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2008 Nanny Survey: Comments about the Survey
Please Note! BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and has moved to a new website: BerkeleyParentsNetwork.org
"Thanks for doing this! It's perfect timing as we are curious to know whether we are paying our nanny fairly. With a new baby on the way, we are also curious to know how much we should be paying for 2 children. Thank you!!"
OK - not nanny related. But the vast amount of valuable info generated on BPN is in your newsletters - but so little makes it into your archive - If i lose one email i miss so much! i hope more content will get archived! :-)
Thank you for doing this survey and for all of the work you do.
so glad you're doing this... cant wait to see the results even though my nanny days are quickly drawing to a close.
"The response choices in the previous q, about my age, have errors. I am 35 but it's unclear if I should choose 30-35 or 35-40."
"This is a great survey, thank you!"
Great survey. I will be interested in the results.
Great survey. I wish I knew the results of this 6 years ago!
We have two part time nannies. I've answered the survey twice - once about each. I put a similar note at the end of my last survey in case you want to combine any data. (We don't want to skew those 41-45 year old moms with one one year old . . . ) Thanks!
I am so thankful for the BPN and am an active member of the community. I was SO sad to realize this summer that BPN was off for 6 weeks (if I remember correctly) in the middle of the summer when I was trying to find a nanny. It was stressful not to have this community available for such a long period of time when we were trying to figure out that situation. I hope there is a way to help families in that situation in the future - perhaps having a newsletter every other week during that period or something? Just wanted to put that out there - I heard it from a number of other moms as well. I'll be really curious to see these results! I'm particularly interested in when people tend to transition from nannies to other childcare situations and how they juggle two kids and childcare. Thank you!!
It took WAY longer than you said it would!
nice survey but LOOONNNGGG. suggest shortening to get better completion rate.
Thanks for doing this survey! The only comment I would have is one listing the rate per hour is to ask people to break this up to inclusive or exclusive of taxes.
Thanks for doing this!2 thanks for putting this together
thanks for putting this together. consider offering some of your questions as a template for hiring a nanny.
The last survey BPN published was invaluable to me when I was first looking for a nanny and whenever issues would arise during the early part of that relationship. I totally appreciate this effort.
"These questions are somewhat offensive - very poorly designed survey - let me help you next time. The survey assumes people are not treating their 'nanny' well and that they are not sharing the 'nanny' with another family (not all the questions). Also, consider using the word caregiver instead of nanny. Still - thanks for the attempt at doing this"
We recently changed from a beloved nanny. Answers may have been slightly different 6 weeks ago.
Thank you for doing this!
well done. Looking forward to seeing the results.
You covered it all. Thank you for doing this helpful survey. One constructive criticism: your questions assume that all nannies are women.
I am a single mom.
Thank you. This will be very useful.
What is the purpose of this survey?
"it was great to fill this survey in order to think about my relation ship with my nanny, the fields I should improve in."
"Are you planning to survey nannies, too?"
"I hope an au pair is considered a nanny for this survey. otherwise, you should exclude my answers. A lot of the rules and things are set by the au pair agency."
"I think many many people use very part time nannies -- ie, two, three four days or part days a week. I think in these situations its harder to determine appropirate benefits - sick days/vacation days -- or do people just do that on the basis of their usual hours? I think the questions are going to be answered very differently if you are on your first nanny & all is going well, then if you have had a nanny (in our case) for about 2 years, fired that person, and then found a new person for a new role (baby). I am much more gun shy this time around - previous nanny I lent money to, bought plane tickets for, paid sick leave, vacation leave, bonus, gave a cell phone -- went to b-day parties for her kids, etc etc -- this time I am more cautious about the relationship, and we are moving slower on any other benefits. I am not sure how you get at that in a survey like this but its something to consider in your responses."
"Just wanted to say "thank you" for the BPN Childcare Digest: we never could have found our great nanny without it. We really appreciate the work you all do at BPN."
We are making up the rules as we go. She was recently sick for a week and we paid her because we did not want her to work when she is sick.
We co-signed our nanny's college loan
Childcare is very difficult for us and I feel there is not adequate support for working parents. I am looking for an ideal situation where the kids are nutured and taught independence in a natural setting with plenty of access to the outdoors that doesn't cost my ENTIRE salary!!! It just doesn't seem to exist. Frustrated Mom
I feel that the entire nanny process is extremely inefficient and I can't believe that people have to go through what they do in order to find a good nanny. Whoever comes up with a way to formalize the process will be a life-saver for thousands of people who have to go through this.
I love our Nanny and think that respecting her knowledge and cultural differences are going to enrich all of our lives. I get so annoyed by supposedly liberal people who want to tell the nanny exactly how to do her job.
I wish there was a better way to describe the different stages of nanny one needs. There is someone who is willing and knows to care for infants. Then people who do well with toddlers and discipline. then people who can do the after school help and household help. It is hard to know what to ask for and what is reasonable. And when doing all this to know what you need before you ask. Now I know what would have worked better - but it is too late.
I work from home and our nanny and child are often here though they go out daily for activities. We get along very well which is a requirement since we are with eachother nearly all day long.
"To a great degree, our nanny told us her preferred terms for working hours, vacation and sick time. For example, she has not taken a single sick day, and prefers instead to get a guaranteed number of hours instead of pre-arranged sick and vacation time. This seems to work for her, though I would like for us to provide more in the way of benefits for her."
"We feel really lucky and happy. When I read the BPN ads of people looking for nannies,I sometimes wonder if people have outsized expectations (nanny must drive, have cpr, etc.) that will cause them to miss out on a great opportunity like ours. One complaint I have is that our nanny doesn't have a good way to find new work for herself when she wants more work - except to rely on parents to find prospective parents for her. She doesn't use Bananas for whatever reason but relies on us to vet families and expectations ahead of time. It's a huge amount of work - and can go on for months. I don't have a solution but it seems a downside of the way our set up works."
"We have been truly blessed to have our nanny in our lives. Our children have benefited enormously from this love and care. We have sacrificed a lot financially, and chose less expensive preschools and public schools, but we have always been glad we spent money on the nanny. This relationship has been wonderful for the kids."
"We have worked with nannies good and bad. The best thing is to find someone you really trust. Don't worry if your child sometimes seems to prefer them to you - that's the sign of a good nanny situation. The worst thing is to wonder if your kid is okay, or to have them cry every day when you leave. Treat your nanny as a professional, be fair and honest - it is their livelihood and they are taking care of your children, so you should treat them professionally and with the kindness and respect you expect them to show yourself and your kids. If you're not happy with the situation and it can't be corrected, fire them directly - don't just tell them you're going out of town and never call them again, as I know some people do. That's very unfair and unprofessional. It's hard to fire someone directly, but it's better for them and for you to just do it upfront. When you find a good nanny, give her regular raises and be fair - remember how hard it is to replace someone you really trust!"
"We hired a white American college educated nanny -- and paid a premium for her. She'd been a nanny to toddlers and pre-schoolers before, but had never been in a share with 2 infants. So it was a trade off -- not a bunch of experience with babies and no formal childhood development training in exchange for a legal resident with good education and native English speaking. I think the trade off worked for us because our son was a baby. Our nanny is leaving this summer to start law school, which is probably a good breaking point. Our son is starting to benefit from more development encouragement -- which I'm not sure she'd provide all that well. We're starting a day care program this fall with trained professionals who will know how to encourage our son's growth. Our nanny share has been great for our son's first year, and I'm glad we're ending it on a good note. If we have another baby, I'll absolutely do another nanny share, hopefully with another nanny who has loved our son like his nanny has."
"We only have one income, so we could only afford $12/hr for two kids. Our nanny is only 19 years old, so we'd be paying more if she had more experience."
"I am from the East Coast and it seems that it is MUCH harder to find a nanny here that is both fluent in English (not everyone wants to teach their newborn a 2nd language!) and seems well qualified to be a nanny (as opposed to a babysitter/caretaker). It is also considerably more expensive here, with most not qualified, non-English speakers asking for $15/hr as opposed to about $500-$550 per week in NYC for approximately 50 hours/week. Am I missing something??"
"We adopted our daughter from Guatemala, and set out to hire a Latina nanny so our daughter would be bilingual; meanwhile I'm studying Spanish which I speak with our daughter. Our nanny understands also that part of her job is to correct my Spanish, and she and I talk a lot, which of course helps me progress. I guess we're close friends, though so long as she's my employee I won't really know (I've watched bosses mistake their relationship with employees as friendship -- friendly isn't quite the same as friendship). We really lucked out with our nanny. Se sees her role also as aculturating our daughter, who is now involved in various Latino cultural activities and will be flower-girl at our nanny's daughter's Quince Anos celebration. Our daughter loves her and her family, and given what I know of her kids (honor students at Berkeley schools), we are comfortable planning at this point to namer her guardian in event of our deaths."
"We are so lucky and grateful that our nanny creates order and harmony in our house, in addition to playing joyfully with our daughter. To anyone who is considering getting a nanny, please think beyond the narrow definition of childcare and see if you can find someone who can (indirectly) improve the well-being of everyone in the family. Running errands (safely and accurately) is a great example of this...."
"I chose our nanny because she takes the children out everyday. They go to the park, zoo, Fairyland, tumble places, etc. I love that they are exposed to so much. It takes the pressure off me during the weekends to "get out" and it helps them develop a sense of their own personal interests. (My son LOVES his music class and as a working mother, there is no way I could expose him to this.) I feel like his experiences are richer than they would be if he were in a daycare everyday."
"I find that the more you incorporate the nanny and her family as part of your family, the more she gives us. I have a wonderful situation because we don't have a typical employer-employee relationship. I would trust her with my child's life and my own as well, but she's really more like my daughter's grandmother than a nanny."
"I gave my nanny a notebook in which she recorded the activities of the day, time the baby ate, was changed, what the baby ate, etc. It was a great way for me to know what happened and a fun record for when my children are older."
We offered our nanny health care but she wanted higher pay. Wondering if anyone insisted that they take the health care?
" "Nanny" is a grad student who takes care of my kids and does school work with them while I go to work. My kids are home schooled."
"Just wanted to mention that my two youngest children are 12 and 13: our nanny requirements and compensation are very different from when we had a full-time nanny many years ago. With a full-time nanny, we paid health insurance, unemployment/disability, etc., and gave much more vacation. We paid for all days, including days we were away. Took that nanny on vacation with us a number of times. Very different situation."
"my feeling about a live-in is... if i had someone living with me, let's say a friend's sibling, i would expect for that person to help out around the house. i feel the same about a nanny (for the most part). before working for me, my nanny was living in an apartment with her sister's family and working for minimum wage at a job she hated. she was very happy to leave her existing situation to work for us. with us, she lived in a physically nicer environment, only had one child to care for, had much less housework, and got paid a lot more. she loved her family, would go home to them on weekends, and send her paycheck to her mom in mexico. she was happy, her mom was happy and her sister was happy."
"My nanny has a network of women with whom she socializes at the park. I feel that the kids of all of the nannies there benefit from this larger group. It allows for the socialization with a number of kids without compromising the level of attention each kids receives. It also helps the nannies to feel connected and probably helps them avoid burn-out. That being said, I feel that the routine is too repetitive (same park every day) and would like to see more variety in the daily activities.
"Double edged sword in dealing with children's attachment to nanny, sometimes I feel she encourages this (children's preference of nanny to parents). Sometimes favoritism shown to one of the two children."
"It would be interesting to look into the degree of trust between families and nannies-- you touched on this on the nannycam question. I know several families who felt the need to observe their nanny surreptitiously. There is also the issue (cultural? communication?) of nannies being unhappy in a work situation and discussing it with their other nanny friends, then having that get back to parents who were unaware of any issues. I have had issues with prior nannies of there being a lack of total candor on their part. And I know of a couple situations where nannies stretched the truth in an interview and lost job opportunities as a result, because what they said was not corroborated by their references. And I will say that nannies sometimes report to each other that they earn a higher wage than their employers seem to report. Last, I've had a number of nannies who felt somewhat ostracized by the "nanny community" at the park because they felt their primary allegiance was to us and did not want to engage in the chatter over their employees personal lives, finances or the details of their employment relationship. Human nature, I guess, but it is a complicated relationship."
"My son called our nanny Momma for the first 2 years of his life and I was fine with that. She loves our children as if she were their mother! She is the best nanny I have ever met. Everyone who meets her loves her. But, she stays with us because she loves our children. We try and make her life easier. The one lesson that I have learned over the years is that nannies can burn out easily because, in their desire to please, they say yes too often. I have had to learn to let our nanny have a life and time off so that she can stay with us for the long haul. When we hired her we asked her if she could work for us for the next 30 years. My husband is still in contact with his Scottish nanny and that relationship has taught me a lot about making our nanny feel important and empowered to make decisions. I try and not over-ride her decisions, and ask my children to ask our nanny for permission -- not me."
"On the first page, you asked what I DID do when hiring my nanny. If I had to do it again, I would add many of the things on the list-- specifically a list of expectations I had, a contract, and a background check. This was eventually done by a parent who added on to our nanny share and there were no problems, but I wish I had.
"Just a note that I didn't really do a nanny search because my neighbor had hired her and was looking to share and at the time, I wasn't working so I just used her initially for about 8 hours/week. Then, because I found that I could, I was able to get a parttime job and started using her for 3 days/week which involved us sharing with a third family. Her schedule with the other 2 families was already established so I scheduled my contract work around her availability. She is really a part of our family and although we actually don't employ her anymore, she watches our kid on occasional weekends or we go over to her house for dinner so she can spend time with our family. I am also in the process of opening a home daycare with her in her home - I have such faith in her caregiving skills and also want my kid(s) (another one on the way!) to spend more time with the both of us. We found a great way for our families to still be together so that I can also be involved in raising my own children and being with other children, which I love. (I'm a former elementary school teacher taking time off to raise kids)."
"In the past, we have hired nannies with a more formal agreement and set arrangements. It worked fine for a little while but decided that did not work as well for our family as our needs changed. We have been using part time nannies who want to work for short periods while in transition (example work for a year before going back to school or starting their career jobs). We offer more flexibility with schedules and committments but don't offer the traditional paid vacations, etc. That also means that we have to be ok when they need to take a day off for an interview or want to go out of town on short notice. We do extra little things for them even loaning our car on a weekend when they needed it or offering our garage for storage space. They become a part of our family but we are supporting them to move on to other opportunities when the time is right for them. These arrangements have been working great for us compared to having fulltime career nannies. I believe that full time nannies should be treated as employees with certain types of benefits and paid overtime, vacations, holidays, etc."
"had a nanny for our now 5yo from 6-18 months; complex nannyshare arrangement couldn't be renewed. our younger child (just 2yo) had different nanny 6m-now; we gave her 4 mo maternity break for her own baby, hired her relative temporarily, then took her+baby back. she's a friend now so i don't treat her like an employee in many ways (maybe should be stricter in my expectations). will only have her another 2 mo before little one heads off for preschool though. helped her research health & financial issues, provided practical help."
"Advertisement and Discernment - I feel it important for parents to ask for exactly what/who they want. If you don't you won't find who will best fit your family and your child(ren). If you or your child have any doubts, don't hire them! Listen to your intuition, as you will feel guilty if you don't and you were right."
"One challenge of hiring a nanny is that you can't look too far in advance of when you need care, so if you are a Type A person with a definite end to her maternity leave, it's hard to plan. I ended up with my excellent situation because someone knew of a nanny whose employers would be moving away around the time I was going back to work, so we were able to organize it a few months before we started. It was such a relief that we didn't have to interview a million people and we didn't have to worry that we weren't going to have care in place. I guess I don't know where I'm going with this, but I did want to raise it as an issue that is more the case with nannies than with other forms of childcare."
"One of the saddest things I observe as I look at other parents' relationships with their nannies is their failure to treat their nannies as they expect to be treated by their own employers. This is your nanny's JOB. This is what she DOES. In our household, we try to match our policies to my employer's policies. The exception is amount of paid vacation (I receive 4 weeks, she gets 2 -- I don't use them all, and it is very difficult to cover her time off). Otherwise, if I have a paid holiday, she has a paid holiday. I get health insurance, we contribute to her health insurance. I get a bonus, she gets a bonus. I have sick time whenever needed, so does she. My employer pays taxes/SSI, we pay taxes/SSI."
"we started with our nanny when our little girl was ~6 months old and kept her with us until she was 2 1/2; we still are in touch with our nanny (still meet for playdates at the park, etc.) and have her occassionally babysit for us; she is a very, very lovely woman"
"We try to treat our nanny as a professional and respect her knowledge and experience with small children. We appreciate that she really loves children and has pursued a lot of knowledge about early childhood development, so she is doing this as a chosen profession rather than just the only job she could get..."
"What would we do differently.... I would contract for 40 hrs/week x 52 wks/year = total expected salary / 12 months = expected monthly salary... I would contract for a monthly salary, and true up any month that she was under. We pay holiday's at 8 hrs. But Thanksgiving week drives me crazy. I pay 40 hours, for 1.5 days b.c. I have to trave back east, and that isn't a vacation for her. But then I use her for 56 hours the next week and have to pay for all of that too!"
"With the varied ages of my children, we have found that college students are the most capable of handling the home situation. They are smart and resourceful and independent and take good care of the younger ones and act as older siblings to the older ones. The downside is that they leave as they move on to other things so their time with us is often short lived. However, several of them have come back as their needs and ours coincide and these have been very satisfying relationships."
"We registered with an au pair company (I think it was Au Pair Care) initially, but it was a very stressful process to pick someone over the phone with little information, and had heard lots of horror stories from other families. We then found our nanny through a flyer that was posted in the neighborhood. Within 5 minutes of meeting her we knew she would be great...this is the great advantage of getting to meet someone in person and th disadvantage of the au pair companies."
"Au Pairs are a great option if you have a room for them. The cost is very reasonable for a lot of hours of care, and the au pair is dedicated first and foremost to the needs of your family. They bring new energy and strengths each year (as you get a new person) and that makes for a lively, not "burnt out" experience. Our kids have learned that there are lots of wonderful people out there they can trust, and who will enjoy and care for them, rather than feeling that they can only sustain one relationship and can only depend on a few people to care for them. They now have an international community of "big sisters" who send notes, gifts, sometimes join us on vacations abroad. It has been a wonderful, positive experience for our family to go the au pair route with childcare -- and our kids are now 9, 11 and 13. We will continue to have this help until all the kids are independent and mobile enough to get themselves around on their own."
"AuPair and live-in experiences. We tried it and ended it after only one week. She was an AuPair from Germany who on the phone was sweet and charming, but in person was sulky and sullen. She didn't approve of our parenting style and created tons of turmoil in our household. I had heard both good and bad stories about AuPairs - it would be nice to have it better quantified to help people better decide."
"I have my nanny because I work full time. I wonder how many people have nannies because they work, or just to help out with the kids."
"I have often helped a nanny find a job, especially through BPN. That's one service/perk/gift/benefit that wasn't mentioned."
"Can I sponsor my nanny for a green card? I just saw that in one of the questions, but I just looked that up and it looked like only family members could easily make that happen. Maybe I can ask about that in advice, if a lot of people have done it."
what people do when a nanny has a crisis that is 2 weeks to indefinate (we haven't had this but others have and norms would be helpful info)
"I'd love to learn if others have issues with nanny boyfirneds/family members causing concern ( i.e. with a criminal record), and how people handle nannies getting pregnant and going on maternity leave."
"I'd love to see a separate section for families with special needs kids: where to find nannies, how much pay, whether and how to train, etc."
"It would be interesting in future surveys to find out about what trends (e.g. baby sign, babywearing, infant potty training/ EC, etc.) and preferences in childrearing that employers have gotten their nannies on board with. Our nanny was initially skeptical of trying to put the baby on the potty, but now does it regularly. She's also expressed interest in baby sign."
It would be interesting to present questions about what the nannies do with the kids each day, how much daily interaction they have with peers, if they meet up with larger groups of kids, etc."
"My nanny has been with us for 12 years but the survey did not allow me to enter that. Also, as the kids have gotten older, I have kept our nanny's pay the same but keep reducing her hours and adding more vacation time which she enjoyes."
Whether we use Nanny Full Time or Part Time. This would have affected answers to some questions like holidays (the nanny only gets paid for holidays if the holidays overlap with one of the days that the nanny typically works)...
would be interested to hear more about salary info + concerns/differences occur with nanny and parents.
"How much people charge for nannyshare agreements (for example, is there a price break when folks share nannies)."
"One thing I didn't see was the notion of the nanny bringing her own child along while caring for mine. My nanny did that for a few months recently, and it had it's pluses and minuses. But overall I preferred a share with another paying family."
"Our nanny became pregnant two months after she started working for us. She took two months off (unpaid) for maternity leave and then returned to take care of our daughter, but we value her work and her presence so much that we agreed to continue to pay her at her regular rate, rather than reducing her salary when she returned - taking care of her newborn daughter and ours. I think the survey could have included how people generally work through this transition. For us, it's been relatively smooth, but I'm sure it's not always that way."
"Process of giving raises - how often, how much of a raise, how to handle compensation when another child added What to do when nanny excessively sick and have to hire a substitute while gone- want to pay nanny sick pay, but I'm also paying the other one so it gets expensive! Happy to pay when I stay home with the kids when nanny sick, but if I'm paying someone else I have a harder time."
"Questions about how much you think your nanny talks to/stimulates/plays with etc. with your child while you are gone. Meal arrangements, do you have your nanny bring her own food or do you have something for her during the day?"
"THANKS AGAIN, GREAT IDEA TO DO THIS! One other thing: did you have a set list of questions you used in interviewing nannies? Would you be willing to make it available to other moms?"
"Would like some questions about the dynamic of nannies and parents who work at home - does it cause tension, do nannies rely more on the parent when they work at home, does the nanny resent having to keep certain areas of the house quiet for work, etc."
"You didn't ask about how much of a hardship the rates we pay nannies are. It's pretty challenging to make enough money to cover $18 an hour. I clear enough for a little pocket change, but it is REALLY hard to make childcare work financially. I know we pay on the lower end for taking care of twins and there is no WAY we could pay any more. Consequently we have someone who is great, but definitely lacking in experience, which I would really LOVE to have."
"You didn't ask the age of the children in the nanny share. Our children are 2 years apart in age. Also, it made a big difference to us that the family we're sharing with had already worked with this nanny for 2 years, so they were an important reference. I do not know how literate our nanny is. You didn't ask about whether you let the nanny take your children in her own car, and if so, if the nanny has a valid driver's license and auto insurance. I would also be curious to know how far people let their nanny travel with their child, i.e., only on foot, in the car within 2 miles, in the car within 10 miles, etc. Another question I'd like you to ask: Does the nanny let your children watch television and is this okay with you?"
a question like: did you ask for any legal residency documents from your nanny? does immigration status matter to you in a nanny?
advice on posting/finding an appropriate family to share
Bilingual. what languages people are looking for in nannies. Does it work to have kids speak with nanny in other language. How far do the kids keep it?
Maybe what went wrong with a former nanny
Nanny conflict resolution-how many warnings and for what do nannies get? what to do when they dont comply? how to address their missteps?
nanny's activities with kids Safety issues
How long it took to find nanny.
how to handle firing a nanny
I'd like to see a discussion about the dynamics of race in nanny/parent relationships.
Question: Do you ask your nanny to do extra hours such as babysitting in the evenings or weekends? How much notice?
You asked about what I had done as an employer. I have talked to my nanny since hiring about my expectations-- maybe questions about this would help people."
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