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Hiring a Nanny for Your Child

This material courtesy of Steve Lampert, President of

Finding a reliable nanny is a primary concern for working mothers in the United States.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 5.6 million working moms in the United States, and approximately 51 percent of women who gave birth to their first child returned to work within four months.

In record numbers, families are turning to nannies as a solution for their childcare needs.

Hiring a nanny is a serious commitment, and many U.S. parents use a mutual “nanny contract” to lay out clearly the terms and conditions of employment before the hiring process is complete.

One of the biggest causes of nanny turnover tends to be parents who make unexpected, and, for the nanny, unreasonable requests in the form of extra hours or chores. On the other hand, parents are often dissatisfied with nannies who ask to invite overnight guests, make long distance phone calls, and want to use the nanny car for personal errands.

Good communication is the most important part of the parent-nanny relationship. Parents and nannies who communicate well provide a nurturing environment for the children together, which is, after all, the point of hiring a nanny to begin with. A detailed and mutually satisfying contract is the first step in making this relationship work.

A functional nanny contract contains a detailed statement outlining the nanny’s responsibilities and goals for the children’s growth and progress. It should state the nanny’s salary and pay dates, along with any deductions for applicable taxes, social security, and health insurance.

Some other issues you may find in a nanny contract are:

  • Overnight care-how often it is expected, and what additional pay will be provided per hour.
  • A detailed travel schedule for the year that includes when the nanny is expected to leave town with the family, what provisions will be made for the nanny’s comfort while traveling, how many hours of work will be necessary while out of town, and what additional pay will be provided.
  • An agreement concerning the nanny’s mealtimes, and what food items will be provided for the nanny in accordance with his or her dietary needs.
  • An agreement concerning the children’s dietary needs and what meals the nanny is expected to prepare.
  • Rules for use of the nanny car, including provisions for automobile insurance.
  • A schedule of regular meetings between the parents and the nanny to encourage ongoing communication.
  • How sick days will be handled.
  • How many vacation days the nanny will get after an agreed on period of work.

A detailed, comprehensive nanny contract is especially important if the nanny is hired on a live-in basis. A fair contract will ensure that everyone concerned gets the most out of the loving care a nanny provides to the children.

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