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Let’s talk about childcare- Thinking of employing a Nanny?

There are a number of childcare options in Australia, one of them being the option of employing your own nanny. Think of a nanny, and most people think of Mary Poppins, but today’s nannies are contributing significantly in every day Australian households.

Many parents are a little daunted to employ a nanny for two reasons- one of the reasons being the administrative aspect -such as organising sick pay, holiday pay, overtime, insurance, super and tax, which can be off-putting. However there are many companies out there who can organise all this for you from as little as $14 a week. Pay the Nanny is one such company (March 2023). offers a free nanny contract template.

The second reason is cost. Minimum hourly rates are set out in the Miscellaneous Awards on average, $30-$45 per hour plus agency fee and super ( March, 2023).

However more families are finding employing their own nanny can be both advantageous and cost-effective. Some Australian families have taken benefit of approved In-home Care packages through nanny agencies. Care takes place in the family home and is aimed at those who can’t access other types of approved care This could be due to: non-standard or variable work hours, geographic isolation from other types of care, or complex or challenging needs

There are currently 3200 In home Care places nationally in Australia. Each place must utilise 35 hours per week, per child. In order to benefit from gaining the Childcare Subsidy, the service provider must be approved and follow strict eligibility criteria. In addition the Childcare Subsidy for families is based on factors such as income, age of child and type of service required. Latest update however from the official government website (March 2023) states “Home Care service applications are currently on hold due to a review of the program”.

When considering candidates as potential nannies, there are several important points to consider- Are they the right fit? Do they have the same values, morals, and outlook on life? Are they committed? -a frequent change of nanny is emotionally damaging to a child. Some offer experience, skills, or qualifications or both. Some may have unique or specialist skills and qualifications such as nursing, special needs, languages, music, or dance.

Personally speaking, both my boys when they were toddlers and babies, benefited from a mature “common sense” Yorkshire lady in the UK. She had no qualifications, but her skills and life experiences were second to none. She was loved, cherished, and fondly remembered to this day.

Communication between parties is essential. Not just from the outset, but daily. A debrief at the start and end of the day is important, and in instances when parents are absent I find that a “diary” system works well.

The benefits of employing your ideal nanny are considerable. Perhaps the biggest advantage is that “one to one”, which means your child has tailored individual care. Your little one will form a strong bond with the nanny. This is a comfort to parents who spend periods of time away from home, knowing that the nanny knows their child well, and has a strong bond, rather than just a care giving/work relationship with the child.

Routines are tailored to suit the needs of the child. Similarly if parents want aspects of the day changed, this can be done easily. There is flexibility of playtime, outings and educational activities, without having to worry about staff child ratios, as found in the day care centres. Not only does this make the day more stimulating, but helps the child interact with other people. Their social, physical, and personal development is enhanced. Parents have the reassurance that their child’s day is organised, safe and stimulating and that their child is well cared for.

Nannies will also be aware of educational milestones, and will ensure that family values are adhered to with reference to aspects such as screen time, exercise, sugar intake, educational development etc.

In addition, given prior notice, most nannies will be willing to work extra hours to help families out when needed. These moments in life when things just “come up”, having a nanny on board to help out, can help relieve a lot of stress. Illness is an issue if parents rely solely on childcare centres. Nannies also help out practically around the home-folding clothes, putting away toys, meal preparation, picking up essentials or homework supervision with siblings.

Once you have found your ideal nanny you might want to consider offering a few perks. Let’s face it, everyone like to feel appreciated, and a simple thankyou goes a long way. This does not necessarily have to be in the form of pay rises and bonuses. It could be offering to pay for your nanny’s CPR certificate or attending a course, which will also benefit your child, or even having a day off, offering a hair and beauty voucher or movie tickets. Not only will perks like this help attract the best nanny, but they’ll help retain them, too. With the shortage of childcare workers and extensive waiting lists found at child care centres, you may find that finding your ideal nanny is worth their weight in gold.

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