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COVID For Parents

The Rising Demand for Nannies During the Pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, parents had to scramble to find childcare as daycares, preschools, and elementary schools closed their doors. As a result, the demand for Nannies increased drastically. At the same time, families with existing Nannies extended their contracts in order to secure long term childcare, which in turn, slowed down the usual Nanny turnover rate, making available Nannies even more scarce. These factors are how the Nanny labour shortage began, so what’s been keeping it going over a year and a half later? Where are all the Nannies and what does the labour shortage mean for your family?

There are a number of reasons why families are still struggling to find a Nanny to care for their little ones. A few that we’ve encountered here at The Nanny Solution are: 

  • Many families acted quickly and either hired a Nanny at the onset of the pandemic or retained their existing Nanny. This took many professional childcare providers off the market early on.
  • Some former Nannies have made the decision to transition out of working in childcare during the pandemic, out of concern for both their own health and safety and their loved ones’. 
  • There are currently fewer Nannies available to work, as many of the Nannies in Canada are/were only here on two-year work visas. 
  • The majority of families only want to hire a Nanny that has been fully vaccinated, and unfortunately, not all Nannies are vaccinated. 

The demand for qualified, professional, fully-vaccinated Nannies is exceptionally high, while the supply is lower than ever. So, what does that mean for your Nanny search?

  • Expect to pay a higher wage. Nanny wages have soared as a result of the pandemic labour shortage, and we are seeing rates of $25 to $40 per hour across Canada.
  • Nannies may require medical benefits and/or additional paid sick days in their contracts. You can also expect to see a COVID-19 clause in the contract.
  • Nannies’ roles have changed over the past couple of years, as parents have transitioned to working from home and many children are attending school from home as well. These changes require increased communication, flexibility, and boundaries, as well as appropriate compensation. 

All that being said, if you’re just beginning your Nanny search, or if you’re coming to the end of your contract and trying to decide whether to hire a new Nanny or not, don’t get discouraged! There are still wonderful Nannies out there who are looking for work. It may take a little extra patience to find the right one for your family, but the peace of mind that comes with having safe, reliable, professional childcare is well worth it! 

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COVID For Parents

It’s Time to Check In with the Nanny

 

It’s not an easy time to be a Nanny! The ongoing global pandemic is creating unique challenges for professional childcare providers, which is leading to high rates of burnout and mental health struggles among those in the field. Nannies’ roles have changed drastically in order to abide by social distancing measures. They are now expected to be teachers helping children learn in their virtual classrooms; quiet coworkers and behavior management experts for parents who are working from home; and endlessly creative in coming up with new activities and projects to do with children while libraries and playgroups are closed. While they are dealing with the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic themselves, they are also the ones helping children cope with the confusion and feelings of loss associated with the “new normal”. Nannies are doing all of this — and more — without the usual support of their other Nanny friends and, often, without any additional praise or financial compensation from their employers. It’s no wonder they are feeling overwhelmed, under-appreciated, and undervalued! 

Families, it’s time to check in with the Nanny! Make a genuine effort to find out how they’re doing — how they’re really doing. Discuss ways to better support them. Show that you appreciate them, in any way you can. Keep communicating and checking in on a regular basis. Let them know they can be open with you and ask for additional support. They’ve been there for you and your children throughout the pandemic — show them that you’re there for them too. After all, we’re all in this together! 

* Thank you to Nanny Care Hub (Nanny Care Hub website, Facebook) for reminding all of us here at The Nanny Solution and Nannies on Call just how important it is to show the Nannies that we care! You have inspired us to write this post and to check in with the wonderful Nannies in our lives.

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COVID For Nannies

For Nannies: Practicing Gratitude During the Pandemic

 

These days, it’s easy to get caught in a spiral of negative thoughts. With all that’s going on in the world — a global pandemic, the tense political climate, racially-based violence, increased financial stress, a general feeling of uncertainty, we could go on and on — it’s hard to feel optimistic. That’s why now, more than ever, it’s important for us to practice gratitude and recognize the silver linings hiding in those big, dark clouds. Whether you simply have moments of silent reflection to think about the things that you are grateful for or you actively write in a gratitude journal each day, practicing gratitude can be both cathartic and healing. We have put together a list of a few things that Nannies have to be grateful for to help you get started.

Your own health
Be grateful that you are strong and in good health. Say “thank you” to your body for all it does and all it has gone through over the years.

Family and friends
Whether they live in the same household as us or we’ve only seen them over Zoom in the past 8 months, our family and friends are what’s really getting us through this. Their ongoing support, words of encouragement, shoulders to cry on, and moments of laughter are something to be grateful for.

Your Nanny family
Many families are also facing financial hardships and uncertainty, yet they still see the value in having you on as their Nanny. Have gratitude for the parents for continuing to employ you during this time when so many others have lost their source of income. Thank the little ones as well — for the joy, wonder, and curiosity they continue to bring into your life.

The gift of time
Without all of the usual social obligations and everyday responsibilities, many of us have more time on our hands than ever before. We are able to do things that we wouldn’t normally have time for — organizing, DIY projects, hobbies, reading, learning new skills, catching up on our Netflix watch list, and so on. Sometimes it may feel like all we have is time, but when we reflect on the alternative, we realize that this is actually something to be thankful for.

Less social pressure
Homebodies rejoice! Is there a better excuse to decline a social invitation than a global pandemic? We don’t think so. Your introverted side is grateful for the opportunity to recharge and engage in some self-care.

Self-reflection
These past 8 months have given us the time to sit back and really figure out what’s important in life. We’ve gained insight and clarity, allowing our priorities to shift. If you’re finding that you’re not sweating the small stuff as much as you did before, be grateful for this increased time for self-reflection.

Creativity
The societal changes and restrictions we’ve had to adapt to these past few months have forced us to get creative and find new ways of doing things. Have gratitude for our collective creativity and imagination!

The benefits for our planet
The earth says “thank you” and we should feel grateful too. Less emissions means we’re reducing our global carbon footprint, making the air cleaner for all. In some parts of the world, coral reefs are actually starting to grow again. Venice’s waterways are cleaner than they’ve been in decades. Our planet is slowly starting to heal and that is something to be incredibly thankful for!

Solidarity
The message everywhere is “we’re all in this together”. People are coming together to help each other out, we’re showing appreciation for our essential workers, and we’re finding that we are stronger and our voices are louder when we stand together. Have gratitude for the solidarity that we are demonstrating.

The Nanny Solution by Nannies on Call team is grateful for YOU, our wonderful Nannies who have stood by us through these difficult times. We truly wouldn’t be here today without you. Thank you!

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COVID For Nannies

Nanny Interviews in a COVID World

 

Job interviews look a lot different today than they did just 9 months ago. Can you even imagine beginning an interview with a friendly handshake these days? We can’t either. That’s why The Nanny Solution has put together a list of helpful tips and things to be mindful of when interviewing for a Nanny position.

Be flexible with the format
It is still possible that the employer will request an in-person interview; however, these days it is more likely that they will decide to host the initial interview virtually (over Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Whatsapp, etc.). You may not be familiar with all these formats, but it is important to be flexible and willing to use a different app than what you’re accustomed to. Everyone has a different take on how they want to host an interview — view this as an opportunity to demonstrate how adaptable you are before the interview’s even begun.

Test your technology
Make sure you’re prepared and have tested out your technology prior to the interview. It is important to do a test login and ensure your video and audio works beforehand, as there can sometimes be technical errors. You certainly don’t want to be late for your interview because you can’t log in.

Find out the family’s social distancing rules
If the interview is taking place in person, be sure to communicate with the family beforehand and find out what their preferences and safety protocols are. For example: Will you be meeting inside or outside? Will you be able to safely social distance? Do they want you to wear a mask? To be on the safe side, you should always bring a mask and your own hand sanitizer with you, and wash your hands upon entering the home or other indoor space.

Day-to-day details
Similarly, you should also ask about the family’s preferences for the day-to-day in the job. Will you be required to wear a mask at work at all times or only while indoors? Do they allow you to leave the house or just stay on the grounds? Can you visit a park? What are their rules about where their child/children is/are allowed to go? What sort of interactions do they have with those outside their household? What are the rules with family members coming over or friends stopping by for a playdate? It is important for you to have all this information prior to working with the family, so that you’re all on the same page and understand each other’s comfort levels and expectations.

Define roles and discuss scenarios
This is especially important if you’re going to be placed with a family where the parents are working from home. You should discuss roles, boundaries, and scenarios you may encounter with the parents beforehand, and develop a mutual understanding of what your duties are, as well as where and when they can step in. For more in-depth information, take a look at our blog post with 4 helpful tips for Nannies with parents working from home.

Discuss the family’s social and travel plans
With the holidays fast approaching and travel restrictions constantly being added or modified, it is important to discuss the family’s social and travel plans during that time. Will they be having family members or guests staying with them? If they’re coming from out-of-town, will they be quarantining? You should disclose your holiday plans to the family as well, and make sure everyone is comfortable with the plans and protocols that are in place.

In addition to the interview
There are typically more steps involved in the interview process these days — and that is a good thing! If you met your potential employer virtually, it is also a good idea to meet the family in person before officially accepting the position. It is important to see the space that you will be caring for the child/children in and make sure it works for you. It will also give you the opportunity to interact with the child/children and ensure it’s a good fit. Lastly, ask for a working trial shift (this should be paid, with a prearranged time and wage paid out beforehand).

Have a strong contract
As always, you must have a strong contract in place. In these exceptional times, the contract should include a section regarding COVID, sick time, and what will happen in those circumstances. Some points to consider are: If you or the employer are having any COVID-like symptoms, you should be paid for the time taken off. Do they (or you) require a negative COVID test in order to go back to work? Remember, our Placement Managers are always here to help if you have any questions regarding your contract.

Finally, be prepared to discuss all the potential “what if…” scenarios. It is a strange time, but by communicating and discussing these things ahead of time, it will hopefully alleviate a lot of uncertainty and stress down the road.

Best of luck on your interviews and landing that great new job. Check out our YouTube video on 5 Tips for your Video Interview.

Stay safe!

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COVID For Nannies

Helpful Tips for Nannies with Parents Working from Home

 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Nannies rarely worked in homes where the parents were present during the day. Now, since offices have closed and many parents have transitioned to working from home full-time, it has become the norm, rather than the exception. This arrangement can present some challenges, particularly for Nannies who are used to having the parents be absent and prefer to work independently. We recognize that it is an adjustment, which is why we’ve put together a few helpful tips for Nannies placed in homes where the parents are also working.

Have a designated workspace

If the size and layout of the home allows, parents should set up a designated workspace that is separate from the main living area. This separation is beneficial for both the parents and children, as the parents can work without being distracted or interrupted throughout the day, and the children can have a better understanding of the distinction between work and family time. As a Nanny, this will also allow you more autonomy to look after the children without having the parents constantly monitoring and, potentially, micro-managing.

Establish roles and boundaries with parents

With parents being present in the home, there is a natural tendency for them to feel a sense of responsibility for tasks related to childcare. It is important to discuss boundaries with the parents and have a mutual understanding of what your duties are, as well as where and when they can step in. For example, if you are there to provide childcare from 8:00AM until 4:00PM, you are responsible for feeding the children breakfast, lunch, and snacks; doing indoor and outdoor activities with them; taking them to playgroup; etcetera. If the parent is working from home and wants to have some involvement during that time, it should be pre-determined and not interfere with the children’s routine. Does Mom may want to have lunch with the children each day while she takes her break? Great! This is easy to work into the children’s daily schedule. Having Mom pop in and say “hi” while you’re trying to put the two-year-old down for a nap? Not so great.

Manage behaviour

We have heard from countless parents that their children are on their best behaviour when they’re with other people, and they save their “challenging” side exclusively for their parents. This may not necessarily be true, but you can see what we’re getting at here — children are more likely to act out and demand attention when their parents are around, especially if they’re preoccupied with work. They may ignore your role as a Nanny and come back at you with “you’re not my mother” or throw temper tantrums if they’re not that articulate yet. This will certainly be a challenge, especially if it is a new working relationship or the parents have just recently transitioned to working from the home. You can prepare for this by familiarizing yourself with positive discipline methods and having proactive conversations with the parents about how they would like you to approach these situations.

Provide comfort and show compassion

Finally, it is important to keep in mind that this is a difficult, confusing time for everyone and especially for children. Be patient, show compassion, answer questions, provide comfort, and help them develop coping strategies. We don’t know when this pandemic is going to end and parents may be working from home indefinitely — we all need to be flexible and learn to adapt to the “new normal”.