Tag Archives: NannyTrack

How to Keep Your Nanny (and You) Holiday Happy

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For many new parents the holidays are a time of both excitement and anxiety.  Holiday plans present a season of “firsts” which includes plenty of unique challenges for the newly expanded family.  If you’re like most people, you’ll be taking some time off around the holidays . . . but what about your nanny?  Hopefully  you and your nanny negotiated paid holidays and other time off  at hiring, and you have a signed contract that outlines your agreement.  If not, don’t panic—but do find time to sit down with your nanny today  and get on the same page about scheduling and expectations.  Although nannies’ terms of employment vary greatly, here are some FAQs on the subject of holidays to think about:

Do I have to pay my nanny for holidays?

The short answer here is “yes.”  If your nanny’s schedule coincides with a major national holiday (New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas) then she should have that day off and it should be paid.  If you have to work on that holiday then it’s best to discuss your needs with your nanny well in advance of the holiday, and be prepared for her not to be available .  If she does agree to work on a national holiday, some employers choose to pay overtime (i.e. time and a half).   Leave on all other holidays (MLK Day, President’s Day, various religious holidays, etc.) is at the discretion of you, the employer.  Again, the key here is to make sure you’ve outlined in advance which holidays will be granted so there are no surprises (or disappointments) on either side-don’t assume that just because you don’t celebrate a certain holiday she doesn’t, either.

Do I have to pay my nanny when I go on vacation?

Again, the short answer here is “yes.”  The key here, though, is in the contract.  Some families make it a requirement that the nanny take her vacation at the same time as the family so as to minimize costs.  If you know you always take one week off in December, for example, then you can require your nanny also take this week as of one her paid vacation weeks.   But if you haven’t set this up as an expectation,  don’t be surprised if your nanny’s vacation schedule doesn’t always match up with yours—and realize you’ll pay her salary regardless of which one of you takes vacation.

Do I have to give my nanny a bonus or a present?

A holiday bonus and/or gift is not required, but it does go a long way toward keeping your nanny happy.  Most families do give their nanny a bonus and/or gift at Christmas to acknowledge the amazing job she does, so if you’re feeling like your nanny doesn’t deserve a bonus, then maybe it’s time to consider making a change.  If you’re curious about what or how much to give, ask around, but note that bonuses vary greatly depending on the amount of hours worked and the circumstances of the employer.  The important thing is to make sure your nanny knows how much she is valued in whatever way feels right.  A happy nanny = a happy family.

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Your Nanny and Social Media

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We live in an age where social media seems to permeate every facet of society. These days, most people have not only a Facebook account, but also Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and the-list-goes-on accounts with which to share every picture, activity, thought, story, and recipe idea. And your nanny is unlikely to be an exception!

Social media, while fun and engaging, can also be risky.  And while we all have different ideas about what we consider acceptable to post online, by sharing snippets of her day, your nanny could inadvertently share your child(ren)’s whereabouts, living situation, schedules and/or photos with strangers. In order to avoid a situation that can be (at best) uncomfortable and (at worst) dangerous, it is important for parents to be aware of your nanny’s social media presence and to discuss expectations and rules regarding social media use.

Before the interview:

  • It’s never a bad idea to look up potential hires on various social media sites to see what they’re doing and saying in a non-professional atmosphere. (NannyTrack can do this for you, too!) If you notice a candidate tweets or posts excessively and/or too candidly for your taste, follow your instincts and move on to another candidate. If possible, take this step before wasting valuable time interviewing someone who you know from their online presence isn’t going to be a match—joking tweets about careless driving? Nope!
  • Figure out where you stand on social media use and your nanny. Would you like to be a Facebook friend or Instagram follower, for example, of your nanny so you can monitor her use of the various social platforms? Or do you feel this creates a familiarity you’re not comfortable with? 

During the interview:

  • We suggest a straightforward approach: Tell your potential nanny exactly what is and isn’t okay to share on social media when it comes to the job. No pictures, stories, tweets, etc. about your children, at all, ever? State that, explicitly, rather than assume your nanny knows what you consider proper social media etiquette.  Some parents go farther, and ask their nanny to sign a social media contract declaring that she understands and acknowledges the rules, or incorporate this into a broader employment contract.  Here at NannyTrack, we always encourage parents to use caution and this is no exception.  Having a written agreement signed by both parties is an excellent way to avoid future misunderstandings.
  • The interview is also a good time to make clear to any potential nanny that time dedicated to caring for your children should not instead be spent using social media (whether it’s about your children or not).

Going forward:

  • Be sure to stay proactive, even after you’ve decided on a nanny! Check in on her social media accounts periodically to make sure she’s following the agreed-upon rules.

 P.S. If you’d like to see what we’re Tweeting and Facebooking about, follow us online!

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We have a winner!

As mentioned, we were thrilled to meet so many expectant and new parents at the New York Baby Show. We also had the fun opportunity to give away a FREE NannyTrack report (a $555 value). We’ve contacted our winner and look forward to helping this mom (and you!) select the nanny that will best fit her family’s needs.

Stay tuned next week for a new post weighing the differences between in-home childcare and daycare.

BABY SHOW SUCCESS!

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Thanks to Sarah Gardner and the rest of the team from New York Baby Show for making the weekend such a success! It was great to have the chance to speak with some of our current and future NannyTrack families. Here at NannyTrack we feel very strongly about getting parents the best available information about all aspects of hiring the right caregiver for their child, and we enjoyed the chance to spread the word about how NannyTrack fits into that process. Check back next week for a post about when to start planning your childcare (a topic on the minds of a lot of the expectant and new parents we met this weekend) and the announcement of the winner of our FREE NannyTrack report (a $555 value). 

New York Baby Show

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Spring has finally arrived, and here at NannyTrack we’ve spent the past few months freshening up our look for the new season! After three great years providing crucial information to moms and dads about their childcare candidates, we decided the time is right to let the world know all over again the important work we’re doing. Please join us this Saturday and Sunday, May 17 and 18, 2014 at the The New York Baby Show where we’ll be presenting along with lots of other business providing valuable services to parents of young children; look for the NannyTrack logo and come on over and say hi! Co-founders Leah Clarkson and Casey Drucker will be on hand to answer questions, explain our investigative process, and generally talk you through how to get started on your nanny background check. An added bonus?  Drop your email or business card off to enter a drawing for a FREE Nannytrack report—a $555 value.  See you at the show!

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All photos courtesy of New York Baby Show

THE NANNY INTERVIEW: HOW TO PREPARE

Interviewing doesn’t come naturally to all of us—if you’re not a journalist, a lawyer, or an investigator (or simply love playing sleuth!), it may feel awkward and uncomfortable to quiz someone you’ve just met about the details of their work and education history. But when the time comes to find the perfect nanny for your child , questions need to be asked, and chances are you’ll be the one doing the asking.  Follow our tips and rest assured you’ll soon be interviewing like a pro:

  1. Be prepared.

A quick Google search will help you locate sample questionnaires or job applications (including this one on our site). Either have your candidate fill out an application/questionnaire and send it to you in advance, or simply select questions that are most important to you to ask during the interview. Make sure you have a hard copy of all the questions you want to ask- it’s easy to forget when you’re in the middle of an interview!

To get you started, we love this very comprehensive list of questions compiled by Helen Moon (The “Baby Nurturer”).

 

  1. Think of the interview as a “get to know you” session, not an inquisition. 

Remember, even though you are the employer, you and your nanny will be working as a team to give your child the best possible environment and care. It’s hard for anyone to present themselves honestly when they feel nervous or attacked. If you can help your candidate feel at ease she’s more likely to answer honestly (even if those answers aren’t the ones you want to hear.)  Framing the interview like this will also help you to relax, listen, and focus on your candidate’s answers so you can ask the follow-up questions that count.

 

  1. Silence is your friend.

As uncomfortable as it might feel, you need to give your candidate the time and space to answer your questions.  If her résumé shows a gap and you ask, “What were you doing between March 2010 and April 2011?” make sure she answers without any help. Don’t be afraid to ask simple questions and wait for an explanation.  Listening is just as important as asking.

 

  1. Review dates carefully.

We like to think of this as “reading between the lines”.  If you see any gaps on your candidate’s résumé or application, make sure to ask what she was doing during this period. Gaps aren’t necessarily negatives, but it’s important to know why they occurred and what didn’t make it onto the résumé. Oh, and remember those follow-up questions we mentioned? Make sure you ask your candidate to clarify any answers you don’t understand. It’s in both of your best interests to get the information right.

 

  1. Make notes.

If you can, jot down your candidate’s answers during the course of the interview.  If you find this too distracting or difficult, then make sure you take a few minutes after your candidate leaves to focus and write down everything you remember, including your overall impressions of the candidate and gut feelings about the interaction you just had. If you are conducting the interview along with a partner or spouse, it can be helpful for each of you to do this separately for reference before you discuss your impressions with one another.

 

  1. Don’t worry.

Above all, try not to worry. Remember, you won’t be making a decision by the end of the interview, and you owe it to yourself and your child to be thorough. It’s far better to ask the tough questions now, rather than later if things aren’t going well. If you approach the interview with a spirit of respect and professionalism, a solid candidate will understand and appreciate your interest and level of commitment to the process.