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De-Bunking the Nanny Myths

Let’s break down some popular myths about nannies. In January of 2010, we asked the families who use nannies through Nannies4hire.com to complete a survey about how the economic downturn was affecting their

families. We are using the data gathered to answer some of the myths about nannies.

Myth #1. Nannies are for the wealthy – false

The federal government has identified income of $250,000 a year as the threshold for the wealthy. When asked how much the family income was; 34% earned less than $100,000 per year, 22% earned between $100,000 and $150,000, 17.5% earned between $150,000 and $200,000, and 31% earned over $200,000. Working families are the ones most using nannies. (33% did not answer the question).

Myth #2. A nanny must work full-time – false

The nanny’s schedule works around the schedule of the family. Of the families who responded to our surveys, 46.9% of the nannies worked part-time, with a range of hours per week varying from under 10 to 30. You will be able to find a high quality nanny who can work with your schedule.

Myth #3. A nanny is not safe – false

In a study of Healthy Steps for Young Children2, the leading cause of injury to children was related to the family, not the nanny. Children of unmarried parents were the most likely to be injured. The conclusion of the study was, “Household composition seems to play a key role in placing children at risk for medically attended injuries.” In a study that compared children who received home care, center-based care, and other forms of out-of-home child care, the rate of minor injuries was highest in center-based care, but there was not a significant difference among the 3.

Myth #4. I will not know what is going on in my home with a nanny – false

Working with a nanny is not a mystery. By setting up your communication systems at the start of your relationship, you will know everything that your child did that day. We recommend keeping a nanny journal, a daily reporting book where your nanny records important milestones, successes and challenges of the day. Seeing that your house is neat and clean, and that your child is happy, those are the best measures of your nanny’s progress.

Myth #5. Hiring a nanny is too complicated - false

Hiring a qualified nanny is easier than you think. With an online database service like Nannies4hire.com, you can preview available nannies in your zip code in the comfort of your own home. You will see their picture, experience, health status, education, and more. After you have narrowed your selection to two or three prospects, take advantage of the tools (such as the sample nanny contract found in the Appendix) that will give you peace of mind when hiring a nanny to care for your child.

Myth #6. A nanny will only take care of the children (no housework, cooking, etc.) – false

A nanny is an asset to a family and, in most cases, will help your house run smoothly. The most important criterion is not to burden a nanny with non-child related activities and detract from their primary responsibility: the care of your child. Seventy-seven percent of the nannies who responded to our first survey in 2009 are doing child-related activities (homework, errands, birthday parties, housework, laundry, and meal preparation), while 19% are involved in family duties. In 2010, 79% are doing more than just watching children. When you get ready to hire your nanny, see how your nanny can help your family as a whole.

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3 comments to De-Bunking the Nanny Myths

  • It’s amazing how many people will turn away from a nanny search because of the mythology surrounding nanny services. A nanny placement agency can help a ton with pairing a family with a nanny who will meet their needs. Nanny screening services can resolve the issue of safety, and creating an employment contract and communicating clearly makes Myth #4 (I will not know what is going on in my house with a nanny) a moot point.
    Hiring a nanny is a great option for busy families who need a little bit of help with childcare and managing their home. Hopefully many people will read this article, and find the myths debunked.

  • NRed

    Most Nanny agencies claim that they will pair, but they really do very little. And depending on where your nanny is coming from (ours have come from the Philippines via Hong Kong) they pretty much say yes to everything. The main thing though, is that the Nannies have all done light housekeeping and meal preparation. They clean dishes (well load the dishwashers), and ours have typically planned the meals based on our eating requirements. Hiring a Nanny IS NOT easy. Regardless of what the agencies say, there is a lot that we as employers have to do, such as screening, getting a business number, tax forms, pay stubs, etc. Not saying that Nanny Services are not needed, we still use them, but I am saying that there is a lot to hiring a nanny and it can be complicated, especially if you are very busy people. Both of us are traveling professionals, and extra time is not a luxury.

  • Check out GTM.com for help with nanny tax and payroll services. There are many families who use this services to help with their nanny tax and payroll.

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