Is Nanny Care Right for Your Family?
Hey Tranquility Tribe! This week, HeHe sat down to chat with Sara Cook, founder of Cloud9 Nannies, a nanny agency serving the Boston area. HeHe and Sara get into all the real life issues that come with hiring a nanny, from establishing trust with a caregiver to the nitty gritty details of pay!
All About Sara
As a working mama, Sara knew reliable and trustworthy childcare would be crucial for her family’s lifestyle. Her first child was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth, so this made finding a nanny that would be the perfect fit extra important. Sara worked in the professional IT world for many years as a recruiter, which made her an expert in finding the right candidates for a job with a very specific skill set. She combined her motherly instinct and experience with finding nannies for her own two sons with her experience in the recruiting world to create Cloud9 Nannies, where she connects families all around the Boston area with full-time or part-time long-term nanny care.
Starting the Search
Sara believes the most important step in the nanny search is sitting down with your partner to figure out who your ideal nanny would be: How much experience do they have? Did they study child education? Are they a mom themselves? What type of person is the best for your family?
In terms of finding the right agency to help you with your search, Sara suggests learning about the agency owner, the team, and their background. Finding an agency you connect with is essential as they’re going to be the “face” for your family as they interview nannies for the agency upfront. Even if you’ve already started the nanny search on your own, an agency like Sara’s can help you vet a candidate you have in mind.
Finding the Perfect Fit
Once an agency connects you with some potential candidates, it’s time for interviews! Sara takes care of figuring out logistical information from the nanny like transportation situation, schedule availability and desired pay so that you can spend your interview really getting to know your potential nanny. The interview is the perfect opportunity to really explore your nanny’s past experience and her values and practices when it comes to childcare.
What happens if you choose a candidate you initially loved but who turns out to not be the best fit? Sara’s agency offers a 90-day guarantee concerning satisfaction with placement which applies not only to the families but the nannies too. When a situation like this happens, she works ASAP to set up a new placement for a family at no extra cost or fee.
Safety and Trust
Welcoming someone into your home on such a personal level and trusting them with your children can be incredibly nerve wracking, especially for first-time parents. However, safety is an absolute priority for Cloud9’s nannies. Sara always checks the most recent reference that a potential nanny provides before even beginning to set her up with potential families. In addition to doing a comprehensive background check and requiring CPR training, Sara has potential nannies take a basic childcare skills assessment through the International Nanny Association.
With safety comes the often controversial topic of nanny cams. Sara gets asked about them often and notes that if you’re going to choose to use them, it is imperative that you let the nanny know, preferably ahead of time in her contract. Sara’s stance on them is that if a nanny cam would make you feel more comfortable, that’s okay, but ultimately you need to be open to trusting the person who is caring for your children. HeHe agrees that it’s essential to have boundaries when it comes to these kinds of things, like only using the cam until the child’s first birthday, and sticking to that boundary. Otherwise, it can turn into an unhealthy crutch that may ripple out into other aspects of your parenting journey.
Getting Down to Details
Although it’s easy to view a nanny as just providing a helping hand and hopefully as a part of the family, at the end of the day, they are your employee and that comes with all the nuances that other forms of formal employment come with.
In Boston, the going rate for nanny pay is between 20 and 25 dollars an hour for an average of 2 kids, with many families throwing in an annual or quarterly bonus. In Sara’s experience, families account for an average of 2 weeks of vacation time and 2 to 3 sick days. When you’re in a place like Boston, it’s also important to take snow days into account! It can be frustrating trying to work from home on a snow day and not have the nanny there, but if it’s not safe for you to drive into work, it’s most likely not safe for them either. Setting expectations about things like this upfront and establishing solid communication between you and your nanny is key to having a comfortable yet fair situation.
All in all, when it comes to building a successful nanny relationship between a caregiver and your family, trust and communication truly are key!
If you want to get in touch with Sara, you can check out her website at cloudnannies.com or send an email over to firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget to join our private Facebook, The Tranquility Tribe Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe!