Friday, November 21, 2014

Live-in vs. Live-out Help: Which is the Better Option For You?

When working full time, your hired help will add to your support structure, relieving you of some of the weight of everyday responsibilities that come with running a household and taking care of children. An important question to consider is whether you prefer live-in or live-out help, and agencies such as Household Staffing can help you determine these needs. Here are some things to think about when weighing those options:

Live-in Help One thing you should keep in mind when hiring live-in help is that you should clearly define pay and hours right off the bat. You shouldn't think of your nanny or housekeeper as being “on call” at all hours of the day, and you should discuss overtime pay in the event they exceed their hours. Just like you, they should have their off time and daily breaks. Remember—giving a housekeeper a bedroom does not mean you can pay them less in exchange for living arrangements. Will you provide them with a car for work purposes—or at the very least, reimbursement for gas money? You want to keep in mind that while your help is there to support you, they are not there to serve you.

Live-out Help Live-out help is another legitimate option that might work better for your family. Once your help is off the clock, they leave your house. The lines are more clearly defined and there is less room for confusion between employer and employee. You want to foster a good relationship with the person who will be working in your home. If they are happy, they are more likely to do a better job! 

For more information about hiring click here, or visit our website at

Friday, November 7, 2014

What to Think About When Hiring a Nanny

Maybe you need part-time help during the summer months, or maybe you need to hire a full-time nanny once your maternity leave ends.  The interview is one of the most important steps in finding the right childcare.  Ask the personal questions, just be careful to keep your questions legal. Many people consider hiring a agency such as Household Staffing to handle situations like this.  We’ve listed some helpful tips below:

Have a clear understanding of what your needs are before you go into the interview. Do you need someone simply for childcare?  Would adding household duties help you when you come home from a busy day at work?  Communicate your needs and desires, and never assume the person you are interviewing can read your mind.  It is always helpful to write a bullet list of your job duties so that you can address them in the interview.

First Impressions. The general rule is that you shouldn’t always go by first impressions, but this is a case in which you should absolutely trust your instincts.  If you don’t get good vibes from the person you’re interviewing, move on.  However, if you want to give someone a chance, consider a trial period with you present in your home.

Getting To Know You and Your Child. Your candidate should also be equally curious about you and your children.  Do they ask appropriate questions?  If you have a nonverbal toddler, for example, do they ask you questions about about your child’s moods, allergies, tendency towards separation anxiety, or favorite playtime activities?  Simple questions like these show that the nanny has experience in dealing with children in that age range.

Respect for Rules and Values. Don’t expect the impossible from a person, but your nanny should be willing to adhere to the rules and family values you set in your home.  Be equally respectful in asking your candidates questions like these—they have their own way of doing things—but you want to be sure that the person you hire will respect you in your absence.

Defining the Job: Appropriate Pay, Contracts, Hours, and Responsibilities. These may feel like uncomfortable topics to discuss, but you both want to understand each other’s expectations for the job.  You want to begin your relationship on a good note.  Better yet, put it in writing to avoid potential future problems. For more information about hiring a nanny click here, or visit our website at

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What You Should Know Before Your Nanny Schedules Her First Play Date

Play dates can build your child’s self-esteem, improve their skills at interacting with others, and help your nanny make new friends.  Not only does it break up the day for your children, but it gives your nanny a bit of a break as well and a chance to socialize with people her own age. These are wonderful benefits, but as a working parent removed from the situation, you think through some steps that will help you feel more comfortable.

  • Wait until your nanny has worked for you for at least three months. When you hire a new nanny, you will likely need to feel out the situation to see if it is working for both of you. By the end of the trial run, you will feel confident in her abilities to care for your child within the context of a play date.

  • Talk to the parents of the potential play date children first.  If your nanny is meeting up with another nanny, you’ll probably want to have a quick phone conversation with the other set of parents. Understanding who the parents are and also their thoughts about their nanny will help you feel more comfortable.  Don’t be afraid to ask detailed questions such as, how did they find their nanny and her references. You also want to make sure your nanny knows everything about the children.  For example, if the children have allergies, you may want to insist your nanny goes to their house, or only schedules play dates with those children outside of your home. 

  • Talk to your nanny about the rules for bringing play dates into your home. If you’re not comfortable with in-home play dates, it is perfectly fine to ask her to find ways to connect with new friends outside of the home. Visiting a local museum, library, or playground are all great options. Communication is key here because your can only uphold your rules if she knows what they are. 

  • Praising children for being good hosts is the best way to reinforce positive behavior you’d like to see them repeat. Share this philosophy with your nanny, but also make sure she is comfortable reminding your children about what is acceptable behavior when they play with new friends. The occasional meltdown over sharing toys, rude or inappropriate behavior, or dealing with other disagreements are a natural part of developing social skills among children.  Your nanny should feel comfortable reinforcing your style of discipline even if it differs from that of the other children at the play date. 

  • Trust your nanny’s judgment, but also your own. Does your child’s new friend use bad language, or constantly watch TV when you have a stricter policy?  Make sure you follow up with your nanny and ask her how the play date went.  We all have off days, and so you shouldn't think one bad afternoon tells you everything you need to know about the other kid. But issues that keep coming up over a period of time suggest a pattern of behavior that needs to be watched and reevaluated.  You invested time and energy hiring a nanny with good judgment, so she should be able to provide you with an accurate assessment of a play date.  As the parent, asking detailed questions will help you feel comfortable as well.  Asking your nanny questions also helps you learn about the positives of your child’s newfound friends and can be a great way for you to engage your child at dinnertime or bedtime.

For more information about hiring click here, or visit our website at

Monday, October 27, 2014

What To Do When Your Child Wants to Trick-or-Treat With the Nanny, Not You

From making costumes, picking out candy, and helping your kids turn your home into the scariest haunted house on block, you may find you enjoy Halloween even more as an adult. However, what happens when your child wants to go trick-or-treating with the nanny instead of you?  While you work your full-time 9 to 5 job each week, your child likely spends most of his/her waking hours with the nanny.  You feel your nanny is irreplaceable—you have a great relationship with her, and so does your child. And believe it or not, something like this is a common problem in households. So how do you respond when your child wants to trick-or-treat with the nanny instead?

It is understandable that your feelings may be hurt.  Most importantly, take a step back and a deep breath.  Don’t react out of emotion and risk damaging this very important relationship you value.  Remind yourself: this is the best problem I could have. I’ve gotten exactly what I wanted, a nanny my child adores and someone who gives me peace of mind when I’m not home.

Here are some practical ways you can save your relationship and Halloween:
  • Pull the Nanny Aside First
    Explain to your nanny your detailed plans for Halloween.  Share with her what your expectations are for her involvement.  Say things like, “I would love for you to be involved in our family’s Halloween celebration.  Could you help my child make treat bags for the trick-or-treaters?  Could you get her dressed in her costume and start taking some pictures before I get home?” It would also be helpful to write out a schedule for your nanny with approximate times and lists of activities.  Presenting the schedule in a positive way is key.  Say, “I will try to make it home from work early, but since this is an important holiday for the kids, I wrote out a schedule so everything can run smoothly.”  Make sure you include who is responsible for what activity.

    For Example:
    • 4:15 p.m.-4:45 p.m. Give the kids an early dinner (Nanny)
    • 4:45 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Dress kids in Halloween costumes (Nanny)
    • 5:30 p.m.-5:45 p.m.  Take kids next door to the Millers while we’re getting changed from work (Nanny)
    • 5:45 p.m.-8ish  Mom and Dad take kids trick-or-treating

    If both parents want to take the kids trick-or-treating, ask the nanny if she wouldn't mind handing out candy.  Make sure, however, that she is willing to do so and that you pay her extra for her time.  It is a small price to pay to keep your relationship going and the gesture lets her know she is valued.  Handing out candy is not considered part of a nanny’s job description.  Small, kind gestures like this go along way in keeping a relationship strong.

  • Talk to Your Child With Patience and Understanding
    It may not be necessary to talk to your child, but if he/she continues to ask about the nanny coming along you shouldn't avoid the question.  Perhaps say something along these lines: “We are so glad you love our nanny.  We love that you want to include her in our family’s Halloween celebration.  She will be helping you pack candy bags, getting you dressed in your costume, and taking you to a few houses.  Mommy and Daddy also are looking forward to being a part of the celebration and will take you trick-or-treating as well.”

    Good nannies know why they are there: to step aside and let you get the moments you crave with your child.  Just know that your nanny has come to love your child and vise-versa.  Letting your nanny be a part of the celebration doesn't take you out of the equation.  Your child will feel loved and enjoy spending time with all the people who love him/her. Remember, Halloween is not just a day, it’s season.  You can assure your child that the nanny can participate in other Halloween-related events, such as outings to pick pumpkins, attending (and recording) their school plays while you’re tied up at work, choosing costumes, Halloween arts and crafts, and many more fun activities!

    While a problem like this can be tricky to navigate, it doesn’t have to be.  Your nanny can be as involved as possible in your child’s Halloween preparations, which help you tremendously during your busy schedule.  This is why you hired her!  You will then be able to enjoy Halloween night with your child, which is the absolute best part of the bargain.

    For more information about hiring click here, or visit our website at