Child Care in Queens: Nannies and Au Pairs

Our series explaining your child care options in Queens continues this week as we explore live-in child care: nannies and au pairs.

Nannies

If you want focused attention for your child in the comfort of your own home, getting a nanny may be for you. This type of childcare is not as social for little guy. But if you have a savvy nanny, she may be able to form relationships with other nannies and their kids. Your child may suddenly become very popular.

In order to have a nanny, you have to be comfortable with having someone in your home. The nanny-family relationship can be a difficult one. Boundaries may become unclear—a nanny child care situation can easily become a family care situation. It may also be hard to balance your family time with the nanny’s own family time. You may want to lay everything out in a contract.

When you hire a nanny, you are becoming an employer and not just a customer. You need to provide health insurance and a plan for time off. You also need to pay her salary and the taxes associated with it. See the IRS handbook “Household Employer’s Tax Guide”.

This can be the most expensive option. Live-in nanny’s get paid less since they get lodging. You can also balance the tough budget by offering perks such as use of the family car and vacation.  There are other ways to get around the tough price. Two families can share the same nanny, for example. This can happen if children from different families end up being “nannied” at once at one family’s house.  Also, a nanny may care for one child for half the week and care for another child the rest of the week. Look into nanny shares at shareournanny.com.

Look here to read about Kieran’s Law.  It allows parents access to access NY State criminal histories of potential in-house caregivers. This law applies to caregivers, who provide child care in the child’s home for 15 hours or more per week.

You can hire a nanny by speaking to other parents and families. You can also use a referral service – check out Diki Daycare’s Tibetan Nanny Referral Service. This Astoria-based nanny referral service matches your family with a Tibetan nanny for a one-time $300 application fee.

 

Au pair

Au pairs are similar to nannies. The main difference is that au pairs join your household as part of a type of home stay program. A perk of this program is that your child will be exposed to having a close relationship with a person from another country. At the same time, au pairs tend to be very young.

There are a lot of regulations governing employing an au pair. You must have an extra room for the au pair. There are rules about the number of hours per week that au pairs can work and they cannot be left alone with kids overnight. Pay for au pairs is regulated by the state department.

Au pairs usually stay in the country between 12 and 24 months so you will not be forming a long term relationship. You may even be able to hire an au pair for just the summer, for example. In order to be matched with an au pair, you must pay the au pair’s way to the US and pay a fee to the agency that matches you. These costs can be very high but an au pair’s salary tends to be much lower than a nanny’s.  Check out the NYC based au pair referral agency InterExchange, Inc.

 

By: Sandy Jimenez