Is A Nanny Right For Your Family?
In this day and age, finding childcare is a challenge for many working parents. Lots of parents make day-home or daycare centre arrangements – the very idea of hiring a nanny seems like a luxury, something reserved for celebrities and the very wealthy. But nannies can be surprisingly affordable, especially if they will care for two or more children, and they offer benefits to the whole family.
The costs for a nanny can seem pretty steep at first glance. But take the time to really think about how your life might be different with one. Your commute would be shorter, with no chaotic daycare drop-offs and pick-ups. You’d never have to worry about last-minute scrambling to cover your work obligations because the daycare won’t allow your kids to attend when they’re sick. Plus, since nannies generally perform light housekeeping duties, some of the basic chores around the house would get done even when you’re not home. You could come home to a dinner that’s ready to eat, and enjoy a pleasant meal with your family instead of frantically trying to whip something together. If you work part-time or outside of traditional office hours, a nanny could make your life a lot simpler.
Consider the benefits for your children, too. Sleep and nutrition are two common and critical concerns for parents. With a nanny caring for your kids in your own home, interruptions to nap schedules and bedtimes will be minimal, and your little ones will be eating the food you want them to be eating.
Parents may worry that nanny care will be isolating for their kids – after all, at daycare, they’d have tons of other kids to play with. But nannies know that socializing is essential for children, and make sure there are lots of opportunities for making new friends at the park or in the neighbourhood. Nannies also make activities such as gymnastics, music lessons, or swim classes possible during the day, which will allow your child to meet others (and as a bonus, means you won’t need to pack these activities into the evening!).
Salaries for live-out nannies vary by province, and generally are higher in major cities. Expect to pay anywhere from $400 to $700 a week for a full-time nanny who comes to your house. The weekly salary for a foreign live-in nanny hired through the Live-In Caregiver Program also varies, but averages about $375 (this includes contributions you’ll be responsible for paying as an employer, and also accounts for room and board deductions). If you hire a nanny through an agency, there may also be placement fees which can range from several hundred dollars for a local nanny to several thousand for an overseas nanny.
Another option is to hire an au pair. Au pairs are young women (or occasionally men) who come to Canada from other countries, and provide live-in care for your children in return for free room and board and a negotiated weekly stipend (usually a few hundred dollars). The cost of having an au pair can be significantly less than a traditional nanny, but of course, this arrangement will probably be less permanent and the au pair may not have any formal childcare training or certification -- usually just experience with kids through babysitting or family relationships. The goal of the au pair program is to foster cultural exchange, and can be a wonderful learning opportunity for the whole family.
When treated respectfully and warmly, nannies quickly become beloved integral members of the family. With many advantages, nannies are a childcare option well worth considering!