What Happens When The Kids
Go To School
A good nanny can become something like an extended family member. They have been around since your children were young, grown with the family unit, and are accustomed to your personalities and lifestyle. However, when your children reach school age, you may be faced with some tough decisions concerning your nanny’s continued role in the household. Whether your nanny is full time or part time, there may not be enough responsibilities with the children to fill the hours they are paid for. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to address this issue and find a good solution for both you and your nanny.
Before considering the options, it is great to start with a discussion between you and your nanny about his or her needs and preferences as well as the ongoing needs of the family. Even after children go to school, there are sick days and teacher planning days, and sports and activities. While these may not create the need for a full time job, it is beneficial to both parties to work together to find a solution. Abruptly parting ways or choosing an alternative arrangement without consulting your nanny would likely hurt your business and personal relationship, which can have very adverse affects on you and your children who have grown to love your nanny.
When discussing options with your nanny keep in mind that while you may consider them part of the family, they have relied on consistent pay for several years to sustain their needs and lifestyle. His or her preferences for their own career will help determine which options are best for them. Preferences including hours, income, responsibilities, and time with children will impact the attractiveness of certain solutions.
1. Nanny Share
Nanny sharing is a growing trend amongst families with school-age children seeking to balance the costs of childcare with the needs of their household. According to a Care.com survey, 33% of families now spend more than 20% of their household income on childcare. With childcare costs increasing annually, nanny sharing offers an attractive solutions that cut costs and also allows your nanny to remain a steady member of the family and continue earning steady pay. It also provides continued support for school pickup, sick days, etc… If you chose this option, you would need to find another family in your neighborhood or nearby that has similar childcare needs. Nanny sharing arrangements can be made with children that are in school or prior to kids going to school. Arrangements are customized depending on each family’s needs. For example, the nanny could assist in getting your children ready for school in the morning, then while your children are at school, they could head over to the second family’s home to provide daycare for the younger kids. In other situations, the nanny may care for all the children at the same time in one home. It all depends on the schedule that works best for you and the family you choose to partner with.
The numerous benefits to nanny sharing include reduced childcare costs, continued childcare support, schedule flexibility, and social development for kids. "Share care helps children form a bond similar to that of siblings," says Arlyce Currie, program director of Bananas, a nonprofit childcare information clearinghouse in Oakland, California. In 2016 the percentage of families seeking a nanny share reportedly grew by 23% from the previous year (Care.com). As this trend continues, it should not be too hard to find families willing to work with each other and make the necessary sacrifice for their children and favorite nannies.
2. Shift to Responsibilities
If your household budget allows, you can still keep your nanny on full time even when the kids are at school. Balancing work responsibilities and maintaining the household can be a full time job within itself and any working household could use a full-time nanny to lessen this load, even if the children are in school during the day. If you keep the nanny on a full time schedule, they will be available to perform other duties around the house while the children are away. This is a great way to complete house cleaning, run small errands, prepare food for the family, get the laundry done, and pick up children from school and extracurricular activities. It can be especially hard for working parents to change work schedules to pick up a sick child or cover school vacations. Having a nanny to handle some of those extra responsibilities can be a great help.
3. Move Hours Earlier or Later or Reduce Hours to Part-Time
If there is not a need to handle chores, or maybe budgets don’t allow, families may consider 1) moving their nanny’s hours to earlier or later in the day or 2) cutting back hours to cover just that time when the children are out of school.
Moving a nanny’s hours to earlier or later in the day can help the family have additional childcare support for busy times in the day. This would provide time to cover waking up and getting ready for school or coming home from school, extracurriculars, dinner, homework and bedtime.
Cutting hours to part time when the children are home provides the same level of support for the family without creating slack in the system and reducing overall childcare costs. Either of these options would also allow the nanny to work part time with another family and maintain consistent full time pay.
When re-arranging a nanny’s hours, be sure to set up a flexible schedule that can work for both parties. For example, your nanny may opt to work with a family with younger children during the day, then prepare to meet your children when they return from school in the afternoon and assist with extracurricular activities and dinner. Whether it’s picking up and dropping off children from their after school activities, preparing dinner, or helping with homework, a part time afternoon nanny can provide a lot of value to a household.
4. Find your nanny a new family
Some nannies would prefer to have a steady full-time job with one family that has a variety of responsibilities for them to perform. If none of the above methods work for mutually for both the nanny and your family schedule, then it may be best to allow the nanny to find other work. It is helpful to support your nanny as they begin to look for a new position by providing a strong reference, reaching out to your own network [LINK TO HOW TO FIND A GOOD NANNY ARTICLE], and giving them significant lead time. Most families feel a lot more comfortable hiring a nanny that was referred to them by another trusted family. Your referral will make your nanny’s transition to the new family a lot easier because they will already know the nanny has the experience and qualifications to do a good job. If you don’t personally know a family that would want to hire your nanny, there are several websites you can use to make referrals and find a match. Websites that provide this service include Nanny Poppinz, Care.com, and regional nanny referral services are available in most cities.
This is a great way to part ways amicably and ensure that your nanny is still well taken care of even though you are unable to accommodate them. Depending on the situation and their new position, you may still want to work with them for special occasions such as when taking vacations without your children or for one time baby-sitting jobs.
Ultimately, it is about making the best decision for you and your family while respecting the needs and preferences of your nanny.