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Is a nanny the best childcare for your baby?

Is a nanny the best childcare for your baby?

If your baby is happiest at home and enjoys quiet play, or if you work long or irregular hours, and like to feel in control, then a nanny is the best option for you – and this option isn’t as expensive as you might think.

Nannies are employed to work in your home, under your direction. So, you can stay largely in charge of the framework and detail of your child’s day.

Nannies can have varying levels of qualification, live in or live out and be full- or part-time. Many families now opt for a nanny-share with another family, so that their children benefit from social interaction, and costs are greatly reduced.

The biggest draw of this flexible option is that you can make it work on your own terms.

But when you’re drawing up a plan, consider how much of your home and privacy you are willing to share – it is usually expected that a nanny will eat with the family, for example.

It’s also important to establish what you consider ‘nursery duties’ and use this as a job description. So, a nanny might be expected to prepare all food within their hours of duty, to do the shopping for your child’s food (but not the main family shop) and wash and iron his clothes as well as caring for him.

Whether your nanny lives in or out, you will be responsible for her tax and national insurance contribution, which you’ll need to pay on top of her salary.

The figures you’ll see advertised for a nanny’s salary is the weekly amount she will get, so add these extra costs into your calculations – for example, a nanny earning £400 a week will cost you £546 a week with tax and national insurance contribution.

You might find it easier to employ an accountant to run your nanny’s payroll rather than do this yourself.

Although it’s not essential for a contract to be drawn up in writing, a written agreement is the best way to avoid misunderstandings. If you source your nanny from an agency, it will have a draft contract you can use.

And, because a nanny will be working in your home, you’ll need to make sure your home contents insurance covers employers’ and public liability insurance.

How much will a nanny cost?

The average wage for a nanny in 2014-2015 was £8 an hour. For 25 hours a week, this would be £200.

How to find a great nanny

  • Is she registered?
  • Are her qualifications up to date?
  • What did she enjoy most and least on her childcare course or in her previous nannying role?
  • What does she think is a suitable routine for your child’s age?
  • How would she feed, stimulate and entertain your child?
  • Does she have medical training?
  • Ask for three references from previous posts or her childcare course.

To find a nanny, use a domestic agency such as, advertise in your local paper or approach a local college that offers childcare courses. To find a nannyshare in your area, visit

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