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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Childcare 101: Test Driving A Nanny Service

One of the inspirations for The Pampered Baby was to create a place where Moms and individuals (even if you don’t have kids, you’re still part of a family, whatever it may look like!) could come for candid, honest, and humorous discussion about all aspects of raising a family and the journey of life in general. One of my hopes was to showcase and support local ladies in business, to help them create work- life balance for themselves; no matter how far we’ve come, we still face challenges when addressing career decisions after having kids.

As some of my friends prepared to return to work in the past few months, the inevitable discussions of childcare and figuring out how to find balance with work and family began. Whether it be with help from family & friends, daycare, or finding a nanny- or some combination of these options- we all had to address how life would look after the maternity leave bubble burst.

Because of each family’s unique needs, there is no one answer (don’t you feel like you hear that all the time after having kids???).  In my case, I know my schedule is going to be all over the place, with my work hours varying from day to day and week to week. While I’m lucky to have family close by, my schedule is too dynamic to set a weekly childcare routine. This also makes it pretty much impossible for me to use daycare in fairness to the facilities needing some form of schedule as well. Toss in the potential of early mornings and late nights and I’d say I’ve got myself a bit of a pickle.

That leaves option #3: nannies (cue a spoonful of sugar!). I always used to associate nannies with rich families, but have discovered they’re a much more affordable option than I thought; especially if you only need part time hours. While it’s nerve- wracking looking for the right childcare, the comfort with nanny agencies is the pre- screening they do for you. Reputable companies only employ nannies that have met a variety of strict standards. In my search for flexible childcare, I recently tried out a local nanny service- Nannies On Call- to get a feel for how this option would work for our family.

When I first contacted the company I was immediately put at ease. The lady who answered the phone was friendly and helpful, answering all of my questions and explaining how the Nannies On Call services & rates are organized (see below for rates & package information).

She then set up my account; I provided my contact information including phone number, email, and address (to help narrow down the available nannies, and obviously so they would know where to go), Ariana’s age & if she had any special health concerns (none). I was also asked about any medications that the nanny should be aware of (a signed consent is necessary for the nannies to administer medication and to drive the child(ren) anywhere, which is standard with most childcare facilities/ services).

Since I wasn’t sure what day & time I was going to book a nanny, she made a note on my file and instructed me to call back to make a booking. She also told me that I would be emailed Nannies On Call’s terms and conditions to agree to and return  prior to the date of booking. Finally, I was instructed to write down some info for the nanny, such as Ari's nap & snack schedule, suggested activities such as play time & walks, and my contact info in case the nanny would need to get in touch while I was gone.

When I figured out the day & time I needed a nanny, I phoned and spoke to another friendly & helpful
lady who guided me through the rest of the booking process. NOC followed up with a phone call a few days in advance to let me know about status of placing me with a nanny & that they would phone/ email me a final confirmation. Once they had a nanny confirmed, they phoned/ emailed me a final time to confirm the booking details and to tell me the name of the nanny (Shirley) who had been placed with us and some information about her.

On the day- of I made sure I had my information, snacks, & the diaper bag organized for the nanny's arrival. The lovely lady who was assigned to us arrived a few minutes early to go over everything with me and we had a nice chat as I prepared to leave. If I'd had any jitters about leaving Ari, Shirley put me completely at ease and even offered to help with household tasks, since Ari would be napping for part of her time! I left for my appointment calm & comfortable that Ari was in good hands.

When I returned, Shirley had taken Ari for a nice walk after her afternoon nap & snack. She told me how Ari had done while I was gone (happy & content), we discussed the payment, & Shirley was on her way. What a lovely experience!

For everyone who has to face the challenge of finding childcare when you return to work, keep in mind that nannies are a great option. After this wonderful experience, I'm glad to have found childcare that will not only work with our family's needs, but reassures me that my child will be in good hands when extra help is needed. I recommend you check out Nannies On Call to see how this option may work for your family.

Nannies On Call Rates Information:
- Each time you book a nanny there is an agency booking fee (fee varies depending on if you pay- as- you- go and with different booking packages)
- Bookings are a minimum of 4 hours at $16/ hour for up to three children (family), with a $2 & $3 charge for each additional child from your family or a different family, respectively. You can also book a nanny for late nights (after midnight) & statutory holidays for an additional $2/ hour (Christmas Day & New Year’s Eve are extra).
- The booking fee is paid at time of booking, while the nanny is paid by cash or cheque at the end of the session. There is a $69 cancelation fee if you cancel within 24 hours of the booking (this covers 4 hours of regular childcare as compensation for the nanny and a $5 admin fee).

To view Nannies On Call rates & packages for Vancouver, click here.

For general information about Nannies on Call's services & rates for other cities, click here.

You can get more information about this amazing nanny service on the Nannies On Call Website & Facebook page.

Image Sources:
Nannies On Call

April posts sponsored by Gary Gallant Travel