If you're a single parent, or if your family is one of two wage earners and you have a child or children, you might be wondering to yourself, or asking someone, How much does a nanny cost?
Nannies, also referred to as au pair girls, are typically younger women (ages 18 to 30) who tend (take care of) children of professional couples. (A governess, unlike a nanny, instructs or tutors children.) Nannies live typically with the family requiring the services of that nanny. A lot of nannies in the United States, but not all, are younger women from the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland), probably because of the popularity of Disney's Mary Poppins, which encouraged many American couples to seek genteel nannies and because these nannies already speak what is considered prim and proper English.
Nannies typically do the following tasks:
Ensuring that the child gets its naps and goes to bed on time
Maintaining good communication with the parents
Maintaining the cleanliness and neatness of the child's bedroom
Maintaining the cleanliness and neatness of the house overall
Preparing meals and snacks for the child
Protecting the child from any and all harm, internal and external
Providing childcare during hours agreed upon
Reading bedtime stories to the child
Spending the night with the child, if need be, especially if the child is sick or frightened by the dark
Supporting the physical and intellectual development of the child
Companies offering the services of nannies abound within the United States and Europe. Typically services charge $350 to $750 a week, after up-front costs (administrative paperwork, etc., etc.) are paid. Some nannies can cost as much as $1,000 or more a week, especially if the nanny has an excellent reputation. Like all things, the more expensive a nanny is, the better she probably is, in terms of taking care of a child. Keep that in mind when asking, How much does a nanny cost?
While nannies are often a great asset to parents, especially professional ones, one must exercise extreme caution when hiring a nanny.
In the 1990s, for instances, there were instances of alleged abuse by nannies against their wards (children). In one sad instance, an English nanny was put on the trial for the death of a child. And most recently, and very sadly, an American male nanny (male nannies are often referred to as "mannies"), wrongly confessed to the murder of Jon Benet Ramsay.
It goes without saying that when one asks, How much does a nanny cost?, the answer is found not only in monetary units, but in the love, affection, and care that the nanny is going to show a child. Ensure that before hiring a nanny, you acquire the nanny from a reputable firm (online searches and testimonials can be of a great aid here) and that this firm has done an extensive background check on the potential nanny.
Last, but certainly not least, trust your gut instincts: regardless of the nanny's qualifications and personality, if you do not feel comfortable with that nanny, ask your agency to produce another or find another reputable agency with which to work.
The life and happiness of a child knows no cost!