips. 

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660

Summer and Vacation Scheduling with a Nanny

Our guest post today comes from HomeWork Solutions.

Most nannies and their employers have a very informal work relationship, without any formal written agreement. The work and pay related details that most employers take for granted – Paid Time Off (sick/vacation/personal) and vacation scheduling – are gray clouds over the nanny’s head. Many wonder, and are afraid to ask, will I be paid?

Most nanny employers have established rules in their workplace – paid holidays, a paid vacation policy, and colleagues to share the work load when one is absent. Nannies often have none of these things formalized.

As a rule of thumb, the full time nanny should be paid for any regularly scheduled day when she is available to work and the family, for any reason, decides they don’t need her. This includes holidays such as the 4th of July as well as the family’s beach week. The full time nanny should have an agreed number of Paid Time Off (PTO) or flex days available to her and reasonable latitude to schedule her personal vacation, etc. She may have some scheduling limitations, agreed to in advance, as to the timing and duration of vacation time, but should have reasonable discretion in the matter.

Continue reading for information on part-time and summer nannies.

Do you Need a Summer Nanny?

Summer is a wonderful time for kids! There’s nothing like a little fun and relaxation during the warm summer months, but for working parents, it could be the opposite.  Your schedule likely doesn’t slow down once summer rolls around and it may even be causing you some anxiety thinking about trying to scramble to find reliable childcare while you’re at work. Day camps, relying on friends and family to serve as babysitters, and taking vacation time will only go so far. TLC for Kids has the solution: hire a summer nanny. Your kids will love having a nanny to hang out with and take them places.  You will love not having to figure out childcare on a week by week basis.   A stress free summer for everyone! 

Thank you to Homework Solutions for sharing this article.  Click here to read about some other benefits  of hiring a summer nanny.

Top 5 Nanny Sites You Should Be Following

The nanny world is full of resources and information for nannies, parents and agencies. We’ve pulled together 5 of our favorites that we think you should be checking out for the information they provide.

  1. Regarding Nannies. Created by industry veterans, this site brings together the best of what nannying has to offer. From Monday Moxie to Financial Friday – there’s something for everyone every day of the week. Looking for tips on how to talk to talk to your employer? Or are you looking to transition your job? How about giving a shout out to your favorite nanny for NNRW?
  2. International Nanny Association. The longest running nanny organization serving the in-home child care industry, INA bring together all aspects of this industry – nannies, newborn care specialists, parents, agencies, training programs and service providers. With Recommended Practices for Nannies to the INA Nanny Credential Exam, the INA has it covered. Check out their resources for Parents and their annual conference, this May in Chicago.
  3. Nanny Counsel. NC is a fresh voice in the nanny community. Practical tips and advice, along with access to a free Nanny Contract.
  4. Nanny Network. NN has been around a long time and their listing nanny and parent resources is extensive. Check this site out for help on questions to ask, tax and payroll, and much more.
  5. Practically Perfect Podcast. The musings of two veteran nannies, Lora Brawley and Sue Downey, they bring hot topics in the industry straight to listeners everywhere.

Nannying & The Work-at-Home Parent Part 2

Now that there have been boundaries and ground rules established, the nanny and the work at home parent will need to talk about how to handle conflict/discipline as well as work on a schedule/routine that can be followed on a daily basis.

How to handle conflict:

When looking to hire a nanny, having a discussion about discipline philosophies and methods is necessary. Common areas of conflict are often discussed during the interview process, but if it’s not, this could cause issues between the nanny and work at home parent. Having regular, ongoing communication will help both parties discuss their ideas and preferences, but there will need to be a clear understanding of what the parent’s wishes ultimately are. A great way to keep the communication line open is by having an open dialogue type of meeting every month or every other week. This could be a safe place to discuss how things are going, what expectations parents have for in-home policies or specific rules in the house that may be changing, and it will also give the nanny the space to ask questions or share any difficulties/successes she has had in recent days with the children.

Read on to find additional tips on routine, work environment and avoiding micromanaging.

HomeWork Solutions is one of the nations leading nanny tax and payroll companies.

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660