Hiring a Nanny - Pottstown,PA

Updated on June 19, 2012
S.G. asks from Pottstown, PA
6 answers

So many questions here! Our family is on the verge of hiring a nanny. We have already set up a profile on Care.com and have actually posted our request, had several responses, whittled that down to a few, interviewed 3, and are trying to make a decision. Turns out, this is a lot more difficult than I ever anticipated.

A little background. Our children (10 yr old girl, 5.5 yr old girl, 2 yr old boy) have only ever been watched by family (mainly the grandmothers) other than in a school situation. We have never sought the help of a "stranger" to babysit our children, not even for a few hours. This in and of itself is making this process much more challenging. Fortunately, my husband and I have our own business, which we run out of our house, however, this has its advantages and disadvantages. During the summer while school is out, it means we have all 3 kids at home with us while we need to get work done. During the school year, we have our 2 yr old at home with us while we need to get work done. We decided to seek the help of a nanny during the day to engage the children while we work, rather than plop them in front of the tv or force them to sit inside the house all summer. We just need an extra set of hands!!! :)

So with all that being said, searching, interviewing, hiring, and entrusting our children to a nanny is a daunting task. We are learning as we go, but still have so many questions. And this is where the help of you mamas comes in...

How much is the going rate? (I realize this will vary based on geographical area, hours involved, care/tasks required, etc.)
How do you handle pay? (Hourly, daily, weekly) (Over or under the table -- Report taxes or not)
What hours have you found work best? (Is it better to have help 8-5 (breakfast to dinner time) or later in the day 12-8 (lunch to bed time?)
Do you provide a car to the nanny to drive your kids around?
Do you provide meals for the nanny and your children to eat? Also, am I responsible for planning a meal for the nanny to feed my children or will she pull it all together?
Do I buy crafts/games/activities for the nanny to do with the kids?
Are there any questions that are a MUST ask? (Other than first aid/CPR, background checks, etc)

We are looking to hire someone full-time (+/- 40 hrs wk), live out. Looking to hire will the intent of long-term (longer than just the summer).

I guess I'm just looking for other's experiences. Some of these questions I feel stupid for even asking, but I honestly have no idea, since we have never done this before! :)

Thanks mamas!

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answers from Houston on

I sooo get not entrusting their care to strangers. I am not familiar with care.com, but I think that you should try a nanny/domestic care service and talk to a person about what you are looking for. They provide you with background checks and references and guarantees.

The hours will depend on your needs. If you need to be up and at 'em early in the morning and you don't have time to get the kids going, then you'll want someone in early to take that over.

Anybody caring for my children has rights to whatever is in the fridge. My little one has his own shelf in the refrigerator of only HIS food. Mealtime will depend on how you shape it. My little one is a toddler, so our needs are different. At first, I prepared his food and just told her what to feed him. Then, I taught her how to prepare his food (spices, etc.) and what was off limits. (She doesn't give him anything new without running it by me first.) Now, she brings in groceries for him and cooks.

Before buying games and crafts, I would get someone in there and see how she/he interacts with the kids. He might come with his own tried and true ideas.

Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

1. The hours you choose depend on your kids, and what you want. I would think for working, I would do a straight 9 - 5. I paid our nanny $11 an hour, I know it can be anywhere from $10 - $15. We gave her a check every week. I know some people have their nannys as W2 employees and pay healthcare and benefits and everything.

2. If you provide a car, you might need to add the nanny to your insurance. When we had our nanny, she had her own car. Many people I know do have their nanny use their car.

3. I always had food in the house for the nanny and kids. I always made sure she knew my house was her house. She also very often brought things from home. She cooked lunch for the kids and when they had not eaten breakfast before she came, made breakfast. Sometimes she made dinner for them and for us. I never asked her to, she was just a good cook, and did that sometimes. Sometimes I had food pre-made. I never did meal planning for her, but would let her know if there were things made in the fridge.

4. I did not specifically go buy crafts and games etc. We have all that stuff in the house, and I made sure the nanny knew where all the art supplies were and that I wanted my kids to do things like playdoh and watercoloring and painting and crafts etc and she did all that with them.

5. I am not sure about "must ask" questions other than your own comfort level.

We had our nanny for 4 years, I absolutely loved her. She was referred through my grandma's cleaning lady who had worked for my grandma for 30 years. It was a woman she knew through her church, who had 2 children in middle school, and was a nanny for a little girl from birth through 6 years old, and now that the little girl was in school, she needed a new job.

Our nanny had a routine with the kids that worked great. She took them out every day, I had memberships to the children's museum and the zoo etc that she was included on, and she took them to the playground and in the winter time to the indoor playplace at the mall, or chuckee cheese, or to mcdonalds etc.

I made sure to give her money for outings with the kids, but most of the time she packed lunches and was not spending alot of money. We knew each other well enough that in the summer she brought her 2 kids with her sometimes so they were not alone all the time, and my little ones loved playing with them. When she did, she was extremely scrupulous about bringing her own food, and enough for my kids as well, even though I told her not to worry about it.

We went to her house a couple of times as well, and knew her entire family.
I miss her but am very happy that I am working from home part time now, and am with the kids all the time. BTW I never had a full time nanny, we started 2 days a week and moved up to 3.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My kids are now 10 and 6. We have had nannies since my 10 year old was 8 months, so I have had a lot of experience! We used to go through an agency in North Wales, but they went out of business a few years ago, so we have been using care.com and sittercity.com. It is much harder to know what you are getting by going through these web sites than it was when we had the agency. I had one sitter over Christmas break who interviewed well and had amazing references but was terrible. She actually showed up in the morning with a book in hand (my kids weren't napping any more at the time)!!!

As for your questions, you need to figure out what works for you. We generally have paid $15/hour (we are in suburban Philly). We tried paying less but definitely found that you get what you pay for. One thing that I found goes a long way is that we pay the nannies for holidays and our vacations. For example, our current nanny will not work on 4th of July or the rest of that week, and we will pay her for the time. That seems to engender a lot of appreciation and loyalty.

The best nannies are going to come in with ideas about activities, games, etc. to do with the kids. I agree with a previous post that you should keep a fund to pay for the activities (we have a plastic baggie), but I always ask to approve all activities ahead of time. I usually give guidelines on meals, but don't plan them out ahead of time. We have offered a car for the nannies' use, but they often prefer to drive their own car, as they feel more comfortable that way.

As for must ask questions, in addition to the obvious (why do you want to watch children? what would you do with them? do they smoke -- this is a big one, as I have had at least one candidate lie about this), I like to find out about the candidates' backgrounds. Where did they grow up? What are their plans for the future? Do they have a boyfriend/girlfriend -- do they live with the boyfriend/girlfriend? Are they close with their parents/siblings? What do their parents/siblings do for a living? What do they do in their spare time? Particularly when the kids get a little older, the nannies can have conversations with the kids that relay personal values. If the values don't match up with yours, you are going to have a problem.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My friend has been a nanny for 5 years.
She is awesome! And her employers are too!
She works 2:30 -7....because they are school aged, and after school help seems to help the parents out the most. She dose run the kids to practices and picks them up from school. She has her own car, but they pay her a hearthy amount of gas plus wear and tear on her car. They have a "activity funds" jar. The nanny, chooses what activities to do with the kids, whether it be inside crafts or an outing. She is allowed to take money form the jar using her discretion, and deposit the receipts back in it afterwards. She helps them with homework, school projects and will at times make dinner for the family. The dinner thing is not part of her job description though, she just loves to cook :) as for meal planning, she plans the meals (in the summer when she is there during the day, for lunch) and she just goes shopping for what they need, and either returned her receipt in for reimbursement or the mom, will buy the shopping list the nanny gives her. If the nanny is preparing food all the time, she should make what she knows how to make...although most know all the regular kid friendly foods :)
She is paid biweekly in check form, and not under the table. She is also paid very well, although I am not privy to an exact amount. Her relationship with the family is a good one, and trust is a big deal. The family also dose not contradict her if she has to be stern with the kids. They respect her authority as a care giver, so that the children will respect her as well.

Good luck in finding a perfect fit for your family. This person will be with you caring for your children all the time, so who ever you choose make sure you are all comfortable with one another and have an understanding of what is expected from both parties.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Hi I was a nanny. The going rate is $10.00 a hr. especially if you have 3 children. Not everyone provides a car for a nanny. If they use their own car then they should get reimbursed for gas. Not everyone provides meals for the nannies. It might be easier if you buy the games and crafts for the kids that way you know it is a safe activity. Make sure your nanny is flexible with the schedule. Will the nanny have to take anyone for a check up at the doctor's office? Also Make sure the nanny is healthy. I had to leave a job because my asthma got worse and parents didn't want their air on. It is best to pay their taxes. I read on 2 websites that it is best to pay their taxes. there are websites that help with paying their taxes or they doing it for you. one web site is NannyTaxes.com;www.gtm.com/gtm_household/easypay.html. Care. com has good articles too. Good luck:)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

when you say "During the summer while school is out, it means we have all 3 kids at home with us while we need to get work done", it does not have to be that way. You could send your eldest kids to camp, and the 2 yr old to a pre-school/daycare. That way they are all with kids their own ages, and have a range of activities to do. It may cost more, but the eldest esp may enjot it more!

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