The recent wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle brought a lot of attention to Britain’s royal family and had a lot of us contemplating what life as a royal would be like. One particularly enviable aspect was the nanny that Prince William and Catherine had on hand to mind the children in attendance – every parent will agree that an extra pair of hands is an invaluable addition to any family, particularly one with a newborn baby!
But, as it turns out, nannies aren’t just for the royals – thousands of parents in Australia fully appreciate the benefits that a nanny can bring to a family with a newborn child, without breaking the bank. The physical and emotional benefits are worth every cent.
Nannies are proactive carers who provide personalised care to children in their own home. They can be ‘live-in’ or ‘live-out’ and will possess specific skill sets that help them take care of children of certain ages – for example, babies up to three months old should have a nanny who is a newborn care specialist.
“Knowing that a qualified professional nanny is looking after your child or children while you’re at work is really liberating,” said Louise Dunham, a pioneer of the in-home childcare industry and CEO of Placement Solutions. “All nannies have a wide range of educational abilities that they use to teach their charges, but a second language is an extra advantage. Parents have confidence that their most precious assets are under the best of care, being educated and having fun.”
It’s no secret that most parents face childcare issues, even with the help of their own parents or relatives a few days a week. A nanny or educator can be employed just one day a week on a permanent or casual basis, and can even be shared with another family to halve the childcare costs. You might even be eligible for childcare rebates when employing a nanny/educator, which also helps defray the cost.
“If you’d like the carer to do more than look after the children, parents can opt for a combined nanny and household manager who is able to help with things like meal preparation, washing and ironing, shopping, light cleaning, pet-walking and organising things that parents don’t have time for or would rather not do,” Ms Dunham said. “If one or more children are starting back at school, either a nanny/educator or combined nanny/household manager can be involved in the drop off and pick up if they are under 12, which can ease the stress for working mums and dads. If children are over 12, a household manager can perform this task.”
Using nanny sharing or multi-care for in-home childcare is simple, but Ms Dunham recommends families find another family that shares the same values and ideally has the same aged children. Parents looking for quality in-home childcare service should investigate the options for a quality nanny/educator – they might find it’s more affordable than they think.
As with any employer-employee arrangement, parents employing a nanny or household manager need to ensure it is done legally. Tax, superannuation and holiday and sick pay are all part of the deal, so finding an agency to find and vet potential nannies or household managers and organise the wages can be a stress-free way to employ a helper.
When selecting a nanny/educator, Placement Solutions’ advises choosing one who has at least three years’ childcare experience and demonstrable expertise.
“In-home childcare is a profession, not just a job. A nanny/educator’s role involves being 100 per cent present and in the moment for the child/children they are looking after,” Ms Dunham says. “Children rely on this active presence and engagement; it’s how young humans learn and develop. They rely on all their carers to be hyper-vigilant, enthusiastic and above all, kind.”