Part-time nannies—all you need to know

Hiring a nanny can give you peace of mind, freedom and the flexibility of maintaining business and social endeavors while being sure that your children are in the capable hands of a loving and experienced caregiver. While you are searching for a nanny, keep in mind that there are many different types of arrangements that you can make with your nanny.

One of the first things to think about is what exactly you need a nanny to do, and what schedule your family needs. Many nannies can take on different duties in your home. A nanny's primary duty is childcare, but often times nannies provide transportation for your children, help them with their homework, and help them to bathe, make up their beds, and keep the house tidy. Some nannies are willing to take on additional housework for extra pay, and many nannies-especially full-time, live-in nannies-may have several roles in your home as errand-runners, bookkeepers, filers, menders, and even cooks.

While you are in the process of hiring a nanny, it is important to be clear about what you expect. Nannies are professional individuals, and some, such as housekeeper nannies, are eager to fill multiple roles in your home, while others specialize in one role only, such as infant care.

If you think you want to hire a part-time nanny, you should be willing to look at both the pros and cons of the potential situation. Part-time nannies may have several jobs to fill out their schedule. They may work as a nanny for different families in your neighborhood, or they may have part-time jobs elsewhere. Part-time nannies often have families and children of their own to look after between part-time jobs, or they may be students who work part-time for extra income.

A part-time nanny will definitely be convenient for you if you work part-time yourself, or if you need someone to take the kids off your hands while you are pursuing other goals and activities, either inside or outside the home. Because nannies are generally used to being left alone with children and are skilled in providing structured care without your specific instructions each day, you will be able to spend time inside or outside your home while the nanny makes sure that the children are occupied. Unlike hiring a babysitter, you will not need to leave a schedule or list of instructions, or call home to check in every half-hour.

Part-time nannies will be looking for reliable schedules. After all, they need to fit this part-time job into a busy schedule of their own. Nannies who work part-time usually do it because they can only work a certain number of hours, days, and times per week. Because of this, you will need to spend a little more time searching to find the right match for your lifestyle than if you were hiring a full-time nanny. Part-time nannies generally want to work a minimum of 4 hours at any one time and a minimum of 12-15 hours per week.

If you want a nanny who can change plans immediately when you call home to say you will be late, then a part-time nanny is probably not for you.

You should also be aware that part-time nannies generally wind up charging more per hour than full-timers. This is because they have less job security, are in very high demand and have less hours to work, so they have to charge more per hour in order to piece together a workable salary.

Some parents try out the option of hiring a communal nanny-a nanny who works full-time by alternating between different neighborhood children. This may work well if you have a good rapport with other local parents and if you can form a group with regular schedules and a desire to stay put in the area for several years down the line.

The benefit of hiring a nanny is the personal bond that only a nanny is capable of forming with your children. If you are thinking of hiring a part-time nanny, make sure that you take the time and effort to make this bond possible, and to therefore make your children's, your nanny's, and your experience more worthwhile.

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