The arrival of the Pumpkin-Spice Latte means only one thing in the Annie’s Nannies office, it’s Fall again in Seattle. Before the weather starts freezing little (and big) toes, we like to take the chance to spend some time outdoors – enjoying the crunch of leaves on the ground and the sight of hundreds of orange pumpkins in a field.
1. Get Lost In A Corn Maze
One of the most entertaining fall family activities is getting lost in a corn maze! Our friends at Red Tricycle have put together this handy list of 10 corn mazes in the Seattle area. A great, inexpensive day out with the kids that guarantees a good night sleep! Your family doesn’t need much to have fun here – just a pair of gumboots and a sense of direction.
Our Top Pick: Carleton Farm! – Check out all the extra fun activities!
Annie’s Nannies was chosen by Red Tricycle voters as the best Childcare Agency/Resource in the Seattle area. We were thrilled and honored to be nominated and chosen. Thank you to everyone who voted!! Woot!
Kathryn Hillman was chosen as August’s Nanny of Month. Kathryn has been part of our on call pool since early June 2013 and from the get go, we knew she would be an all-star! She presents herself in a professional way and the kids she looks after absolutely adore her!
One of her early clients said “Kathryn was great! She immediately understood that my little one might cry when I left and did what she could to distract her (she would definitely have cried!) She was also very firm with my 7 year old (who later informed me he was not exactly cooperative!) and I was impressed with that.”
When asked about a favorite funny moment working with kids, Kathryn said: “I was looking for something to prepare for dinner for the kids I was watching the other night, and the 4 year old chimed in and said ‘Well, Mommy lets us have pancakes and chocolate chips sometimes usually a lot of the time. We can have those.’
I replied, ‘Hmm…really? I’m sure. That sounds delicious. Your Mommy is very nice.’
She says, ‘She is, but don’t tell her we ate them.’
Needless to say, we didn’t eat chocolate-chipped-pancakes for dinner this time around.”
Thank-you for all your wonderful work Kathryn! We’re lucky to have you!
We often get this question, especially with the recovering economy and many families having to be extremely cost-conscious. However, paying too low of a salary to a nanny could result in high nanny turnover and/or low quality providers. During your child’s early years, the quality of care is very important for their overall development. Many families choose to make high quality childcare a priority for these first years, sacrificing in other areas, knowing that once the child enters school childcare costs should lessen.
So, what should you consider when coming up with a fair wage?
- Hours: Full time is considered 40 hours+/week; Part time is anything under 30 hours/week. Keep in mind, part time nannies are harder to find and therefore tend to get paid a premium. Also, anything over 40 hours per week is technically overtime by law.
- Job duties: Will the job be childcare focused or will it include additional duties? Generally more duties equals more dollars.
- Number and ages of children: How many children and their ages will play a role. Good infant care is hard to find and we have been experiencing a “baby boom” in the Seattle area in the past 5 years. Good infant nannies tend to get paid a premium.
- Nanny’s Experience: how much experience a nanny has, education or other child development training, diversity of experience, etc.
- Market Value: Amazingly enough, experience is not always “queen.” Sometimes things like personality, life-goals, and other characteristics make one nanny more marketable than another.
In the current Seattle/Eastside market, we see most professional nannies earning $16-$18/hour (sometimes more) for full time positions, and $18-$20/hour for part time positions. Keep in mind these are GROSS wages. When you hire a nanny you are becoming their employer and you will be responsible for withholding taxes. A great tax resource is Breedlove & Associates, and they have a wonderful payroll calculator online that can help you with budgeting:
In terms of “benefits”, there are no requirements, but rather industry standards. Most professional nannies expect their hourly rate to be guaranteed, even if the family doesn’t need her (i.e. a “salary” that she can rely on). Guaranteeing your nanny’s pay can go a long way towards loyalty and flexibility. Most full time nannies receive 2 weeks of paid vacation per year, 3-5 sick days, and all major holidays off paid. Most part time nannies receive a guarantee of hours and paid holidays.
Remember to always keep in mind that a nanny is caring for your greatest asset-your children! If you treat your nanny well and professionally then you have a higher likelihood that she will be committed and happy in her position with you and will give your children the highest quality care.
The nanny/household employee industry has been historically notorious for misclassifying their employees (i.e. paying them off the books). The IRS is giving families a chance to come clean and fix the problem by June 30, 2013. Experts estimate that the tax shortfall for families not reporting/paying is $3-$10 billion per YEAR! The IRS have been cracking down on the household employee industry in recent years, and many believe this is a warning that they will be targeting it even more.
For more information:
We know that our Nannies often put the needs of others before their own needs. After all, a Nanny’s profession is centered around the care of others, the children they love, and the family they support. This is good and meaningful work! It is often loads of fun but it can also wear you out! In order to stay strong and happy (and engaged in your job), it’s important to also take the same care for yourself.
The following “55 Gentle Ways To Take Care of Yourself When You’re BUSY BUSY BUSY” is a nice list of practices. My favorites include anything to do with getting enough sleep or rest, exercise and eating well, pursuing creative endeavors, meditating, and being goofy!
This article differentiates between Self-Care, Self-Pampering (Ok!) and Self-Indulgence. Something to think about!
Take what you like and discard won’t doesn’t work for you. Make your own self-care list, do what you can, and don’t beat yourself up for not doing everything on your list. Lastly, talk to yourself with kindness and care for your own needs the way you would the children you care for!
We are thrilled to announce our 2012 Nanny of the Year is Heather McKay! We placed Heather in a Nanny/Family Assistant job last year, and she was our August Nanny of the Month in 2012. Her family had this to say upon hearing of her win:
“Our family is thrilled to hear that Heather has been selected as Nanny/Family Assistant of the Year. She is certainly deserving of this honor. Heather provides our busy household with incredible support and organization, and always with an energetic smile. She anticipates our needs and does more than we ask. As a professional single mom, I don’t what I’d do without her! Thanks for honoring Heather.”
Heather recently came into our office to receive her award, some flowers, and a special treat! Congrats!
Childcare decisions can be daunting, whether you are a working parent needing full-time care, or a stay-at-home mom looking for babysitters and backup help. Once you’ve made the decision as to the type of care, the first step is to interview the care provider. What you would ask a nanny versus a daycare may be different, but there are some core questions you should always ask.
*REMEMBER: When choosing a childcare provider, your decision should come primarily from “gut-instinct” – not resumes and credentials.
1. Tell us about your childcare experience.
2. Why are you pursuing this work OR why did you originally choose this work?
3. Tell me about your experience with children age _________? (your children’s ages)
4. What is your philosophy about child development? (Talk about your parenting philosophy)
5. What is your discipline style? (Talk about your discipline style)
6. Describe a typical day with children age____ (your children’s ages). What kind of activities do you like to do?
7. Describe a difficult situation that you have had with a child and how you handled it.
8. What is your idea of a nutritious meal/snack?
9. What lessons did you learn from your parents about life? What strengths did you gather from them?
10. What are your fondest childhood memories?
Families and Nannies: the IRS is increasing the standard mileage deduction to $.56.5 cents/mile effective January 1st. If a Nanny drives her own vehicle on the job, she should be compensated for mileage.
Happy New Year!