This Expert Column is sponsored by Not Just Babysitters
Family vacations may feel more like work than fun, especially if you have children of different ages. Many parents come back from a vacation more exhausted than they were before they left. Hiring a travel nanny can alleviate some of the stress and also allow parents to have some time alone together.
Why hire a travel nanny?
A travel nanny goes with you on vacation to provide care for your children. A vacation may be as short as a week or two but it may last much longer. If your children are of different ages with varying interests, hiring a nanny will allow you to have valuable one-on-one time with each one separately. It’s inevitable when traveling that certain activities, you enjoy are not suitable for children and having a nanny means you and your spouse can enjoy time together without having to worry.
The right nanny
A nanny will be spending time at close quarters with your family so it’s very important to have the right person who will fit in well with your family.
Some of the qualities you can expect from a top professional nanny are a love of children, organizational skills, communication skills, flexibility, trustworthiness and the ability to take initiative. It helps if they are friendly and full of fun too so that your children will enjoy being with them.
Being a great nanny often requires patience, stamina and the ability to remain calm under pressure so it’s not a job for the over-sensitive or faint-hearted.
For parents, having someone else care for their children is often stressful. A great nanny will understand this and work hard to establish trust.
Discuss your expectations
Your expectations as a client need to be discussed before you even think about packing your car or boarding a plane. Every family is different so communicating what you expect upfront is essential to prevent misunderstandings from occurring.
When hiring a travel nanny some of the issues that will need to be discussed include accommodation (will she sleep with the kids or have her own room?), daily routine (will she accompany you all over or stay with the children), eating times, and activities for the children.
Unless your budget is unlimited, you need to be very clear about what you expect when covering expenses for meals out and so on. You will need to figure out what you’re comfortable spending and spelling this out beforehand so there is no awkwardness when it comes to ordering.
It is also important to see how the nanny interacts with you and your children before going on vacation. You will be spending time in close quarters and you need to have someone who meshes with the family.
Once all the conditions have been discussed, putting it in writing is important. This will include hours, responsibilities, compensation, additional expenses you will be responsible for and details of the trip. In addition to the hourly wage, families usually pay for the nanny’s airfare, meals, accommodation and activities with the children or family.
If a nanny is required to work for more than 44 hours a week, she will need to be paid overtime. Your family may be on vacation but it is a job for her and if she has to work too many hours, she may get burnt out. She needs to have some time away from the children.
Rates for a nanny will depend upon factors such as her qualifications and experience, how many children she will have to look after, her responsibilities, your location, and specifications. Most families pay an hourly rate for the hours the nanny is on duty during the vacation. If a travel nanny is found through an agency, payment is made by the client to the agency and the agency then pays the nanny.
Discussion with the agency will determine how payment occurs. Sometimes a certain amount is paid in advance and the balance at the end. A highly experienced travel nanny does not come cheap because you are paying for peace of mind, knowing that your children are in the best possible hands.
A less expensive option is for you to leave your children at home with a nanny while you go away on a short break. You can always Skype or Facetime them while you are away and when they are being looked after by a top nanny, you will be back before they know it.
How to find a travel nanny?
The best way to find a travel nanny is to go through an agency. Top agencies make sure that all nannies go through an in-depth screening process. At “Not Just Babysitters” (NJBS) our nannies are no exception and we make sure we recruit the best and screen them thoroughly. The minimum requirements for a nanny employed by us are a college education, 5 years of childcare experience, great references and we conduct a comprehensive background check. We have face-to-face interviews with our nannies and they have to sign a contract and adhere to it. We have a track record of finding the best match between nannies and clients.