Hiring a nanny

Nanny Burnout

There comes a point in every career when you wake up, drink your coffee, get ready for the day and think to yourself, “I just can’t do it.” Burnout is an issue in any profession, and is especially common in positions where large amounts of emotional labor is needed. Nannies are notably prone to burn out, as their job as caregivers is to care. The extra emotional work that nannies put in on a daily basis drives them to an early case of burn out. So if you’re a nanny feeling like you just can’t do it anymore, what do you do?

The first step to managing the burn out is to identify it and recognize it for what it is. Burnout can look like many different things, but the general symptoms are:

“Burning out as a nanny is a common affair and is not something to be ashamed of or to stress out about even further, but it also shouldn’t be the new normal.”

Burn out is generally accepted as occurring when a nanny doesn’t have enough time for themselves to recharge, decompress and de-stress in-between shifts. This type of burn out is temporary and can be relieved simply by relaxing over the weekend or taking quality time for oneself. For more chronic burnout, however, there are many factors that can add up. Nannies who are at risk for burn out are:

  • Nannies who have a sense of personal responsibility. This type of burn out is especially present in nannies who do more emotional care giving, usually for children with special needs or in homes where there is turmoil or neglect.
  • Nannies who are not being paid enough. If one’s needs aren’t being met financially, it can be very difficult to be present for the job that is supposed to be paying your rent and feeding you.
  • Nannies who work without boundaries. If a nanny is without a work agreement and their role in unclear, they may end up being asked to take on additional roles outside of care giving.
  • Nannies who work long hours without time to recharge in-between shifts.

What can I do?

Many nannies work long hours and become emotionally invested in order to provide children with the proper care that they need and deserve, and to scale back on that care would be against their beliefs and be damaging for the child. So, as a nanny, how can you take care of yourself and the child?

Engage in Self Care

Self care is a major buzzword these days, but it looks different for everyone. Self care can be manipulated into marketing schemes, so it’s important to recognize what acts are actually beneficial to your rejuvenation between stressful care giving shifts. Shopping as self care may be good for some people, but if the cause of your burn out is due to financial stressors, it probably won’t do you any good. Self care is whatever you need to do to shake off the day. Exercise is a proven method of de-stressing and releasing endorphins, the chemicals in your brain that are responsible for happiness. Exercising every day also helps you manage stress and deal with whatever is coming up for you. Taking a bath, reading a good book, watching a movie or engaging in a creative activity are also wonderful ways of engaging in self care for nannies.

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Practice Mindfulness

Change your perspective while you’re at work. Instead of focusing on the negatives, “I’m not being paid enough for this”, “I am giving so much to this family”, or “I’m not getting enough help” think about all of the positives that are present, like “I am making a wonderful connection and a difference in this child’s life” and “I am capable and strong and can handle any adversity that is thrown at me.” Many caregivers get disheartened when their work goes unnoticed. Often, it is those types of families that the work is needed most. 
Visualize the fact that connecting with and nurturing their child is making a huge impact in their life. Think about how doing the laundry or cleaning the kitchen is creating a safe environment for the child. Changing the way you look at your role can have a huge impact on your mental health and your burn out. Take control of your days by engaging the child in fun activities that are also fun for you. Have a dance party, make a silly craft or just get a change of scenery. If it makes you smile, it will also make the child smile.
 

Draw Clear Boundaries

It is ideal for all nannies to have a close connection with their charges and with their families, but that closeness can often lead to feelings of guilt and obligation. If you are asked to do something you know will tire you out or leave you cranky and irritable, it’s okay to say no. Your job as a caregiver first and foremost is to care for the child, and anything that impedes on your ability to do so is outside of your job description and therefore not your responsibility. If you set expectations with the family, they can understand what you need and how better to allow you to assist the family.

Reach Out

If burnout is not managed, it can lead to more severe mental illnesses. Ask for help if you are having symptoms of depression or anxiety that you can’t manage yourself. Nannies are hard workers and often work alone, but there is no shame in asking for help when it is needed. If you are getting the help that you need in order to do your job correctly, then all parties benefit. Tell your nanny family that you are having difficulties performing, and have an open and honest conversation about how you can work together to make things better.

Accept Your Situation

Burning out as a nanny is a common affair and is not something to be ashamed of or to stress out about even further, but it also shouldn’t be the new normal. Once you accept that you are burned out, you can start taking steps to make your work-life balance healthy again.
 
If you are a nanny experiencing burn out, reach out to us! We can offer a number of solutions from drafting nanny work agreements to advice on how to set boundaries. Remember that you are not alone, all caregivers have felt this way at one point, but there is no reason that you need to continue feeling stressed.

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Why You Need to Stop Nanny Pay Under the Table Today

Tax season is upon us, and with it come all of the trials and tribulations of filing. As a parent / employer, you’ve probably saved your receipts, collected your documents and spoken with your accountant, but have you declared your nanny as a lawful employee? Many parents or guardians believe that nanny pay under the table is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, after all, isn’t that what everyone else does? Many parents have never even considered paying a nanny through payroll, but there are many serious issues that can arise from paying your nanny under the table, all of which cause much more of a headache than simply having them fill out tax documents. We are experts in assisting parents legally employ their nannies via payroll. We can help you figure out which government documents you need and what to ask your employee. Reach out to us with any questions concerning paying your nanny legally. Still not convinced you need to need to pay legally? Here are a few things that can go wrong by paying your nanny under the table: 

Your Nanny Gets Hurt on the Job

You might be thinking that a childcare provider should be keeping children out of danger, and therefore the risk of any injuries coming to them would be practically nonexistent. But what happens if your nanny gets injured in a car accident during a drop off at school? Or if they slip and fall after your new construction? A serious enough injury can send them to their doctor or the hospital, and when they relay their story to the physician, explaining that they were injured on the job, they have a worker’s comp claim. And what happens when they file that claim and the state has no record of them being an employee of yours? You can expect hefty fines from the State, all because you paid your nanny under the table; rather than declaring them as an employee.

Your Nanny Files For Unemployment

Let’s say you and your nanny part ways. Your child starts school or your partner loses their job and you either no longer have need of your nanny, or you simply can’t afford to keep them on. Your nanny will need to have support during their transitional period of finding a new job, and they seek to obtain unemployment from the state. However, the state has no record of their employment with you, as you haven’t been paying unemployment insurance along with their salary. That would be yet another fine for not paying your nanny as a legal employee.

Act as you would if you were in the room with your nanny interviewers. When you’re listening be sure to engage with them, maintain eye contact and nod when listening. Just because you are not in the same room does not mean that all social graces fly away, they can still see you and will take note if you act disinterested or distracted.

Your Nanny Sues For Not Withholding Taxes

Your nanny is part of your family, and you want what’s best for them, so you are happy to pay them off the books, ensuring that they enjoy every dollar that they’ve earned. But your nanny talks to others at the playground and finds out what benefits of being a legally employed nanny she’s missing out on. She finds out she isn’t saving money for retirement, she can’t get a loan and realizes she doesn’t have credit because she doesn’t have any work experience. She begins to understand that the benefits she’s missing out on far outweigh the extra few dollars she gets in her paycheck each month and decides to sue you for not following the law and paying her under the table.

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 You've Hired A "Less Than Ideal Nanny"

Professional career nannies take themselves seriously enough to understand that their job is a business, and in order to reap the benefits of one, they must be paid legally. These nannies are responsible, they have legal employment histories, can receive unemployment and social security and they can qualify for Medicare. Isn’t that the type of person you would want to entrust your children to? Nannies who accept being paid under the table may not be taking themselves seriously, and if that is the case, how could they be trusted to take care of your children seriously? It is best to avoid any doubt by paying your nanny legally.

 

You Incur Fines and Penalties For Not Following the Law

There are many laws and regulations under Domestic Workers Bill of RightsFair Labor Standards ActDepartment of Labor rules or the IRS to protect both employers and employees in household settings. They exist to make sure all domestic employers properly declare an employee for tax purposes, pay over time, effectively track hours, pay a minimum wage, and provide time off. If any one of these many institutions discover you’ve been working outside of the law, you can expect large fines or penalties.

 You Get Audited By The IRS

If any of the above acts find out that you’ve been avoiding paying your employee legally, it could lead to an audit. Once the government catches wind, they will investigate to see if there is any other financial foul play. An audit could mostly just result in a legal headache, but there is also the possibility of needing to pay back taxes and fines. Failing to pay your nanny’s employment taxes can cost you up to $25,000.

 

Taking the time to employ your nanny legally today can save you from massive fines and penalties tomorrow. Have no idea where to start or how to pay an employee legally? Let us know, we can help! We have extensive resources that can make employing your nanny legally simple and easy, and will protect you from any issues.

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Nanny Red Flags to Look out for

Hiring a nanny can be a daunting, intimidating process, especially for new parents or parents who haven’t had extensive experience in the childcare industry. The interview process is a crucial time to weed out unworthy applicants, but how can one really know whether or not a candidate is right for the job? You can check out our list of questions to ask a nanny during an interview, but knowing what the right answers are can be a different story. Below are some red flags to look out for during the process.

 

The nanny blanks on activities

We require specific information to be present on our nannies resumes, and this includes the ages of children upon hire. This gives us an indication of the types of developmental activities each nanny is accustomed to providing based on the child’s age. However, just because they have worked with a child before doesn’t mean they were particularly present or engaging. Having worked in the childcare industry ourselves at Los Angeles Nannies, we’ve seen many nannies in story time or at the playground who spend more time on their phones or chatting with other nannies than they do caring for the children. It is important to ask specific leading questions about the types of activities they are used to participating in with their nanny children. The more specific, the better. If they cannot get specific, or they describe activities that are not age appropriate, this is a red flag as it shows they were not present enough for the child, or they were exaggerating on their resume.

The nanny avoids questions about past employers

35% of people have lied on their resumes, a scary number when considering the nature of a childcare position. The interview process is an excellent way to decipher between who is lying and who is speaking truth. Ask specific questions related to past positions on a candidate’s resume. If they trip up, avoid the topic or change the subject, that is a red flag. An additional red flag is if they refuse to give references, or avoid giving references from past childcare providers. Ask for references from the names they’ve listed on their resume, and refrain from accepting references from jobs outside of childcare. You want to know what this person is like in the home and with a child, and speaking to past employers is the best way to get to the point.

“Hiring someone to look after and spend long hours with your child can be a stressful and intimidating process. For families that have the option, hiring an agency to assist in the hiring process can be of great benefit to ensuring that your nanny is trustworthy, dependable and professional.”

They ask more questions about money and benefits than the needs of your child

A professional, caring nanny will want to know the needs, personality, and health concerns of your child. They know that they will be directly responsible for the health and safety of your child, as well as their emotional and social development, and they will want to make sure that their own personalities will be a great match. A wonderful nanny’s main priority is to create an environment for your child to succeed in. A red flag nanny will skip over the topic of your child and get straight to the pay and benefits. This is someone who is not in the industry out of a passion for seeing children grow, but for what they believe is an easy paycheck. This is a red flag.

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They give conflicting information

If a nanny says one thing, then contradicts themselves later, or if they are inconsistent when talking about their resumes, this is a red flag. Either this nanny is attempting to deceive you, or they are unsure of themselves, or are trying to say what they think you want to hear. This is a red flag. A nanny should know themselves and know their work history, as it is their career and something they should take great pride in. Be wary of someone who contradicts themselves.

You do not connect with their personality

Of course some people are nervous during interviews or are shy until you get to know them, but generally interviews tell a lot about a person. Your child and family may require someone with a calming presence, but generally it is your child who is the one who needs time to open up, not your nanny. We have found that our success in placements stems from an ability to match families based on personalities, as nannies spend enough time in the home to become part of the family. If you are going to not only trust this person to the care of your child, but also have them in your home for 40 hours a week, they should be someone you get along with. Mix-matching personalities is a red flag. 

Their childcare philosophy does not align with yours.

The key to bringing up a well rounded child is to expose them frequently to a diverse range of people, ideas and subjects. However, children also require consistency in the home and in parenting and disciplining techniques. A nanny can easily read in a job description that a family is looking for Montessori experience and make a note in her resume that she has it, even if she has no background on the subject. For this reason, it’s important to ask leading questions in an interview, questions that start like, “what would you do if….” If a nanny gives answers that make you uncomfortable or that differ from your own philosophy, this is a major red flag. Of course some disciplinary actions may be taught, but it is a good idea to hire a nanny who already closely mirrors your own ideals.

Hiring someone to look after and spend long hours with your child can be a stressful and intimidating process. For families that have the option, hiring an agency to assist in the hiring process can be of great benefit to ensuring that your nanny is trustworthy, dependable and professional. However, if you choose to hire on your own, it is important to look out for any red flags. At the end of the day, your intuition will be your best marker, so always go with your gut. Reach out to us with any questions or concerns, we would be more than happy to assist you in your search. 

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Nanny or Babysitter?

When faced with the necessity of hiring a childcare provider, families often question whether it is a nanny they need, or a babysitter. Many families assume the positions are the same, and some underestimate the difference in job description and duties between the two. However there are a few key distinctions between a nanny and a babysitter, and understanding the differences can assist families in knowing which they need in order for their household to thrive. Labeling the need for a nanny and a babysitter also distinguishes the candidate pool based on experience, education and job duties able to be performed.

Schedule

The biggest difference between a nanny and a babysitter lies in the amount of hours worked. A nanny can be full time or part time, but maintains a consistent, set schedule. A babysitter is considered more freelance and works exclusively on an as-needed basis. If your family’s needs for a caregiver are more sporadic, chances are you’re looking for a babysitter. If you need someone every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8am until 1pm, you require a nanny. Based on their schedule and pay, it is also important to note that you must pay legally.

Experience

Babysitters are considered entry-level childcare providers. While it is encouraged, it is not necessary for a babysitter to have any formal training, certifications or experience in order to practice. A nanny, however, will have worked in the industry for at least five years with paid, professional, long term experience outside of looking after family members. A nanny most likely got their start in the industry as a babysitter.  

“Both nannies and babysitters, regardless of background, education or experience, have big hearts with compassionate and nurturing personalities that lend their strengths to the fostering of children.”

Education

Serious, professional career nannies often have formal training and certifications, such as Early Childhood Development credits, certifications in CPR and First Aid, and most will even have a college degree. Babysitters, on the other hand, do not have a set standard for education, as they are typically high school aged and have other priorities and ambitions outside of childcare. 

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Job Duties

Both nannies and babysitters are responsible for providing safe, caring and nurturing environments for the child to thrive in. However, there are differences in the level at which this care is provided. Nannies are educators, tutors, role models taking an active role in the child’s life and assisting in development in the long term. They transport to and from school, they make meals, they schedule doctor’s appointments and playdates, they monitor development and foster academic, social and emotional growth, they initiate good hygiene practices, and they oversee and engage in activities, crafts and sports. Babysitters’ duties are usually limited due to their experience and the inconsistency of their schedule. A babysitter’s duties are typically geared more towards the short term, like making dinner, engaging in play or watching movies, bathtime and putting children to sleep.

Career Goals

Another main difference between nannies and babysitters is in their long term career goals. Babysitters are usually out for a paycheck to support themselves in their other interests, but that doesn’t mean they are not excellent and nurturing caregivers. Nannies, on the other hand, have chosen the profession as a long term career and therefore put the investment in themselves as such. They are often a part of nannying communities, take childcare classes, attend conferences and seminars and put an active investment in their professional development

Both nannies and babysitters, regardless of background, education or experience, have big hearts with compassionate and nurturing personalities that lend their strengths to the fostering of children. Whether your family’s needs require a babysitter or a nanny, reach out to us to help you in your search for your perfect caregiver. 

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What is a Nanny?

When we ask nannies what they look for in a family, we get one of two answers: to feel like part of the family, and to be treated with respect. Hearing stories about nannies who have been treated like subhumans in the household inspired us to create the Honest House Promise, our commitment to promoting and encouraging healthy work environments for nannies. When we hear these stories, the main reason we believe that parents treat nannies in this way is not out of malice or even on purpose. It is often because busy parents forget that the main responsibility of a nanny is to assist in the raising of their children. We think that taking a look at your household through the eyes of your caregiver can be a wonderful first step into forging a long lasting positive and healthy relationship.

The actions of adults are reflected in the actions of a child.

Children learn by example and if parents treat their nannies and employees with respect, children will do the same. Nannies are role models for children, leading by example and raising them to grow up to be wonderful, caring, compassionate and hardworking adults. If nannies feel uncomfortable or unsafe in a household, this affects their ability to do their job and take care of the children. Children are incredibly sensitive and can pick up on the emotional energies of adults. If they sense tension between their caregivers, they too will feel tense. And if a child sees their nanny being disrespected by their own parents, what does that teach a child about relating to others?

Remembering what a nanny is there for.

A nanny is not only hired to watch after the safety of a child. Their job description contains many roles; teacher, role model, and figure of comfort and compassion. ( link to what you can ask a nanny to do blog) Nannies are hired to step into the role of caregiver while parents are working. Their primary task is childcare. A nanny can do housekeeping but is not a housekeeper. A nanny can cook but a nanny is not a chef. Any additional household tasks take away from the ability of a nanny to provide the care needed for a child to thrive in the long term. A nanny is a nanny because they love children and in almost all cases, are very good at taking care of all of their needs, not just physical safety but emotional safety. Children require attention, love and care, not just a babysitter to ensure that they’re not eating glue or sticking their fingers in sockets. If a nanny is overworked in areas not pertaining to childcare, they have less availability to provide emotional support to a child who needs it most. If a parent is absent enough for the need of a full time nanny, that means most of the emotional bonding must come from a nanny. Studies show that rocking, cuddling, and smiling to a child greatly strengthen their neural pathways for learning through the stimulation of joy and being mirrored in an adult. Inversely, children who do not have these same interactions show smaller brains and a more difficult time learning, not to mention the effects on their self esteem. Nannies who are overworked cannot give the same kind of care to a child, therefore stunting their emotional and intellectual growth. 

As a professional in the childcare industry you may wonder why it would be important to create a cover letter. A cover letter in the nanny industry is just as important as in any other enterprise. A properly tailored cover letter shows a family that you are passionate, interested and assists you in standing out amongst an ocean of resumes. 

A nanny is also a teacher.

Early childhood is filled with so many important milestones. Walking, talking, potty training, making friends, colors, the alphabet, shapes, feeding independently, there is so much that a child learns before they get to school. And so much they must learn in order to be prepared for it. These important building blocks for academic learning are taught by those closest to a child in their earliest stages of life. For working parents, a nanny will most likely be the one present for those most teachable moments in a child’s early development. Children who are actively and consistently spoken to will begin to speak earlier. Children who are read to will recognize shapes and letters earlier. An investment in a happy nanny is an investment in your child’s life and future.

Nannying is hard work.

All parents know that raising a child is not always intuitive, nor easy. It takes patience, compassion, experience and the ability to nurture that is not naturally present in all people. Just like doctors and lawyers are experts in their field and expect to be respected and financially compensated for their expertise, nannies deserve to be regarded with the appreciation, consideration and dignity that they deserve. They deserve to ask for a raise when their job descriptions change, such as in the addition of a second child. They deserve to speak up and be heard when they are uncomfortable in a situation, just like in any other position. Just because they come to work in a home instead of an office does not disqualify them from the same human compassion dolled out around a water cooler.

Stay at home parents will tell you that caring for a child all day long is the most difficult job they have ever had. Shouldn’t the person you hire to take care of your child, engaging them, caring for them, teaching them the building blocks of life, be respected, appreciated and feel safe in your house? Take a moment to think about what life is like through the eyes of your nanny, who very likely is one of the only other people who can love your child as much as you do. Is your nanny respected? Taken care of? Do they have all that they need in order to give all that they have to the emotional, physical and intellectual development of your child? If the answer is no to any of these questions, reach out to us and we can solidify a plan to turn your situation into the best it can be. The reward is in your child’s future.

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Nanny Reference Checking 101

Picture yourself: a first-time mother or father, looking for that special someone to welcome into their family and trust with her child. Or maybe you’re a more experienced parent but have had some bad luck with nannies or babysitters in the past. Whatever a situation may be, we can all agree that a child is one’s most prized possession. No wonder why people want to trust someone fully before giving him or her the sacred responsibility of helping to raise their child. If you can’t trust someone, then how could you go about your workday without worrying yourself into a frenzy?

Trust

So where does one find this trust? Of-course it doesn’t come easily. Especially if it has been broken in the past and, unfortunately, there are people in this world that shouldn’t be trusted to care for children. This, my friends, is why childcare has (or should have) one of the most in-depth and extensive screening processes. Personally, I know people that have a great education and intelligence, but I wouldn’t necessarily trust them with my child. Someone can look great on paper but it takes some very specific qualities to be a competent and trustworthy caregiver.

One of the most critical steps in the screening process for nannies/mannies is reliable professional references. More specifically, professional childcare references. The fact that you may have been employed at the local department store does nothing for a concerned parent looking for qualified care. People need to hear from other people, first handedly, about the quality of care that you have provided to that person. Consider this, wouldn’t you rather trust a personal recommendation from someone rather than an advertisement? It’s a second opinion, a testimonial, a personal recommendation. Whatever you want to call it; it makes all the difference when making an investment in a child’s future.

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Don’t forget to look at the screening process as a very important step in trust and communication; view it from a parent’s perspective and be on top of your reference game!

Why Wont They Pick Up The Phone?

This leads me to the main theme of this blog; the importance of having reachable references. After all, what is the point of having all of this great experience under your belt if your potential employer can’t even get ahold of your references? In the past, I have been in charge of Childcare reference checking myself and sometimes it can just be unbelievably hard to get ahold of these people. It is not always their fault, however. Communication is key. Communication between candidates and their previous employers as well as communication between candidates and their prospective employers. Meaning, you need to ensure that you tell your previous employers what time to expect a call. Equally important, don’t forget to tell a potential employer which time they need to make that call. The rest is up to those in charge of checking references!

In Conclusion

Yes, being a nanny is undoubtedly a demanding, entertaining and rewarding profession that allows for great fun and creativity. Don’t forget to look at the screening process as a very important step in trust and communication; view it from a parent’s perspective and be on top of your reference game!

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Childcare Philosophies

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When looking for a nanny for your child you may find yourself more concerned with scheduling and transportation than with child rearing philosophies. However, understanding the philosophy that would best work for your family can greatly assist in finding the right nanny, and for ensuring that your child has consistent care. Once you understand which philosophy works best for your family, you can skew your nanny search based on this philosophy, creating consistent and optimized care for your child. Below are the top early developmental child care philosophies.

Montessori

Montessori is one of the most popular childcare systems. Founded in 1907 by Maria Montessori, the idea is that children are in control of their own education, with teachers acting as aids or guides. On a daily basis, children participate in hands-on activities in which toys are tools designed for specific purposes to guide their learning about a specific subject. Montessori also encourages children to take personal responsibility for their wellbeing, fostering independence by making their own snacks, taking care of their own belongings and cleaning up after themselves. Children learn at their own pace, focusing on individual learning and creating a healthy atmosphere.

RIE

Resources for Infant Educarers or RIE is the philosophy that the most important education in a child’s early life is the care and connection that they feel with their caregivers. The idea is that the foundation of a child’s learning is based off of how safe and respected they feel. Educating a child through caring allows them to learn about themselves, to feel seen and understood, and feel like they matter in the world. RIE is not only designed to educate children but parents and caregivers as well. Through caring for the child, parents learn to trust themselves and their child, creating a strong bond between the two.

“Are your kids high energy? Does the candidate mention they love to work out, swim or go on hikes in their free time? These are hints that you could be a great fit for each other. We have a long list of extra questions available in our on-boarding packet for new families, just ask to see more!”

Waldorf

The Waldorf method focuses on dependable routine. Teachers are often with the same group of children for up to eight years, creating and nurturing trusting and secure relationships. Through comfortable furnishings and play areas, the Waldorf atmosphere is intended to feel like home. There is also a heavy emphasis on creative learning, such as arts, crafts, music, theater and cooking. The idea is that children thrive in comfort, and the Waldorf method uses the home-like atmosphere and dependable routine to allow children to thrive.

Reggio Emilia

Similar to Montessori, children are their own agents in learning with Reggio Emilia. Children are encouraged to explore their interests while teachers guide them to create projects based on their enthusiasms. The focus is also on creativity and the arts, with projects and daily play documented so that parents and caregivers can remain on the same page and monitor their child’s development.

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High/Scope

High/Scope is the inverse of Waldorf where the emphasis is placed not on social or emotional development but academic success. Instead of creative pursuits, children are directed more towards mathematics and linguistics. Children learn collaboratively with teachers and it is an excellent route for children who work best one on one and for children with special needs.

Bank Street

Bank Street was founded in 1916 based off of the philosophies of Lucy Sprague Mitchell and is great for children who learn best in an environment lacking structure. In Bank Street teaching, the classroom is the world around us and is considered to be the biggest tool in a child’s learning. Children are regarded as active learners as lessons are focused on the social sciences; history, geography and anthropology. Artistic and scientific lessons are taught within the context of cultural applications, creating an integrated curriculum. Children are encouraged to exercise their imaginations, and have the opportunity to choose to work alone or in groups, with teachers acting as guides rather than leaders. 

Religious

If faith-based learning is right for your family, many churches and religious schools offer preschool programs. The philosophy followed in any given religious school may differ, and the religious content taught may vary. Be sure to speak to the school about the program offered, as well as details on their curriculum and philosophy.

At Los Angeles Nannies we source and vet a wide range of nannies with differing backgrounds who have extensive experience in early childhood education. Let us know which childcare philosophy works best for you and we can find a nanny who is an expert and a perfect match for your family.

 

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Standing Out in the New, Competitive Nanny Job Market

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There is not one among us who has not been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and caregivers have been hit especially hard. With so many nannies working under the table facing furlough and therefore without ability to apply for unemployment, we are seeing many nannies itching, even desperate, to get back into the workforce as soon as possible. At Los Angeles Nannies we are still interviewing and vetting candidates for the eventuality that jobs start flooding in once more. The market post coronavirus will be extremely competitive, so how can nannies stay at the top of the applicant pool and beat out the tough competition?

Work with, not against, the agency.

With many internet resources for nannies to self submit to childcare jobs, one may wonder what need there is for an agency. While an extra step for nannies, agencies can be a massive benefit to a nanny’s career. For starters, agencies advocate for a nanny’s rights and assist in negotiating. There aren’t many mentors available in the nanny industry, but an agency can be there every step of the way for advice and suggestion on how to get you hired. Agencies want you to get a job, they don’t make money unless you do. If you choose to go the agency route, make sure you stay active and responsive, procrastinating on responding to that email from an agency can be the difference between getting a job and staying unemployed. Stay communicative with your agency, reach out about opportunities you’re interested in and make sure all of the necessary documents are on file so that when new jobs arise, they can send you out as soon as possible. The market will be extremely competitive and there will be many nannies who have CPR and credentials on file already, so make sure you are not missing out on an opportunity with your dream family simply because you waited to send an email.

Gather your References

Reference checking is always the most tedious and time consuming part of the application process, and an unresponsive reference can be the deciding factor between which two candidates are hired. Reach out to your references in advance and let them know that people will be calling. Encourage your references to schedule a time to chat. Don’t worry about inconveniencing them, you worked hard for every family and you deserve to have your references completed. 

Bolster your resume by getting specific in your job descriptions. Did you “cook” for the Smith family or did you “create nutritious meals for family of four each night to promote a healthy diet”?  Did you “go to the park” with the kids or did you “plan fun excursions to enhance physical abilities and expose children to stimulating, educational activities”?

Market Yourself

Now is not the time to be humble! Sell yourself! Create or update your nanny website so families can explore all of your credentials in one place. A website also shows that you are serious about your career and not just in it for the paycheck. Gather and organize all of your relevant documentation in one place. Create a folder for your CPR / First Aid Certificates or online classes. Ask for and file letters of recommendation. Seeing all of your qualifications and additions to your expertise in one area is a great way to add to your confidence and remind yourself that you are worthy of any job you apply for. Go through all of your social media accounts and make sure that you are representing yourself in a professional manner. View your profiles like a parent would. When reaching out to families or agencies, make sure you detail every bit of relevant information that would make you be the perfect candidate for any family.

Join a Networking Group

Like in all professions, who you know can go a lot farther than what you know. Joining nannying or childcare groups on social media, signing up for newsletters, or getting involved with organizations like the International Nanny Association can be a great way to stay connected and updated in the childcare community. You never know what job opportunities may arise simply from knowing and connecting with other nannies in your area, as many families would rather interview a referral than a stranger. Joining a nannying networking group is a great way to stay in the know about jobs, opportunities, continuing education classes and much more.

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Solidify your Resume

Bolster your resume by getting specific in your job descriptions. Did you “cook” for the Smith family or did you “create nutritious meals for family of four each night to promote a healthy diet”?  Did you “go to the park” with the kids or did you “plan fun excursions to enhance physical abilities and expose children to stimulating, educational activities”? Changing your language can help you stand out and above the rest of the candidates. Treating your childcare resume like the professional tool that it is, can help you show families that you are the ideal candidate. Resume still not looking so hot? Take an online class in childcare or volunteer locally. Our resume template is a great place to start.

Get specific in your Cover Letter

Reading the job description and adding in phrases or information from the post into your cover letter helps you stand out to families. Not only does it show that you’ve taken the time to read the post, it also affords you an opportunity to explain why you are a great fit for the job. If the job mentions that the child loves soccer, mention your coaching experience. If the child needs transportation to practice for the school play, flash your BA in Theater Studies. Families ultimately want to see who will be taking care of their child’s safety but also their emotional, social and intellectual growth and if you have things in common already, that’s a huge first step.

After you’ve found your dream job, get proactive against unforeseen circumstances.

You may think that being a nanny inherently lacks job security, but that is not the case. Make sure you’re never put into this position again by advocating for yourself with the same confidence you did in the interview. Ensure that you are paid legally on the books so that you can apply for unemployment benefits should you be laid off. Get and sign a contract. Agencies are great resources for legally binding employment contracts that can make a huge difference in your job security even outside of times of uncertainty.  You should also start saving for the future – our blog on saving for the future is a great place to start.

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Nanny Trial Do's and Don'ts

A trial run with a potential nanny is crucial for both nannies and families to ensure that personalities, belief systems and methods of discipline all match up or compliment each other in a positive way. A nanny can say they are loving and caring in the interview, but what are they really like when your child is actually crying in front of them? A family probably won’t bring their children into the interview process, but a trial run is a great way to see how the nanny blends into the home and interacts with the children. We can’t tell you how many nannies have done great in the interview but didn’t meet the family’s needs in the trial, or how many nannies were shy in the interview but absolutely flourished in the trial. The idea of a trial can feel overwhelming, but we’ve broken it down into easy steps to assist you in making sure your trial is productive and beneficial to finding your family’s next nanny. If you have additional questions or need help with any of these steps, reach out to us!

Agree on Expectations

Communication is the foundation of every relationship. Discuss expectations with your prospective nanny and have them written down and displayed in a space where they can see. Before the trial begins, go through each task or desire point by point to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Not everyone can get it right the first time, but if the nanny isn’t following instructions or taking direction well during the trial, that’s a very telling sign. But if they go above and beyond what was discussed, asking questions and taking direction well, that’s a great candidate. We have an agreement forms and checklists on our resources page to assist families in brainstorming what you may want or need from a nanny, and how to articulate those needs to maximize the relationship. Let us know if you have any questions or need help forming and articulating your expectations for your nanny’s trial.

Trials are Paid

Even if you decide not to hire a nanny, a trial is still a day spent working and they deserve to be paid for the hours given. A trial period is typically paid in the same hourly amount you are offering for the job.

communication is key! It’s imperative that both you and your nanny are open with each other about expectations

Set Yourself up for Success

Every household is different, and every nanny comes in with a different background of experiences. It’s important to communicate your expectations and have your trial period reflect what a day would be like for the nanny and your children. If your nanny is thriving, so are your children. Help your nanny help you by giving them clear instructions and information they need such as allergies, restrictions like limited screen time or snack time, information on the best ways to put them down for a nap, etc. Don’t leave your nanny to guess what you need, you want to see how they follow directions. If you are unsure what a day for your nanny would look like, reach out to us and we can help you create a schedule for both your trial and your nanny’s day-to-day life.

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Speak Up

We can’t say it enough: communication is key! It’s imperative that both you and your nanny are open with each other about expectations. After the trial, ask them leading questions about what’s high on your priority list: were you comfortable driving to the park? how did you feel correcting our child’s behavior? was cooking meals too much? Inversely, be honest in answering your prospective nanny’s questions. Kindly offer suggestions on how they could do better next time, but give them the room to find their footing, it’s not easy entering someone else’s home! The communication during the trial period with your new nanny is your chance to set boundaries and groundwork for your future in working together, it’s much easier to correct behavior in the beginning and steer the course towards success than it is once you have all settled into a routine.

Make Yourself Available

Ideally, during the trail you would be able to walk your prospective nanny through the day, showing them what parks to go to, when to give snacks, where to find certain necessities, how to handle certain situations. Of course with busy schedules, it is not always possible, but you should set aside a little time to observe the nanny with your child, stepping in when needed and being there if the nanny has any questions. It is also valuable for your child to get one on one time with the nanny to give them room to see if they are a good fit for each other.

Be Honest

Even if the nanny has every qualification and seems to be everything you wanted on paper, but something in your gut says it isn’t working out – listen to it! This is what trials are all about. Maybe the right candidate doesn’t check all of your boxes in the interview, but during the trial they connect with your child like no one else has. Be honest with yourself and with your potential nanny and move forward if your gut believes it’s the right move, and let it go if it’s not.

Let us know how your nanny trials have gone! If you are interested in learning more about how to conduct a nanny trial, or are ready to begin your search for your perfect nanny, reach out to us. We are more than happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have, even if you are not registered with us. Let me know your trial top tips below!

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How To Write a Nanny Cover Letter

As a professional in the childcare industry you may wonder why it would be important to create a cover letter. A cover letter in the nanny industry is just as important as in any other enterprise. A properly tailored cover letter shows a family that you are passionate, interested and assists you in standing out amongst an ocean of resumes. Below we’ll show you how to write a nanny cover letter.

What to include

Cover letters are a great way to bring your resume to life for a family. Cover letters should be kept short and sweet. When writing your cover letter, it is helpful to break it down into three main groups: the name and nature of the position you are applying for, explain how the skills and jobs listed on your resume apply to the position, and finish with a call to action. In the end it should read something like this.

Get Specific

You must tailor your cover letter to each job you apply for. Emphasize specific experience from your resume that directly relates to the job description (link to resume blog). Not only does this help in filling in any gaps, but shows you took the time to read the description. The fact that you tailored your cover letter to the job specifically also shows your level of interest.

As a professional in the childcare industry you may wonder why it would be important to create a cover letter. A cover letter in the nanny industry is just as important as in any other enterprise. A properly tailored cover letter shows a family that you are passionate, interested and assists you in standing out amongst an ocean of resumes. 

Fill in the gaps

Think critically about the position and use past experience from your resume to explain how you could benefit the family in ways they never even dreamed of. If a job description for a family mentions that they have two children, describe the position you had previously where you were the lead teacher at a preschool, supervising a dozen toddlers at once, and how this experience has left you more than capable to handle two children. 

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Be Professional

Proof read! Make sure there aren’t any typos or grammatical errors in your nanny cover letter. If you are unsure, have a friend or family member edit your work. Typos make one look careless, and if you are applying for a job where you will be assisting a child with their homework, parents want to make sure you won’t be as indifferent with their child.

Be Positive

When summarizing your experience, it is important to highlight the joys of each position held. If you come across as negative or entitled when discussing your work, it will repel families. Families want to know that you enjoy being a nanny and that you left your previous positions on excellent terms.

Call to action

When concluding your cover letter, be sure to include a call to action. Say something like, “if you would like to know more about my experience, I am available by phone Monday – Friday from 8am until 5pm.” Make sure that your contact information is present so they can reach out to you should they decide you are a great fit.

A properly formatted, beautifully written cover letter can be the difference between blending in and standing out in a large pool of applicants. If you have any questions or concerns about crafting your cover letter, reach out to us! 

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