Wondering how much to pay the newest “member” of your family?

Finding the person who fits with your family and your ever changing needs can be a long up hill battle. Once you’ve gone through the postings, phone calls, email, scheduling time for interviews and have found the “one,” the final step to securing happiness is making that offer. One wrong step here and it’s possible to see those dreams slip away.

Here are some guidelines and things to consider when it’s time to name a price and make and offer:

-What is the minimum wage for your state/city?

  • WA state as of Jan 1, 2018  is $11.50

-What is the average rate for child care near you?

  • Seattle rate average $17.49
  • Bellevue average $17.70

*A few miles can change expectations!!

-What experience does your future nanny come with?

  • Experience is gold in this field. With experience comes a wealth of knowledge that can benefit not only the child but the whole family. What’s that worth to you?

-What certificates and/or degrees do they have that relate to childcare?

  • CPR
  • 1st aid
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Behavior Technicians
  • Etc

-What responsibilities are expected of nanny?

  • When adding extras such as chores, errands, pets care or anything that exceeds strict childcare services it is recommended compensation be considered.

-Will additional benefits be offered on top of base pay such as insurance (car or health), sick pay, vacation time,  travel?

  • If so, these can be used as bargaining tools to find a good compromise between employee and employer.

-How are raises and/or performance reviews conducted? How often?

  • When coming to a pay rate both parties find acceptable, it’s wise to keep in mind the frequency of reviews and raises. Be up front and transparent about potential for wage increase. An exact number doesn’t need to be presented. The knowledge and assurance that a beginning wage has room to grow and time to discuss performance of job at a designated time often settles anxieties on both ends from the very beginning.

Best of luck on this adventure! We are just an email away if you’ve got any questions or road blocks you need help with along the way!



Thanks, Sis! or should I say”partner in crime?”

I am so blessed to have sisters. They are best friends, advisers, sounding boards, and confidants. I’ve recently been even more honored to begin business with one of these fabulous women.

I just wanted to send out a quick thank you to my sister and business partner, Staci. This weekend marks the first in many that we haven’t spent a few hours enjoying each others company. Whether for work or play, we have an amazing time together.

I hope you are recovering from the heart racing game this weekend, unwinding in your new space, and having almost as much fun as when we are together! You’re the best! Thank you for sharing this wild adventure with me, what an awesome gift!

What’s in a name? Au pair?

Alright, I’ve given an idea of what a mother’s helper, babysitter, and nanny are in previous posts and here is the finale…Au pair!

I’ll be honest, as I have a ton of personal experience in the first three names they were easy for me to address. Au pair is a name I had to learn about. I heard the term in books and movies but it wasn’t until I began my nanny career that I was face to face with a (gasp) real live au pair. I would run into people my age, doing what seemed to be the same thing as I was but they called themselves au pairs. I found this fascinating. What the heck was the difference between them and me?? I had to find out, after all, a name means a lot to most people. What was an au pair if not a nanny?

Well, here is the long and the short of it, they are pretty much the same thing with a few very key differences. Au pair means on “par,” a “visitor” who must acquire a specialized Visa and live with a single family caring for the children of said family for one year, acting as an equal in the family. While living in the home, an au pair would typically have quite similar tasks as a nanny such as household chores, childcare, and meal prep. Some families might like an au pair to teach their children the language and culture of the visiting au pair. Au pairs often work a slightly longer week, unless also involved in an education program paired with employment.

The income of an au pair is something I don’t fully understand. From a little internet research, it seems to me, that depending on how a family obtains an au pair for employment the rates change slightly. I was seeing government stipends, agency fees, reference to “type of visa.” If any one understands this part better then I, please please share it with me!! I’m just curious, is it as confusing as it seems on google search?

My best advice is to do diligent research if you go this route. It is easy to see that if one isn’t careful, the combination of “being part of the family” whilst still being professional could get blurred for the family and au pair. To ensure everyone is happy, the best way to enter into this sort of relationship is with as much clarity of needs and expectations beginning at the first stages. I find its always easier to avoid confusion by explaining up front, often very appreciated.



What’s in a name? part 3 (almost done!)

So…I got a little of track and distracted by the weekend and all that wonderful time in the kitchen and forgot to finish off this idea of childcare defined by it’s name, my apologies!

Today’s name is-NANNY!

With a nanny, your child care has grown up or graduated in terms of expectations, responsibilities, and commitment level. A nanny has finish high school but may still be pursuing further education leading to a varied schedule as well as a higher motivation for a steady income. Completion of school work during nanny hours are agreed upon by family and nanny, but may not be an option in all homes. A nanny is generally responsible for their own transportation to and from home.

A nanny becomes the right hand for parents when they are not home. Nanny task often extend beyond strictly childcare including but not limited to household laundry, meal prep, dishes, service appointments, errands, carpool, etc. The degree of involvement should be decided by parents upon hiring a nanny. Do you want this person to have access to your credit cards, fold your under garments, drive your children around, have a house key, drive your car? Is the task list a feasible one to accomplish while providing quality child care?

Most nannies are working full time and are expecting to have some what regular hours/income, it is important to be sure both the family and the nanny are in agreement to what a that looks like. A nanny may be willing to travel with a family or do an “overnight” -a couple days in home while parents travel for additional compensation and as a sub agreement.

A nanny can quickly become part of the family so it is wise to discuss how much interaction the family would like to have with nanny outside of work hours. Ponder this, would you want your nanny to attend sporting events/plays/concerts of your child? Being a volunteer chaperone at school? There is no right answer but may be something you’d like to consider!

A great nanny, is an amazing person. One full of energy, motivation, laughter, and endless ideas. Someone who will encourage growth and learning, who will help foster young minds to accomplish great things. They will be able to anticipate the needs of those around them, be full of compassion, patience, and understanding, and no knowledge of the meaning of “can’t.”


What’s in a name? cont.

Today’s name is babysitter!

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you hear “babysitter”? For me it’s a term I’ve heard nearly all my life but not because we frequently had one, with 3 older sisters I was well looked after…believe me.  I first became familiar with babysitting as a young reader who enjoyed reading the adventures of a certain club. Then my sisters started becoming babysitters. They would be gone for hours, making money then buying themselves clothes and make-up my parents wouldn’t splurge on (the ultra trendy, will be worn once but worth a months pay sort of things). That was exciting to watch, I wanted things too, but what exactly is a babysitter?

Here we go…

A babysitter tends to be young adults who are a little more independent and responsible. They are able to find their own transportation to and from jobs. They are looking for cash (immediate) and job experience/references. Often they are in school so available hours vary but lend themselves to afternoons and into early evening. With that in mind, many sitters will have homework they might want to work on with the child they are caring for as they complete their own or after children are in bed. Babysitters are responsible for well being and safety of children, regularly without adult supervision. Activities can be provided by parent or generated by sitter but usually do not require much travel outside of home/neighborhood. Babysitters might be asked to do light housekeeping (i.e. put dish into dishwasher, make snacks/dinner, pick up toys) however chores should be related to child and items used while sitter was “in charge.”

As each family unit varies greatly, it is helpful for the sitter to have very clear guidelines and expectations. Family rules, culture and routines should be followed and respected. It is up to each family to discuss and provide these to babysitter prior to leaving the house, and highly advised. What one family may find acceptable such as using cell phones, eating family food, and having friends over may be greatly frowned upon by another. As a babysitter, it is wise to ask as many questions prior to parents departure…better safe than sorry.

Shout out to all the babysitters! You all rock! You are needed, appreciated and help so many parents with sanity, marriage, and socialization…keep up the awesome work!

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name? What is the big deal and why do people care so much about their name? Like when you meet someone and before you even have a chance to forget their name, they tell you “my name is Jennifer…not Jenn, or Jenny…don’t call me anything but Jennifer!” Whoa, why so bothered? How many times have you introduced your self this way, I wonder. I’ve actually been overhearing this as my work place is on boarding new staff, during my time volunteering at the zoo, or just sitting at the local bar . I suppose since it’s pretty hard to shorten Laura, I find this whole thing slightly interesting and I obviously haven’t had the experience of those with long names but the all of it got me think, what’s in a name?

What does this have to do with anything relevant to nanny consulting you might being asking yourself (or shouting through your screen at me)…here’s how. If we consider names are also job titles, in the world of child care there are so many different titles people use: babysitter, mothers helper, nanny, au pair just to name a few.

It’s confusing for those looking to find the right fit for their families when you aren’t sure which “name” to use when on your search. Do you need help Monday-Friday 9-5? Do you want to be able to run a few errands in the afternoon and maybe a date night once a month? Do you need some one to help entertain your little one and fold some laundry while you unload the dishwasher? Or are you looking for some who can live in and is also fluent in another language or culture then English?  Finding your fit is as easy as remembering the right “name.”

This week I’m going to give you my spin on each of these different names/titles.

Today’s name to think about is Mother’s helper.

Mother’s Helper: Ideally, a neighborhood preteen looking for a little cash and babysitting experience. Not quite old enough to be left home alone with children but responsible enough to be in different parts of house/yard to allow parents time to do some chores, get dinner started, get into the garden, etc. Usually will need transportation assistance if beyond short walk to and from home. There are varying degrees of a mother’s helper, some can be left home alone during a quick errand to the store, or run around the block. This is up to the parents of all involved (the child who is being looked after and the helper’s) based on safety and comfort levels of both parties. This may be revisited as helper ages. Usually paid day of service or as arranged by parents.

*A mother’s helper could of course also be an adult but may be looking for less then part-time (think in school, has a desire for second job/additional income, retired but still active). Beyond that I would begin to consider said person to be more along the line of babysitter/nanny which “names” I’ll ponder later this week.