Hiring A Nanny

Why Use a Nanny Agency?

TLC For kids has been providing nanny placements for over 30 years in St. Louis and also serves South Florida and Atlanta. We are often asked why an agency can be a benefit for families when there are so many do-it-yourself options on the web. I wanted to share a list of quick points to consider when making your choice! 

Advantages of Using Nanny Agencies

  • A good nanny agency saves time for both nanny and family. It has tested procedures for recruiting, advertising, screening, and counseling, and policies regarding both placement and refunds.
  • It has an established reputation based on previous nanny placements, which in turn draws additional nannies and families into its registry, improving the choices for all.
  • A good nanny agency treats nanny and family as equals. Both are its clients, for without one it will not have the other.
  • A good nanny agency provides a solid nanny/family contract.
  • A good nanny agency stands behind its placements and impartially counsels both parties in case of on-the-job conflict.
  • A good nanny agency monitors the success of its nanny placements and may even offer workshops and gatherings that support both nanny and family.
  • Experience with a good nanny agency is probably the best possible introduction to the placement process: when a nanny has fulfilled her commitment to a good agency placement, the experience – awareness of screening procedures and of the many hitches along the way – will help both nanny and family in the next go-around.
  • A good nanny agency is known by its customer service, the caliber of the nannies and families it serves, and the frequent long-term success of its placements.
Screening Tools Used by Nanny Agencies
Nanny agencies have developed an arsenal of screening tools to help them in their work. A good agency knows how to spot “red flags” and eliminates the candidates who don’t meet their requirements. Sometimes the detailed application and the knowledge that the agency will be screening them alone helps screen those that would otherwise try to apply directly to an on-line site or individual families.
These tools include:
  • Application forms, which cover education and work history and provide “what-if” questions to assess childcare knowledge.
  • Minimum standards for applicants.
  • Age: 18 was the minimum; some nanny agencies may expect applicants to be at least 21.
  • Experience: initially “some babysitting,” now more often two years full time in a similar situation, even for those with teaching experience (great but not the same).
  • Education: initially a high school diploma, now often two or more years of college.
  • Interviews, one or several by telephone (for out-of-state applicants) and/or in person, for both nanny and family. Local applicants should without exception have been interviewed in person, with references checked prior to referral to the family. A premium service may interview nanny and/or family in-home.
  • Reference checks, as letters or conducted by telephone, anecdotal or fill-in-the-blanks.
  • Criminal record checks.
  • Driving record checks.
  • Standardized questionnaires for interviewing useful in comparing nanny candidates.
  • Standardized personality screening of nanny and/or family to assess personal style and potential for mutual compatibility of family and nanny.

Contact us today so we can help you find the best nanny 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

Why you Should Use a Nanny Agency

St. Louis NannyNeed childcare?  Have you thought about hiring a full-time or part-time nanny? St. Louis families have been using TLC for Kids to help them find nannies for over thirty years and so should you!

We’ve put together a list of reasons why you should use a nanny agency to conduct your nanny search.

1. A nanny agency only sends you vetted nannies.  The agency does extensive screening and personally interviews the candidates.  This makes the process much safer for your and your family.

2. Using a nanny agency makes the process more personal. A placement counselor  will get to know you and find out what is uniquely important to your family and will send you candidates that fit your pre-determined qualifications.
3. A nanny agency gives you a manageable number of candidates. Fewer is better so that parents are not overwhelmed by a sea of possibilities.

4. Using a nanny agency saves you a lot of time and energy sifting through sometimes hundreds of candidates.

5. When using a nanny agency  you will work with a placement counselor who will step you through the whole process of interviewing and negotiating employment agreements; will provide payroll and tax direction; and will be a helpful resource throughout the period of the nanny’s employment.

6. Families who want the best nannies use agencies because the highest quality nannies work exclusively with nanny agencies. They do not want to call strangers from a blind posting. Agencies offer them a safe, professional representation.

To learn more TLC for Kids visit our website or call Debbie at 314-725-5660.

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 info@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.

The Benefits of Unstructed Playtime

TLC Nanny AgencyI recently came across an article about the importance of free play for kids. The article stressed the importance of play for kids and how it links to their educational, social and physical development.

It’s clear that playing helps a child’s physical development. Gross motor skills are strengthened when kids have time to play and run around. But, did you know that play time can also improve a child’s communication and literacy skills? Play time on a playground with other kids or with a nanny teaches a child how to communicate and share. Play time also teaches kids how to interact with other people and read social cues. Woodbury School is showing kids how to turn imaginative play into plot lines. The schools teachers write down the ‘stories’ the kids are telling. The teachers read the stories back to the kids and then they learn to read them to each other.

The article goes on to say that young kids today have less and less time to play freely because of the emphasis on academics and structure in daycares and preschools. Hiring a nanny to take care of kids in a home instead of a structured daycare can give children more time to play freely. Nanny’s are able to give children one-on-one play time that can grow a child’s imagination.

To read the article in it’s entirety click here.

To learn more about hiring a nanny for your family visit the TLC for Kids Website.

Hiring Qualified Nannies with TLC for Kids

TLC for KidsThe one-on-one care that a nanny provides gives children a deep sense of self-worth and security while giving parents convenience, flexibility and peace of mind.

TLC for Kids extensive recruiting and screening process is always in motion and we always have a pool of qualified, experienced nannies. Our expert placement counselors will work with you to understand what is uniquely important to your family. This ensures that we only present you with candidates who meet YOUR desired qualifications and allows you to focus your attention on choosing that special nanny who will make a positive impact on your children and your family.

TLC only represents experienced caregivers with verifiable, good references who are warm, sensitive and alert to the needs of children. Our extensive application and interview process allows TLC and parents to carefully view the caregivers’ child care experience, education and work history, personal lifestyle and child care philosophy. Our child care questionnaires and oral interview questions help us to assess the caregiver’s knowledge of early childhood development and their ability to make decisions concerning the safety of their charges.

With TLC your nanny search can be limited to only those candidates who meet your qualifications. We look forward to helping families find the nanny that will be just the right fit for their 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

 

Finding Quality Childcare

TLC for KidsFinding childcare can be hard for families. In a recent survey of Parents readers who use child care, 84 percent said that finding affordable, quality care is either a challenge, very hard, or impossible.  It doesn’t have to be! TLC for Kids had been helping families find quality childcare for over 30 years.

Our clients have shared with us that they appreciate our service and love the nannies we represent.  One client said after hiring his TLC nanny that for the first time he  left home not worried about his baby.   Another family said things are going great and the nanny and boys are quickly developing a relationship.

Clients say the same thing about their babysitters.  TLC sitters arrive on time and are ready to work.   One of new members recently said, “She arrived as early as she could to help me be sure we had everything covered—in spite of horrendous traffic and short notice for my request.  We enjoyed her as did the kids.  I am sure we will be calling TLC again!?”

Call TLC at 314-725-5660 to learn more about how our personal service can help you hire professional nannies and babysitters.  Or, visit our website tlcforkids.com.

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