Before we say anything else, let us say this: we fully support every woman’s right to make her own choices about whether she wants to (and is able to) stay home with her kids after they’re born or whether she wants to (or has to, as is the case sometimes) go back to work. It is an incredibly personal decision. And, if you do decide to go back to work, that decision is even more personal than the deciding which person you will leave in charge of your kids while you are at work.
Will You Be Judged?
In fact, the first thing that you need to consider before you allow a child care professional to take care of your children in your home is whether or not that professional is as comfortable with your decision as you are. While everyone is grateful to get a job, the last thing you need is someone who will pass judgment on you for hiring them instead of waiting until your kids are older to go back to work. This is rarely something that you can ask or that will be answered outright, but you can usually suss it out during the interview process.
Can You Afford a Full Time Salary?
Another thing that you need to think about before hiring your Nanny is how much you can afford to pay this person. Childcare is going to be expensive whether you’re sending your kids to daycare or hiring someone to stay at home with them. How much can you afford to pay for this service? The amount you can afford will decide a lot of things, like how often your Nanny or Baby Sitter will come over and how long he or she will spend in your home. Some parents find that they have to work from home at least part of the time to be able to afford in-home childcare the rest of the time.
Covering Your Legal Bases
Legal issues are also at play here. The days of simply hiring the person down the street to take care of your kids during the day are largely over. Sure, you could pay someone under the table, but it is better and legally safer for everyone involved to keep everything above board. This means that, even if you’re hiring through a service, you should still take steps to ensure that your potential Nanny is legally able to work in your country. It also means that you will need to file certain paperwork with your city and state as well as filing payroll taxes, etc. BabyCenter has a really good guide that can walk you through the process.
While we’re on the subject of legal issues, make sure that your insurance policy will cover a full-time in-home employee. This is especially important if you are hiring the person as “live in” help (many parents offer room and board in exchange for a reduced hourly rate to help save money on childcare expenses). For example, in some states, rental insurance will only cover things that belong to the policyholder; they do not cover costs that arise from subletters or roommate issues. Call your insurance agent and make sure that your policy will cover any problems that arise while a child care professional is in charge will be covered.
Personal Philosophies Matter
It is important to understand exactly who you are hiring. For example, does your potential childcare provider share the same philosophies about discipline as you do? This might not be an issue while your child is still in his or her infancy, but as he or she grows, it will certainly come into play. How does your potential new-hire feel about your dropping in to visit during the workday (this is especially important if you are working from home and your child is being cared for in another part of the house)? How will things like potty training and illnesses be handled? What school of thought does your potential new-hire subscribe to, in terms of child development?
A Back Up Plan is Essential
Finally, make sure you have a backup plan or two in place. Child care professionals get sick just like everybody else. In addition to hiring someone full-time, it’s good to sign up with a service or two so that you can make sure someone trustworthy is available to care for your kids when you can’t get out of work and your full-time Nanny is out.
There are a lot of things that must be considered and details that must be seen to when you hire someone to take care of your kids full-time. These are just a few of them.
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