Reader Question

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Q. Now that my children are going back to school, my nanny won’t be working as many hours. How to families normally handle this situation?

A. For families of school aged children, September is perhaps the most challenging time of the year.  New routines, schedules and activities can throw even the most organized families temporarily off track. Fortunately, for families who employ a nanny, they don’t have the added stress of securing child care arrangements to accommodate the changes that back to school season brings.

While at first glance, it may seem that since your nanny is working fewer hours cutting her pay would be appropriate, but before you make that decision, it’s important to consider these key things:

  • Consider who will provide child care on Monday holidays, school vacations or when your child needs to stay home from school sick. Consider who will rush to the school when your child forgets her lunch or homework. Nannies provide child care when you need it. Unless you’re prepared to take time off from work or scramble for last minute coverage, paying your nanny for her availability to provide care may be the most convenient and cost effective option for you.                                                                                                                                             
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  • While many families see asking the nanny to work a split shift, providing care for their children before and after school, as a viable option, most nannies won’t agree to that arrangement.  If you’re looking to keep your child care arrangement consistent, consider asking the nanny to take on specific household management duties during the hours that the children are in school. Many nannies ha ve transitioned into the role of household manager/nanny, taking on responsibilities like grocery shopping, running errands and supervising home repairs while the children were in school. Most nannies will be more open to that arrangement than to working a split shift.
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  • Cutting the nannies hours and suggesting that she find a part time job while the kids are in school may sound like a great solution, but the reality is that most nannies won’t agree to this. If your nanny has to be available to you at a certain time of the day, it will severely limit her ability to obtain other employment. If she does, it could become a source of frustration to you should the kids be out of school and you need coverage.
  • In our experience, families who have wanted to keep their child care consistent and not worry about who would care for the kids on holidays, vacations and sick days, have found that continuing to keep their nannies hours and pay consistent was a winning situation for all.

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