The number one question I get as a Nanny Agency Owner is “Can I ask my nanny to help with housework?”. It is an excellent question and I’d love to shed some light on the subject.
First, always remember that a nanny that feels appreciated and valued will almost always be willing to lend a helping hand for extra things every once in awhile. When you set unrealistic expectations for your nanny and demand things from her outside of her normal duties she inevitably will become resentful and most likely will want to leave her employment. My advice is always to make sure she feels appreciated and valued, and never demand anything. Asking is always the best way to approach it, and make sure she knows that it’s okay for her to say no. Also keep in mind that micromanaging is never a good idea. Nannies should have direction, but they should also have some control and freedoms in order to have a happy work environment.
Secondly, you should always have a work agreement or nanny contract signed between both parties. This should be signed before employment begins, but it is never too late to instill one even years after employment. As a Nanny Agency, we are happy to help navigate this at any time. A work agreement should outline things like wages, taxes, hours, duties, sick days, and mileage compensation. When you have a solid work agreement with all expectations outlined ahead of time, it makes for a much smoother employment relationship.
Now thirdly, for the typical household expectations. Once you have a clear idea of how to approach household chores, and you have a clear expectation of outlining a work agreement we can tackle which responsibilities are appropriate to ask of your nanny and which ones are not. Standard household nanny duties include anything that relate directly to the children. These include tidying up any play areas, cleaning up after the kids in the kitchen for meals, sanitizing toys and or bottles, laundry for the children, loading/unloading the dishwasher, meal prep, and transportation to events and activities. These duties would be included in the nanny’s base pay wages.
Duties that would require an extra cash incentive are household expectations that are outside the scope of directly caring for your children but are not out of the question. Usually a $1-2 hourly raise is expected for these extra light housekeeping duties. These can include but are not limited to vacuuming, wiping down counters, sweeping/mopping, laundry for the rest of the family, etc. Most nannies are happy to lend an extra hand with some of these duties as long as the focus can still be on the children. So this would be great for a nanny that has a baby that takes a long nap, or kids that are in preschool for a few hours, or even kids that are old enough to pitch in and they can do the chores together! Just keep in mind that nannies do need breaks too. Just because they might have a few hours to spare doesn’t mean they should be busy every minute of that “spare time”. Make sure your nanny has some space and time to recharge and gather up her thoughts for the next round of activities. A nanny with no space or time to recharge will get burned out and nobody wants a burned out nanny!
Lastly I want to discuss household expectations that your nanny should never be asked to perform, even with an hourly raise. These duties would include any deep cleaning of the house such as scrubbing tubs or toilets, washing windows, cleaning up after dogs in the backyard, etc. These duties fall under the responsibility of a housekeeper. The only exception would be if you are willing to pay your nanny a housekeeper’s salary on top of her nanny salary and only if the nanny is willing and able to accommodate those tasks. Otherwise they should not be asked of your nanny.
Remember, a nanny is a household employee who is there to bond and engage with your children. If her tasks are greatly outside of the scope of childcare, her focus will be pulled in many directions and that can be stressful! Make sure all tasks are outlined and agreed upon ahead of time in your Work Agreement, make sure any extra duties are compensated fairly, and refrain from requesting deep cleaning duties. And most importantly, showing value and appreciation goes a long way! If you have any questions feel free to contact our Agency for further details, thanks so much!