Is a nanny right for you?
What does a nanny do?
A nanny provides consistent, child-centred care in your home. They work the hours and days you need, and can also provide additional services such as babysitting on a regular or occasional basis.
What are the advantages to having a nanny?
The biggest advantage is that a nanny comes to you – no getting sleepy children up, dressed, breakfasted and out to childcare or rushing the evening journey so you get home in time to do dinner, bath and bed before your children fall asleep again! They will also do nursery duties, which includes children’s cooking and laundry, taking chores off your hands and freeing up your evenings and weekends.
Employing a nanny also gives you a greater degree of control over your child’s daily routine and activities. You can choose who your child’s carer is and what they do or don’t do, which is particularly important if, for example, you have an approach aligned with attachment parenting or believe strongly in the Montessori method. Nannies can respond flexibly to children’s interests and needs, following routines, going out and about or staying at home, and will also care for sick children.
A nanny is often a logical solution for parents with multiple children who would otherwise need to use more than one form of childcare or parents who work long or irregular hours. Hours of work are arranged to suit you, and term time only or holiday time only contracts are possible.
Finally some nannies have accumulated a wealth of specialised experience. They may be particularly well suited to care for multiples or children with additional needs, including those with special diets or routines or who need additional physical assistance.
What are the drawbacks?
For some people the prospect of becoming an employer, and deducting tax and National Insurance, as well as paying Employer’s National Insurance contributions, is a daunting one. Luckily there are specialist payroll companies who will help you through the process. Becoming an employer means you will need to provider your nanny with a contract, pay holiday pay and administer statutory payments (some of which can be reclaimed from the Government) if your nanny is on sick, maternity or paternity leave. You will also need to pay redundancy pay if you make your nanny redundant after more than two years of employment and deal with an disciplinary issues.
A nanny is an expensive form of childcare for one child, but can be roughly equivalent to nursery care or a childminder for two children in some areas and the most economical option for three children.
Unlike a nursery, you will need to find cover for a nanny’s holiday or illness. This may mean contacting an agency which provides emergency childcare, relying on help from grandparents, asking your nanny’s local friends for help (in an emergency) or taking leave yourself.
Where can I find one?