About Nannies By Amanda Coxen, Tinies Childcare There is no legal definition of a nanny. There is also no requirement for a nanny to have any specified childcare qualifications or experience. In today's world, the term nanny normally means: Someone who has gained a recognised qualification in childcare and/or A valuable level of expertise in the care and management of children. There are many different types of nanny. Nannies can be: Live in or live out Work part time or full time Be permanent or temporary Nannies range from those who are relatively newly qualified to those with over 10 years' experience. We tend to use the term "nanny" for someone who can be left in sole charge of children for a given length of time during the day, or all day. A nanny's role Their primary role is to care for the children, and therefore they are not normally hired to do that role plus cleaning or housekeeping, unless specified and agreed before they are hired. As a comparison... Mother's helps A mother's help tends to be someone who is either very newly qualified, or is young, or is unqualified but has some experience in the care of children. Mothers' helps are usually suitable for the care of children of 3 years and upwards unless they have specific relative experience of children below this age. Or they are there to support a mother who is at home for the majority of the day. They may require more direction to meet your children's needs and would usually be prepared to do some light house work as well as child care. They are an appropriate choice if you are at home or working part time and require an extra pair of hands. Is a nanny the right solution for me? There are many different reasons as to why a nanny may work for one family and not for another. You need to ask yourself a number of questions:
What exactly are my childcare needs?
If you are looking for childcare whilst you are working, and your job starts early and finishes late, then a nanny would be the best solution. If you are wanting more ad hoc type childcare, you can still hire a nanny, but they normally prefer to know what set hours they are working per week, in order to fit in another job, or to plan their finances. If you are looking for part time childcare, the less hours you are looking for the harder it is to find a nursery to take your child, and often it is better for the child not to dip in and out of a nursery too frequently, as they will not get the benefit of being there. If you are looking for a short term childcare solution, again a nanny may be best for a temporary basis, as you can have a fixed contract with them, whereas with a nursery or childminder, you may have to give a specified period of notice to terminate. Can I afford a nanny? You need to look at your financial situation to decide on this question. You should bear in mind that a nanny's salary is subject to tax and NI contributions, which should be taken into account from the start. If you work for a company that provides childcare vouchers, then this can save you some money if you redeem against your nanny's salary. Nanny shares (or even finding a local family and sharing some sort of childcare option) can be an ideal way for you to reduce childcare costs. What other childcare alternatives in my area? If you know of excellent nurseries or childminders in the area, it is well worth visiting to see if that would be the best childcare for your child. Some children hugely benefit from being in an environment with other children. Other children may thrive on more one to one care, with interaction with other children being provided through playgroups attended by the child with the nanny.