The Duke and Duchess’s nanny, Maria Borrallo, has been tagged the ‘child whisperer’ following the royal wedding at the weekend.
Employing a nanny need not break the bank if the parents are careful in how they manage them.
The benefits to parents are huge, especially when the mother returns to work after maternity leave, not just on a physical level but also emotionally.
Nanny/educators are proactive carers who provide personalised care to children in their own home and can be live-in or live-out. Babies up to three months old should have a nanny who is a newborn care specialist as they have additional qualifications.
“Knowing that a qualified professional nanny is looking after your child or children while you’re at work is really liberating,” said Louise Dunham, a pioneer of the in-home childcare industry and CEO of Placement Solutions.
“Parents have confidence that their most precious assets are under the best of care, being educated and having fun.”
It’s been reported* that Prince William and Catherine’s nanny, Maria Borrallo, is teaching Charlotte Spanish, whilst George can already count up to ten in the language.
“That’s a bonus,” said Ms Dunham. “All nannies have a wide range of educational abilities that they use to teach their charges, but a second language is an extra advantage.”
Most parents face childcare issues, even if they have their child’s grandparents looking after them for one or two days a week.
It’s worthwhile knowing that a nanny/educator can be employed just one day a week on a permanent or casual basis and can even be shared with another family to halve the childcare costs.
Some parents are eligible for childcare rebates when employing a nanny/educator, which also helps defray the cost.
Combined nanny/household manager
“If you’d like the carer to do more than look after the children, parents can opt for a combined nanny and household manager who is able to help with things like meal preparation, washing and ironing, shopping, light cleaning, pet-walking and organising things that parents don’t have time for or would rather not do,” Ms Dunham said.
“If one or more children are starting back at school, either a nanny/educator or combined nanny/household manager can be involved in the drop off and pick up if they are under 12, which can ease the stress for working mums and dads. If children are over 12, a household manager can perform this task.”
Using nanny sharing or multi-care for in-home childcare is simple but Ms Dunham recommends families find another family that shares the same values and ideally has the same aged children.
Parents looking for quality in-home childcare service should investigate the options for a quality nanny/educator as they may actually be able to afford it.
Must be employed legally
Families who employ a nanny/educator or household manager need to ensure it is done legally, which means the person has to have tax taken out, superannuation paid and they receive holiday pay and sick pay.
An agency is usually preferred to organise this as they not only handle the wages, but also find and vet suitable candidates.
When selecting a nanny/educator, Placement Solutions’ advises choosing one who has at least three years’ childcare experience and demonstrable expertise
“In-home childcare is a profession not just a job. A nanny/educator’s role involves being 100 per cent present and in the moment for the child/children they are looking after.
“Children rely on this active presence and engagement; it’s how young humans learn and develop. They rely on all their carers to be hyper-vigilant, enthusiastic and above all, kind,” Ms Dunham said.
About Louise Dunham
Louise Dunham is CEO of Placement Solutions, a Melbourne-based firm, specialising in nanny placement, which she established in 1988. She is also the founder and CEO of Just Family Nanny Payroll and Nurture Training College, an RTO providing formal nationally accredited qualifications in Early Childhood Education and Care.
Louise served as Chair of the Ethics Board of the International Nanny Association (INA) for five years, and most recently as INA’s Vice President and was the first non-American to be on the Board. Formerly she was VP of the Australian Home Childcare Association.
Louise was on the steering committee that wrote the Australian National Interim In-Home Care Standards and she was instrumental in the development of the Working with Children Check in Victoria.
Placement Solutions was the first agency of its kind to implement a Child Protection Policy, which was the first to be approved by Child Wise for the prevention of child abuse.
Louise is a passionate advocate for the need for nannies to be recognised as childcare professionals, to be paid legally and have a valuable role to play in the childcare sector.
She is the author of State of the Nanny, a clear-eyed assessment of today’s nannying industry and its potential for improvement.