Susan Tokayer, Co-President
International Nanny Association
Phone: (914) 674-8535
Wendy Sachs, Co-President
International Nanny Association
Phone: (610) 645-6550
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Domestically Downsizing? INA Urges Parents to Carefully Calculate Their Cutbacks
Hyannis, MA (March 26, 2009) – Walking the dog, running errands, doing the family laundry and deep cleaning the house used to be the responsibility of dog walkers, personal assistants and housekeepers, but in today’s economy, household employers are scaling back and asking their nannies to do more.
“For the first time ever, I am having parents call and ask if they can hire a nanny/housekeeper” said Susan Tokayer, co-president of the International Nanny Association (INA) and owner of Family Helpers, a New York based nanny placement agency. “Parents are looking for ways to cut back on their expenses and merging the roles of their household help is one way they’re trying to do just that.”
While even the most seasoned nanny understands that in this economy, they have to be even more flexible and figure out ways to bring added value to their job, it’s important for both parents and nannies to remember that the safety of the children must come first.
“While it is perfectly acceptable to ask a nanny to take on additional household tasks while the children are sleeping or at preschool, asking your nanny to perform household chores beyond the normal tidying up while the kids are in her care can put the children at risk” says Wendy Sachs, co-president of INA and owner of the Philadelphia Nanny Network, a Philadelphia based nanny placement agency.
Nannies agree, “When the children are in my care, my priority is keeping them safe and engaged” said Donna Robinson, a nanny with over a decade of experience and the associations 2008 Nanny of the Year. “It only takes a second for a toddler to get into cleaning supplies or to trip over the vacuum cord and get hurt. While I’m more than willing to help out, lend a hand and prove my worth, when my charge is awake or with me, my focus is solely on him.”
Nannies and nanny placement agency owners are experiencing the effects of domestic downsizing first hand and to help parents calculate their cutbacks, the International Nanny Association offers these five tips:
- If you’re thinking about asking your nanny to take on additional household responsibilities, ask, don’t tell. Demanding that new responsibilities be added to an existing job description is a recipe for resentment. Approach your nanny with a list of five household tasks and ask her to choose three new responsibilities that she is willing to take on.
- Anytime you’re modifying a job description or work agreement, it’s best to write it down and have both parties sign in acknowledgement. Having a current work agreement and job description outlining the expectations of both parties can help avoid miscommunications and misunderstandings down the road.
- Reevaluate your childcare situation. Perhaps your children have outgrown the need for the expertise of a Newborn Care Specialist or other specialty type nanny. The right nanny for your newborn may not be the right nanny for your elementary school child. Hiring a nanny that has a more generalized focus can often reduce your childcare costs.
- Consider taking part in a nanny share. If your household income has been decreased, but you aren’t willing to let your nanny go completely, consider a nanny share. Partner with another like-minded family who is looking to cut costs by sharing a childcare provider.
- Look into hiring a nanny that has her own child. Many nannies with a decade or more of experience are now becoming mothers themselves. Hiring an experienced nanny with a child of her own can be a winning situation for all. You’ll get childcare from an experienced professional at a reduced rate, your child will get a built in playmate and your nanny will love and appreciate being able to bring her own child to work with her.
In today’s economy it’s financially tempting to ask your nanny to take on more, but be careful not to ask her to take on too much. “Remember your nanny’s primary job is to provide a safe and nurturing environment and to partner with you to raise physically, emotionally and socially healthy children” says Tokayer. “If you’re going to ask her to take on more, be sure to tell your nanny that it’s not a reflection on her or her work, but rather a sign of these grim economic times where everyone is forced to work harder.”
###About INAThe INA, a non-profit organization, serves as the umbrella association for the in-home child care industry by providing information and education to the public and to industry professionals. The INA is the only free-standing association that offers a nanny credential exam and nanny/family agreement. For more information, please visit our website: http://www.nanny.org/ or contact us by calling 1-888-878-1477.