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For Parents

What should I give my nanny for Christmas?

We are flooded with calls around this time of the year, as parents wonder what the best gift is to give their Nanny. We understand that with inflation and the continued uncertainty of what the world has in store, many families are not in the same financial situation they were pre-pandemic. With this in mind, we have put together some suggestions for how to show your Nanny your appreciation this holiday season.

Remember, Nannies often see their holiday bonus as an evaluation of their worth and level of performance. Even if you can’t afford a lavish gift or substantial bonus this year, it’s important to show your Nanny how much you value them, especially during these challenging times. After all, they play an integral role in helping shape our children’s hearts and minds. 

If you can afford to give your Nanny a standard bonus, we typically suggest:

  • 1-2 weeks’ pay on top of a regular pay cheque, plus paid time off
  • Bonus pay and a personalised gift

If you are unable to give your Nanny a monetary bonus this year, here are some other suggestions:

  • Additional paid time off or an extra week of paid vacation
  • A gift card to retail, coffee, a restaurant, an event etc.  
  • Spa treatment package
  • A thoughtfully wrapped gift, or fill a stocking with several smaller gifts
  • Treat them to a nice dinner out 
  • Offer medical and dental benefits starting in January
  • Have your entire family film a ‘thank you’ video
  • Write a thoughtful holiday card
  • DIY gifts like arts and crafts made by the children
  • Wine and flowers

No matter what you decide, the important thing is to acknowledge and communicate how much you appreciate them, and to thank them for a job well done. 

Looking to hire a nanny? Contact us today!

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For Parents

Nanny Driving Your Kids? Steps to Help Ensure Safety

Nannies who have their own cars are high in demand!  When a Nanny uses his/her own car for work purposes, here are a few items to keep in mind:

  • The Nanny should keep a detailed log of the kilometres used for work and submit that log regularly (once a week, or once a month) to the employer.  This would include trips such as school runs, driving kids to activities, running errands for the family etc.
  • This log should include the date, the destination and how many kilometres were driven.  (Google Maps is a handy tool!) A simple notebook in the car is all that is needed, or there are also quite a few apps that can help track it.

The Parents should reimburse the Nanny for these kilometres at the rate set by Revenue Canada.  The current rate for reimbursement is $0.61 per km.

  • This reimbursement should not go on to the Nanny’s pay cheque as he/she should not have to pay tax on this amount.
  • The cost of getting to and from work is the Nanny’s own expense.

It is wise for the parents to provide an extra set of car seats that will remain permanently in the Nanny’s car so that the car seats are not being reinstalled each day.  This can be time consuming, but it is also a safety issue if they are not installed properly.

  • Be sure to alert the Nanny’s insurance provider that her car will be used for work as a nanny. They might advise for the Liability Insurance to be increased.

Alternatively, when the Nanny uses the family’s car to drive the children, the employers will pay for all gas and appropriate insurance.  Drive safely!

Interested in hiring a Driving Nanny? Contact us today.

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For Parents

How guaranteed hours work and why they are important to nannies

 

In the Nanny industry it is standard practice to guarantee a certain number of hours to your nanny per week (or month). This guarantee of hours is a standard term used in the nanny industry which states the number of hours per week (or month) that the nanny will be available for work and is usually equal to their typical weekly schedule (for example: if the nanny works 45hrs per week, the will receive a guarantee of 45hrs per week). Depending on what province you live in, there are different provincial overtime rules set in place. In BC for example, anything over 8hrs per day or 40hrs per week (whichever comes first) is considered overtime hours and the employee is entitled to time and a half.

Banking Hours: Some families will request that their nanny ‘bank’ time to make up unworked hours that they were paid under their guarantee. This should be agreed upon in advance so that there are no misunderstandings around vacation or sick time. As the ‘middleman’ between nanny and parents, we do not suggest this type of set up in a contract as it can get messy. Not only be confusing for both parties but it can cause strain on a relationship.

An example of banking is: The Williams family employ their nanny to work Mon – Friday 8am – 4pm with a guarantee of 40hrs a week. They decide that they will take a long weekend trip and will not need their nanny for Monday & Tuesday of next week. They will still pay their nanny as per their guarantee but the nanny will ‘owe’ them 16 hrs for future babysitting hours. They request their nanny to work her regular shifts Wed – Fri, but also work the following 2 Saturdays (8-4) without any further compensation, to make up the hours.

Again, deciding in advance whether your nanny will be asked to bank hours is extremely important when negotiating your contract. The details around the banking must be laid out also. How much notice will be given to your nanny for time when they are not needed? What is the maximum amount of time that he/she can have in their ‘bank’ at one time? Who is tracking these hours? Not setting this up correctly, can have a very negative impact on your nanny/family relationship if not handled correctly.

Nanny Perspective: They are ready, willing and able to work their normal schedule from Mon – Fri 8am – 4pm. The family choses not to use the nanny, and they have a guarantee clause in their contract which states that she will be paid. This is the choice of the family if they chose not to use the nanny during their regular working hours and nannies generally feel that they shouldn’t be penalized for the decision of their employer. This can cause hostility if the nanny feels that they are always the ones bending on what was agreed upon regarding guarantees.

Banking time is a money saving for the parents but asking your nanny to complete overhaul their availability and not being mindful of the fact that they have a life outside their nanny role, may mean she walks!

Our advice; if you value your employee and are conscious of their work-life balance, you will soon find out that banking time is not the key to a successful relationship with your nanny. Keeping a record or logging who ‘owes’ what will only flaw the relationship if the nanny feels undervalued for not being paid for work outside their regular hours. Stick to the guarantees in the contract and be as detailed as possible from the get go. There is always room for give and take in any relationship, but be sure to be openly communicate any changes and don’t expect them to make up time.

If you do wish to bank hours, we strongly suggest having a cap of hours in a bank (this should never exceed a full week’s guarantee of hours) as well as a common schedule that is used to track what is worked and what is owed. You should give your nanny at least 2 weeks advance notice and the ‘option’ of when they can make up the time. Remember that they have a life outside the job!

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For Parents

Should you bring your nanny on vacation?

Your vacation is supposed to be a stress-free experience. Bringing a nanny along can be the key to not only a stress-free vacation, but also one where the children are tended to while you and your spouse are able to enjoy some alone time, too. However, to ensure that your vacation is as wonderful as it should be, you will need to sit down with your spouse and your nanny prior to leaving and work out all of the minor details so that everyone is on the same page.

THE DILEMMA – TRAVEL EXPENSES

Payment Terms

You will be responsible for paying for the nanny’s room and travel expenses. In addition, meals should be considered, too. If you are staying in a hotel without a kitchen, meals will cost more than regular cook-at-home meals that the nanny is used to purchasing and making. These are certainly all topics of conversation that should be discussed prior to leaving for the vacation. You can elect to bring the nanny along while you eat out or you could provide her with a daily stipend for meals, but make sure that the stipend is fair and will feed her enough food for the area that you are staying in.

THE DILEMMA – THE NANNY’S SCHEDULE

Quite often, parents will feel that a nanny should be thankful for the opportunity to take a trip to a beautiful, luxurious place and will work as many hours as the parents demand. Unfortunately, this misunderstanding causes unhappy nannies, children and parents and may ruin vacations. Discussing the schedule and making plans ahead of time with the nanny will dispel any miscommunications and ensure a much happier and enjoyable vacation.

Schedule/Routine

You need to make sure that the nanny completely understands that although she is coming along with you on vacation, she is still on the clock, working. You also need to understand that she cannot be expected to be on the clock for the entire vacation. A routine or schedule must be made prior to the vacation and then you should come up with a way to ensure that this routine or schedule is adhered to.

For example, if your vacation is a week long and your nanny’s regular scheduled hours are from 7am to 4 pm, but you and your spouse would like to go out to dinner two nights during your vacation, you will need to come up with a compromise. Maybe you could give her a few hours off during the afternoon of those particular days so that she gets a break and then you and your spouse could enjoy two nice evenings alone without children.

If you expect her to work a few extra hours while you are enjoying your vacation, you could offer her a spa treatment, a surfing lesson, a min-gym membership or a special luncheon as a “bonus” for the extra hours worked. However, if you expect her to work more than just a few extra hours, you will want to discuss the schedule and overtime pay prior to going on vacation.

THE DILEMMA – ACCOMMODATION

To share a room or to get separate rooms? Some nannies will have no problem sharing a room with the children; however there are others who want to have the evenings “off” unless they are being reimbursed for overtime.

Sleeping Arrangements

Prior to the vacation, you will need to discuss the sleeping arrangements that you are planning to provide for the nanny. You will also need to discuss whether or not you plan to pay overtime if the nanny is expected to stay in the same room as the children. You will also want to take into consideration whether the children are sleeping through the night or not. If you have younger children who frequently wake during the night, they may want mom or dad, but if you have older children who sleep through the night and you participate in the bedtime routine, the nanny may not have a problem at all sharing a room with the children.

Discussing the schedule and the arrangements that you plan for your vacation will ensure that your family and your nanny are able to enjoy your vacation completely. Be sure to ask your nanny if she has any questions or concerns in order to clear up any miscommunications prior to travel.

Enjoy your trip!

The Nanny Solution can help find a travel nanny for your next vacation. Contact us now!

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For Parents

Why nannies are NOT independent contractors

After searching for the perfect nanny, how are you going to pay them?

In determining the nanny’s status as an employee or as an independent contractor, Canada Revenue Agency does the following tests:

  1. Control: Are you specifying the work to be done? Are you specifying the working hours and are you reviewing the work that was done?
  2. Tools & Equipment: Are you retaining the right of use over the tools and equipment that the nanny uses for the work? Are you supplying the necessary equipment for the nanny to use to care of the children (e.g. high chair, crib, stroller) when the nanny is at work?
  3. Financial Risk: Are you reimbursing the nanny for costs of children activities (e.g. entrance fee for zoo, Science World or a play group)? Are you reimbursing the nanny for the costs of transportation during work time?
  4. Integration: Do you have a continuous relationship with the nanny?

If you answered “NO” to all of the above questions, your nanny is an Independent Contractor. They must supply you with an invoice and you pay them the amount that is on the invoice.

If you answered “YES” to any of the above questions, your nanny is deemed as your Employee and you are the Employer.  This is regardless of whether your nanny is full time, part time, live in or live out.

As an Employer you are responsible for providing a contract of employment for your employee. You have the right to choose the nanny/worker, and set the terms and conditions of employment. You are also responsible for making sure those terms and conditions meet the conditions required under the province’s Employment Standards Act.

Payroll requirements as an employer:

 

  • You must register for a business number with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)
  • You must provide your nanny with a wage statement (also known as a pay stub) detailing the number of working hours, salary rate and other requirements
  • You must remit payroll withholding taxes to CRA. This includes the nanny’s income tax, CPP (Canada Pension Plan), EI (Employment Insurance) and the employer’s portion of CPP and EI
  • You must provide a T4 to your nanny at the end of each fiscal year and file your T4 summary to the CRA by the deadline. Should you file late, you will be penalized a late fee starting at $100 and then $10 per day after that, up to $1000
  • You must provide a Record of Employment to the nanny when employment is concluded
  • Employers must keep payroll records including the Nanny’s name and date of birth, date the employee started work, wage rate, hours worked each day, amount and type of benefits, gross and net wages, amount and purpose of each deduction, dates statutory holidays were taken, the amount of pay earned, dates of annual vacation, and the amount of vacation pay earned. These records must be kept at the employer’s residence or a payroll company, for six years after the worker’s employment ends.
  • You may have to register for Workers’ Compensation coverage for the nanny
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For Nannies For Parents

The Nanny Annual Review: What It Is & Why It’s Important

If your nanny has worked with you for more than a year, it’s time to seriously consider scheduling an annual review with them. Over the course of the year, your nanny has had time to settle into her role and develop a routine to accomplish her responsibilities and meld into the daily schedule of the family. Although they may feel like a part of the family at this point in time, they are still a professional who deserves to hear input on how they are handling their job from their employer.

Scheduling the Review

While some families choose to hold the annual review on their nanny’s anniversary, other families decide that the beginning of the year is a good time to schedule the discussion. After the holidays, the excitement has worn down, and there’s a fresh new feeling that people get about the New Year. Resolutions are made, and people seem more open to new ideas, so it seems like a good time to many families for reviewing the past year and thinking about how to approach the New Year with their nanny.

Talk to Your Nanny Before the Meeting

Tell your nanny that you would like to reflect on the past year with them, and try not to make them feel like they are in trouble. Tell them that they can bring a list of their own thoughts of the past year, including what has worked and what hasn’t. They can also write down things they have struggled with and their possible ideas for solutions. Also, be sure to let them know that if they have any ideas about moving forward in the future that could be useful, to write them down, too. Explain briefly that you feel like they deserve, as an employee, to have an annual review; this will help them understand that they are not being reviewed as a family member or friend.

Write Down Your Ideas

Before the meeting, you are going to want to write similar lists, too. This is a wonderful opportunity for you and your nanny to discuss her performance, starting with praise for their accomplishments and effort throughout the past year. You can highlight some of the moments when their helping hand really made a positive impact on the family. This is also a great time for you to let your nanny know where you think they could make improvement or restructure their position.

The Review

Be sure to set aside enough time to discuss ideas at length and iron out any issues that you talk about with your nanny – at least an hour should be marked on your schedule. The review should be held at a time when the children are at school or not at liberty to be a distraction. You should start with saying something positive at the beginning of the review, and give your nanny the complements that she deserves.

Then, progress to constructive criticism for the areas where you think they need to improve. Allow your nanny to provide her feedback about your concerns and discuss her concerns as well at this point in time. Air out all of the issues, even the little bitty issues, and iron the details out so that you can both approach the future with common goals. This is also a good time to ask your nanny if they have any concerns or suggestions for the year ahead. How can things run more smoothly? Nannies can be super-creative – you may be surprised at their ideas.

Compensation for a Good Year?

There are mixed feelings on attaching raises or changes to compensation packages to the annual review. Some families feel like their nanny shouldn’t expect to receive a raise at the annual review, while others feel like their nanny deserves one due to the rise in the cost of living. Only you can decide which is right for you and your nanny; you are not obligated to raise their salary.

Of course, if you feel like your nanny goes above and beyond for you and your family, and they would be irreplaceable, giving them a raise would be a great way to say “thank you”. If you want to thank your nanny in the form of compensation, but cannot squeeze another penny out of the budget at the time, you can add more vacation time to their package or offer a stipend for health care.

Establishing an annual review will set the stage for future reviews and your nanny will keep in the back of her mind that they are performing a job and want to look forward to positive and promising reviews in the future.

Categories
For Parents

How much does a nanny cost in Toronto?

 

Quality nannies in Toronto are typically earning $25-35+ gross per hour.  This rate will depend on what qualifications and experience the nanny has and what the job entails. Do you require a lot of flexibility from the nanny?  Do you require the nanny to have any specific skills (ex. an educational background, driving, language skills, any specific training etc)?

On top of the nanny’s gross wage, the employer must factor in an additional fee to cover the employer’s portion of Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI) and Workers Compensation.   This is roughly an additional 10%.

A few other expenses to keep in mind are:

  • overtime – if you hire a nanny for 44+ hours per week, the nanny is entitled to time and half.
  • a payroll company if you choose to hire one to take care of the payroll.  This is not a requirement but it’s a huge stress reliever!
  • an agency fee if you choose to use an agency to help you with the search.

 
The pandemic has really changed the nanny industry and the demand for in-home childcare has risen dramatically.  And, as in all industries, it is currently really hard to find quality employees with the labour shortage.  As such, the rates for the nannies have skyrocketed.  Our recommendation is to be prepared to pay a competitive rate, advertise with the top of your budget in mind and act quickly if you meet a nanny you like.

Need help hiring a nanny? Contact us today!

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For Parents

Do I have to give my nanny vacation time?

There are many questions surrounding employing a nanny and vacation allowance.  Kate McGeachin, a Placement Manager at Nannies on Call answers 5 of the most commonly asked questions.

Do I have to allow my nanny to take vacation?

Yes.  Nannies have the same rights as employees in any other industry. Employees are entitled to a minimum of 4% vacation per year (4% is the equivalent to 2 weeks vacation). Most Nannies get anywhere from 2 – 6 weeks paid vacation. 

If my Nanny only works part time, is she entitled to vacation?

As employees, Nannies are entitled to paid vacation whether or not they are full time or part time employees and whether or not they are permanent or temporary.  They are entitled to a minimum of 4% of their gross earnings for the year which is the equivalent to 2 weeks.  

If your Nanny works for you 3 days per week, in this case one week is the equivalent to 3 days (not 5) and therefore your Nanny can take a minimum of 6 days of paid vacation per year (not 10).

Our family is going away for 3 weeks over the summer and 2 weeks at Christmas and we won’t need the Nanny to work.  Do we have to pay our nanny for this time?

Employment Standards does not require you to pay her for hours not worked, but we strongly recommend that you do.  This is the number one complaint we hear from our Nannies.  If the Nanny is willing and able to work, and you can not provide her with work, we feel that she should be paid.  The Nannies rely on a steady income and if they are scrounging to make ends meet at the end of the month, they will be forced to quit and seek a new job that can guarantee a steady paycheque.

Can I decide when my nanny takes her vacation? 

Employers are able to dictate when an employee takes vacation.   However, please remember that things come up in the Nanny’s personal life that are very important to her. You will have a very unhappy Nanny on your hands if she has to miss out on her best friend’s wedding or a family reunion.  As much as possible, allow her to choose her vacation.  If not, you can ask her to take these days as unpaid if you have allotted other times in the year for her vacation. 

My Nanny has asked to take vacation but she has only just started working with us.  What should I do?

If your Nanny has been employed for a short time, she wouldn’t have worked long enough to accrue enough days to cover the amount of days she would like off.  We don’t recommend giving her an advance for her vacation pay.  If she quits or is let go, and if she hasn’t worked long enough to repay her vacation, you are not allowed to deduct it from her final pay. You could either tell her that she isn’t able to take vacation until she has accrued it, or allow her to take as unpaid leave.  

If she has accrued it, we feel that she should be entitled to take it. 

Kate McGeachin has been matching nannies and families for 8 years.  She lives in Vancouver with her husband and her daughter.  When she is not camping, skiing or biking, she is scouring the internet looking for the latest vegetarian gluten free recipes. 

 

 

Categories
For Parents

Eight Steps to Hire the Perfect Nanny

You are about to put the livelihood of your children into the hands of someone that you do not know, and for most parents, hiring a nanny is an overwhelming process. Ultimately, you want to find someone whom you can trust to provide the best care for your children while you are away. If you follow these steps during your nanny search, you can ensure your chances of finding the perfect nanny for your family.

Establish the needs of your family

Make a list of requirements that are important to you. This can include personality traits, specialized skills, amount of experience, age and education and training. You will also want to take into consideration the scheduling requirements, salary and benefits that you are willing to pay, the responsibilities that the nanny will be expected to handle and what types of discipline the nanny will use.

Create a job description

Just like a business would create job descriptions for their employees, you will want to type up a one-page job description that entails all of the nanny’s duties. This will not only be helpful to share with potential candidates and nanny agencies, it can also help you come up with interview questions and lay the foundation for the employment agreement.

Advertise the position

If you are thinking about going through a reputable nanny agency, you will certainly reduce a lot of the legwork of performing the search for that perfect nanny. However, if you want to find a nanny on your own, you can type up a condensed version of your job description and advertise the position in the local newspaper, online and/or on flyers posted at nearby churches, fitness centres and local community centres. In this case, you may get swarmed with applicants and you will have to sift through the applications carefully and make sure that they are qualified before proceeding onto the next steps.

Conduct initial screenings with phone interviews

This step can be reduced tremendously if you choose to utilize a nanny agency – they will perform the initial screenings and send you only candidates who match your requirements. If you are performing the search on your own, you will want to discuss the criteria that you listed in Step #1 first. Of course, personality and chemistry are vital for a perfect fit and you will get a good feel for this over the phone. You will want to narrow your applicant pool down with the initial screenings over the phone.

Start the face-to-face interviews

Once you have narrowed the applicant pool down to several serious potential candidates, make arrangements for them to come to your home, one at a time. You may want to interview each candidate alone, without the children first, just in case the candidate is not the perfect one. If the interview goes well, there is a great chemistry between you and the candidate and your gut feeling is good, go ahead and invite the children into the room to see how the candidate interacts with them. Remember, your children will also have to like the nanny in order for her to suit your family perfectly.

Hold working interviews/trial time

This is an observation period that will allow you to watch potential candidates in action. Set up 3-5 days that are similar to a “regular” day for the nanny so that you can accurately assess their performance. During this time, you will be able to pick up on any problems or issues, such as lateness or inability to handle the tasks at hand…or it will strengthen your decision about who would be best for the job. If you are utilizing a nanny agency, they should provide you with a period of time within which they will send a replacement if the nanny is not working out, which is typically 90 days, so be sure to use your trial time wisely.

Perform background and reference checks

A good nanny agency will handle this step for you comprehensively. They have the know-how to obtain this information and may even provide monitoring services throughout the term of employment. If you are conducting the search on your own, contacting references and checking for any bruises in the candidate’s backgrounds can certainly provide you with enough information to make a final decision. (A background check is absolutely vital to provide you with the peace of mind that you want.) Be sure to ask previous employers about timeliness, attitude and behaviour, and if they think the candidate will be suitable for the duties on your job description – as well as handling the amount of children that you have.

Present the job offer and employment agreement

You’ve finally found your perfect nanny! Smart businesses present their employees with written employment agreements to promote clear expectations and minimize the potential of misunderstandings. This can also be a crucial step for you and your nanny. A good nanny agency will assist you with creating an employment agreement that works for you and the nanny, presenting the job offer and mediating during the negotiations. If you are hiring without a nanny agency, you will want to create an employment agreement that is extensive and all-inclusive. In addition, you will want to type up a job offer and be prepared for negotiations and to alter the job offer as necessary.

Once an agreement has been made, it’s time to enter into the relationship by signing the employment agreement and setting the start date for your new nanny. You should build on your relationship by setting up monthly evaluation meetings with your nanny. These meetings can be the perfect time to discuss any issues or problems that the nanny is encountering and come up with solutions as a team. In addition, this is a great time to provide her with both positive feedback and constructive criticism. In addition, you will want to set up a meeting that marks the yearly anniversary for your family and the nanny to discuss the possibility of a bonus or a raise.

We hope that these steps help you find that perfect nanny for your family. If you find that you do not have the time that is required to do the footwork of searching for that perfect match, we are here to provide you with our expertise and experience! Feel free to contact us any time.

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For Parents

How to Spot a Fake Reference

When hiring childcare staff, outstanding references are extremely vital to the process. We get thousands of applicants every day here at The Nanny Solution and sometimes; we do get individuals who list friends or family as references. So how do we spot a fake reference? Here are four ways in which we can make sure we have nothing but real references.

Sherlock Them! 

Put on your Sherlock hat and baffle them with carefully selected questions. For example, if you feel that the reference is giving very vague and generic answers to your questions, you could probe further by bringing up specific situations like “How did you handle sick days? Or “Which payroll service did you use?” and so on. And believe me, if the reference is a fake they will not be able to answer these correctly! 

Age Check

At the very beginning of the reference call, ask how old the person’s children were when the applicant started working with them and after your follow-up questions, ask again how old the children are now. A fake reference will be stumped, whereas a parent usually will not take too long to remember the ages of their children. 

Turn to the Web

Everyone and anyone has a digital footprint these days and the references are no different. Look for them on social media or professional sites like LinkedIn and see if their information matches the information that the nanny has provided during the interview. This may sound like a lot of work, but we’d rather do the extra work than let a fake reference slip by us unnoticed.

Ask for multiple references

We always ask for a minimum of 2 childcare references here at The Nanny Solution. We also make sure that we speak with all of the references provided by the nanny. We do this, in order to verify the information shared with us during the interview sessions and to gain a better understanding of the nanny’s work ethics. 

People often ask us our secret to finding these extraordinary nannies, but the secret is that there is no secret! We believe in an extensive and rigorous screening and screening process and we don’t move forward with an application unless we are satisfied at every level of the organization that the nanny is extraordinary!

Looking for a nanny? Let us help you! Get started HERE