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Common Myths About Nannies That Need to Go

People who have never hired a nanny, been cared for by a nanny, or worked as a nanny may have certain misconceptions about what nannies actually do. The word “nanny” might bring to mind Mary Poppins, Maria in The Sound of Music, or even Robin Williams as a comical nanny in Mrs. Doubtfire.

Whether the stereotype is comical or heartfelt, there are many myths about nannies that probably sprouted from these famous portrayals in movies and TV shows. But, really, these myths need to go — for the sake of parents, kids, and the nannies who work with them.

That’s why we’re setting the record straight on a few common nanny misconceptions below.

Myth 1: Nannies are just babysitters who work longer days

The myth that nannies are basically just babysitters is simply untrue. A babysitter may help out a family in a pinch by watching the kids as needed: after school, on date night, or for special events on the weekend. Babysitters are paid by the hour and can often work once a week to a few nights a week. It’s a temporary to semi-regular gig.

In contrast, a nanny is regularly employed by a family either part-time or full-time. A nanny takes a more active role in childcare and development. She’s not there to simply watch the kids when the parents leave the house for the night. She might help toddlers learn hand-eye coordination or develop reading skills, tutor older kids, cook healthy meals for the family, and much more.

Myth 2: Nannies are only for wealthy families

Depending on where you live, the price of childcare can be staggering. While nannies may be more expensive than other childcare options like daycare, that doesn’t mean that they’re only affordable for wealthy families. If you think the costs of hiring a nanny are out of your budget, think again. It actually may be a more affordable option based on your needs.

Daycare centers usually have a set pricing system no matter how often your child attends. If your family’s schedule is more flexible, and care needs fluctuate throughout the week, you may be paying more for care that you don’t use. Plus, daycare centers often have strict rules on arrival times, drop offs, and illness. Fees for violating those rules can add up. You may be better off hiring a nanny who can devote her attention to your family, work flexible hours and can handle occasionally sick kids.

Myth 3: All nannies are like Mary Poppins

If you mean all nannies are caring yet authoritative, sensible yet fun, and might have magical powers, then we agree! A great nanny must know how to have fun with kids and discipline them when needed. She’ll have education and training in childcare or child development. Every family is different, but a nanny may also do housework, run errands, or cook for the family as well.

Nannies may be like Mary Poppins in some ways, but remember that Mary Poppins is a perfect nanny because she’s a fictional character. Real nannies are human beings that are performing a job, just like any other professional. A nanny may not know how to automatically care for a child after she’s hired; she may need time to acclimate to a new family. She might make mistakes, and she might need a break from her duties. Nannying is tough, real work.

Myth 4: Nannying is short-term work

At the end of Mary Poppins, the perfect nanny leaves after the family’s problems have been fixed. That’s another myth: that every nanny job is short-term work, and your nanny will leave if she’s found something better or once your child reaches a certain age.

Many nannies are in it for the long haul. It’s incredibly rewarding to play a role in a child’s development alongside the parents. It can also be scary for parents to let someone into their family to do that. When parents find an excellent nanny, they’ll want to hang on to them. And when a nanny develops a bond with the children in a family that treats her with respect and fairness, she’ll want to stay.

Every family’s needs are different and each nanny has unique experience, childcare style, and personality. Tiny Treasures focuses on connecting the right nanny to the right family, so reach out if you’re ready to find the nanny for you.


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