Whether you’re a family with two incomes, a single income household, or a single parent, everyone who has a child and works worries about obtaining quality care for their children. Thankfully, we live in a time where daycares are readily available. However, sometimes daycare can be more expensive than private care, and their hours are more restricted. Hiring a private babysitter or nanny has many benefits.
The hours are a lot more flexible, especially if you opt for a live-in nanny. You won’t have to worry so much about rushing out of work to get your kiddos before daycare closes. Child care is expensive, no matter what route you take, but it’s worth researching to figure out which option best suits your needs and budget.
Hiring a nanny is the most convenient option for child care. They can work around your schedule more easily. Instead of having your child bounce around to babysitter after babysitter, they’ll receive continuity of care and build a relationship and trust with the nanny. Not only can they provide care for your child, but they can help you around the home in many other ways.
This is especially helpful for those who work long hours or odd shifts. A nanny can be there to get your kid up for school, make breakfast, take them to school, shop for groceries, clean, take the kids to sports practices, feed them dinner, and put them to bed. A study showed that 17% of families (out of 2000 interviewed) use nannies for child care. Some think that only the rich can afford to have a nanny, but that’s not necessarily the case.
On average, nannies make around $18 an hour (stats from a survey conducted in 2014). This may sound like a lot of money, but if you only need the nanny for a few hours a day, it’s worth it for the help and the stability. A nannies’ wage depends on their education level, geographic location, and years of experience. There are more expenses to worry about as well, including vacation time, health insurance, taxes, transportation costs, and yearly bonuses.
There are different types of nannies available for your needs. They include full-time nannies, live-in, live-out, part-time, and nanny share. A full-time nanny can be either live-in or live-out. Which one you choose will depend on the job requirements. If you need more housework done, need your kids woken up and take to school, or work overnight, etc., then it would be convenient to have a live-in nanny. If you just need help during the day and are home at night, a live-out nanny would be better and cost you less. A live-in nanny typically works 12+ hours a day, whereas a (full-time) live-out nanny will work around 10.
There is no law saying you must pay your nanny $18 an hour. However, there is a law that states you must pay your nannies at least minimum wage, and they must be paid for any overtime they work (more than 40 hours). Live-in nannies can usually expect a slightly smaller salary than live-out ones. This is because the employer provides room and board to the live-in nanny.
To determine how much you should be paying your nanny, consider their experience, education, certifications, how many kids you need care for, whether they need special treatment or assistance, how many responsibilities they would have, etc. On the low end of the pay scale, nannies will make around $14 an hour (2 years of experience). The high end, for those with ten years or more experience, is around $21 an hour.
When people think of a nanny, they typically picture a babysitter who is with the kids all day every day. However, part-time nannies are common, too. “Nanny” simply refers to an exclusive care provider for your child. Part-time work may include after-school care, bedtime care, or morning routine care. To be considered part-time, one would work 35 hours or fewer in a week.
A nanny will have a set schedule with the same amount of hours every week, which is another reason they’re set apart from babysitters, who are on an as-needed basis without a steady, dependable income. It’s typical to pay part-time nannies the same hourly rate as full-timers. If they’re making more than $1,900 in a year, you’ll be paying taxes, too.
Lastly, we have a nanny share, which simply refers to a nanny taking care of children from multiple families at the same time. One reason people choose to nanny-share is so that they can split the cost, saving each family money. This sounds like a great way to go, especially if you need a more budget-friendly option. It can get tricky, though, when sharing a nanny, because both families need to agree upon wages, hours, location of care, etc.
If you work different shifts or need the nanny at different times for different jobs, you may run into trouble with scheduling. You also want to make sure that you and the other family agree on discipline, learning methods, and activities. It typically costs more per hour for a shared nanny, but since the cost is being split, it still comes out cheaper for each family.
The cost of having a nanny includes more than just their hourly rate or their yearly salary. There are other expenses involved. A nanny is a household employee. Therefore, you need to deduct taxes out of their salary. You need to withhold social security, medicare, state and federal income taxes, and the employee’s portion of medicare and social security, and the unemployment insurance tax. To figure out the tax requirements in your area, you can check Care.com’s state requirements page.
Depending on where you live, and what kind of insurance you provide to your nanny, it could cost between $200 and $300 each month. You will need to account for paid holidays such as New Year’s, Memorial Day, Labor Day, the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. That’s not to say that all of those days must be a paid holiday. Some families and nannies have agreements that allow them to work some holidays and have some others off.
Along with paid holidays, you need to provide them with paid vacation. It’s typical for a nanny to have two weeks of paid vacation each year. A lot of families will try to coordinate their nannies’ vacations with their child’s school vacations (for example, Christmas or spring vacation). If you are someone who is understanding of people needing sick days, the typical number of days allowed is 4-5. Only 47% of employers offer this benefit, though. It’s also a good idea to give your nanny a yearly bonus, or a Christmas bonus. Usually, an employer will give the nanny one weeks’ salary as their bonus.
If you choose to do so, you can reimburse your nanny for travel expenses. If you live in a city, you could pay for a metro-card. If you need the nanny to drive their own car to run errands or take the children to school or practice, you may want to consider paying for their gas expenses.
If you haven’t had a nanny before, it may be a rough start. There will be a learning curve and it will be challenging for all to adjust to the new normal. Once you find a nanny that fits your family, you can work on achieving a smooth-running routine that agrees with both the family and the nanny. If you can achieve that, you’ll find that it’s more than worth it to use a nanny vs. a regular babysitter. A nanny can do so much more to help your family.
A babysitter is most often only expected to keep the child safe and fed. This is a little more responsibility, but the point is that they aren’t expected to cook, clean, do laundry, run errands, etc. If you’re a family that is very busy and need all the help you can get, you’ll want to lean more towards a nanny. If you don’t think you can afford it, work on your budget. There is typically an adjustment that can be made so that child care can become more of a priority, and thus, more of a probability.
If you’re a parent, you’ve most likely learned how much of a struggle it can be to find dependable and affordable child care. Some parents go through babysitters every other month because the babysitter got a job or simply doesn’t feel like watching the kid anymore. Daycare centers are dependable, but they have limited hours and cost a lot of money. You also have to worry about how many other kids are in the center and whether your child would get the care and attention they need. When it comes to nannies, they’re a lot more dependable, safer, more hands-on, convenient, and you can build more of a relationship, both between you and the nanny and between the child and the nanny.
There is a very long list of the benefits of having a nanny vs. using a daycare. When your child can stay at home, they can sleep in until they wake up naturally or until they need to get ready for school, instead of waking up extra early to get to daycare before you have to be at work. Your child’s diet can be controlled entirely by you, allowing them a healthier, more balanced meal plan.
If the school gets canceled for a snow day, you won’t have to miss work to stay home with the kids. You also won’t have to miss work for their appointments. You can even save time when it comes to their homework so that you can spend quality time together in the evenings. They may miss out on some socialization that would come from being at a daycare, but the pros outweigh the cons for most families.
Another benefit of having a nanny is that you can have them take care of your pets as well. You won’t have to worry about your dog chewing everything in sight, and you won’t have to lock it in a cage all day. You won’t have to worry about them getting lonely or breaking loose. They can be fed at regular times instead of whenever you can get to it. Keep in mind that you don’t have to use a nanny all day every day. You can just pay someone to help out a few hours a day. There are options. It’s up to you to decide what works best for your family.