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Guidance for Nannies and Families | COVID-19

We are receiving many calls and emails from families and nannies seeking guidance regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. While the situation continues to unfold hour by hour, we have put together some thoughts for you to consider during this time.

According to Patrick DiFiore, partner manager for GTM Payroll, there is still a lot of grey area surrounding the rules, regulations, and relief on both a federal and state level with regards to how the COVID-19 will impact household employers and employees.

Until there is defined guidance in place, the best things household employers and employees can do is open the lines of communication, abide by current work agreements and employee handbooks, follow local and national guidance, and make any and all decisions in the best interest of their families.

As you discuss the effects of the pandemic, questions nannies and parents consider may include:

Nannies      

  • What happens if me or a family member gets sick and must self-quarantine?
  • What happens if my employer decides to self-quarantine and has asked me not to work?
  • What happens if my employer works in a high exposure risk job and I don’t feel comfortable working?
  • What if my work family works at a hospital and gets mandated to stay at work?
  • How does our work agreement address paid and unpaid time off?
  • What happens if I am not paid legally and can’t access any government relief or unemployment benefits?
  • What if I am at work and begin to feel ill?
  • What happens if I get exposed while at work?
  • How will my boss working from home affect my day?
  • Do I have short-term disability insurance?
  • What if the family’s guidance regarding social distancing differs from the CDC recommendations?
  • What can I do to build my skills or knowledge while I am out of work
  • How will our daily schedule change if the children are out of school extensively?
  • I am supposed to start a new job, should we change the start date?
  • How can we best take care of each other and ourselves during this time?

Families

  • What happens if I don’t want my nanny to come to work because I am not sure who she has been around?
  • Can I have my nanny self-quarantine with our family?
  • How does our work agreement address paid and unpaid time off?
  • What happens if my nanny is not paid legally and can’t access government relief or unemployment benefits?
  •  What if my nanny is at work and begins to feel ill?
  • What happens if my nanny gets exposed while at work?
  • What is the protocol if the children get sick?
  • How will my working from home affect my nanny?
  • Does my nanny have short-term disability insurance?
  • What if the nanny’s actions regarding social distancing differs from the CDC recommendations?
  • How will our daily schedule change if the children are out of school extensively?
  • What if I work at a hospital and get mandated to stay at work?
  • We have a nanny scheduled to start work soon, should we change the start date?
  • What is my childcare contingency plan?
  • How can we best take care of each other and ourselves during this time?

We are in uncharted territories and for many families and nannies, the unknown of how this pandemic will affect their childcare and their wallets is frightening. Open and honest communication will set the foundation for establishing next steps until we know more.

To learn more about the evolving COVID-19 situation and for current CDC recommendations visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

Posted in Advice for Nannies, Advice for Parents | Comments Off on Guidance for Nannies and Families | COVID-19

Our Response to COVID-19

Please find below information and guidance regarding the new coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, first identified in late December 2019. 

As you may be aware, COVID-19 is spread through close person-to person contact.

TEMPORARY AND BACK UP CARE
As a result of ongoing health concerns regarding the virus, we are temporarily updating our temporary and back-up care policies as reflected below:

We also ask that you do not request care if:

  • Your child is exhibiting symptoms including fever or cough;
  • Someone in your home is exhibiting symptoms; or
  • Someone in your home has been in close contact with a person who is showing signs of being sick.

In addition, we will not be accepting any care requests for events, weddings or large gatherings.

For clients who have already scheduled providers, we encourage you to plan for cancellations. Should a provider become ill or otherwise unable to work, we will not be able to staff the position with an alternate provider.

For clients needing temp care, we encourage you to consider other resources as well, given that we anticipate a decline in nannies accepting temp care requests.

PERMANENT SEARCHES

In the last 48 hours, we have begun receiving numerous cancellations for in office interviews and client and nanny interviews. We have had several clients pause their nanny searches and several nannies pause their job searches due to health-related concerns.

As a result, we are taking the following action steps:

  • Having all office employees work from home
  • Conducting initial nanny screening interviews over video; all nannies screened through this method would still need to come into the office prior to being hired by a client, unless the client waves that requirement
  • Encouraging all clients and nannies to engage in phone or video interviews, rather than in-person interviews

Due to our system set up, our team can continue our recruiting, reference checking, interview scheduling, background checking, answering calls and more from a telecommuting set-up.

We will be reevaluating our plan, based on guidance from the health department, CDC and other resources regularly and will keep you updated as additional information becomes available.

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4 Factors of a Successful Match

While both parents and nannies should ensure that every applicant or job they interview for meets their basic requirements, it’s essential that regardless of how good things look on paper, the nanny and the family are a good fit. While clear expectations, a solid work agreement and defined job description all help make a match work out, long-term successful matches share four common factors.

1. Ability to Communicate. Nannies and parents must be able to effectively communicate for the relationship to succeed. The ability to engage in open and honest communication, being approachable and being receptive are key in determining how long a match will last. Nannies and parents often have to communicate about difficult topics and if there isn’t a strong communication foundation in place, those tough conversations can be impossible to have.

2. Mutual Respect. Parents and nannies don’t have to be the same, but they do have to respect each other. Nannies and parents must respect the ideas, beliefs, and behaviors of each other for the relationship to succeed. A nanny’s lack of acceptance of family culture may lead to a lack of respect. Without mutual respect, the nanny and parent relationship will fail.

3. Personality Match. If parents prefer a quiet morning routine that consists of a slow roll out of bed while hanging with the kids in their PJs, sipping their coffee while listening to classical music, chances are a nanny that comes rushing in like a storm isn’t going to kick the morning off to the right start. If a nanny works better in an environment where the parents micromanage and they prefer a nanny who takes initiative, there’s going to be a lot of frustration going around.

4. Shared Philosophies. While parents and nannies don’t need to be philosophical clones, when there is shared common ground, it makes for an easier match. Being on the same page when it comes to how to approach child rearing and discipline, how the children’s moral compass will point, and the world view the children will be raised with certainly makes working together long-term easier than if not. When the nanny and parents aren’t in moral alignment, the relationship can become strained.

At Morningside Nannies, we strive to find the right nanny for each family. By the time our clients are interviewing candidates, the focus is on if the candidate is the right match. In addition to our in-depth screening which eliminates 95+% of all applicants, Morningside Nannies partners with Knowing Nanny to deliver personality assessments that help our staff and our clients better understand each applicant’s personality profile, which leads them to the right match.

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When You Don’t Get the Gift You Hoped For

In a world where we often view our worth to our employers in terms of our paycheck, our raises and our bonuses, it should be no surprise that for some nannies, this holiday season could make them feel really valued or really undervalued.

For nannies, we often anticipate what our holiday gift or bonus will be. Most nannies know that it is “industry standard” to give one to two week’s pay as a holiday bonus and more the longer the nanny has been with a family. This information in hand, nannies eagerly wait for their last paycheck of the year desperately hoping it’s filled with the extra money that they have been hoping for. We also tend to expect a holiday gift – something special crafted by the children or an item picked out from a store we would never be able to shop at on our own.

While you may expect neither a gift nor bonus, in my 15 plus years of being in the nanny world, I’ve found that most nannies, me included, have shared these holiday expectations at one time or another.

So how do you handle it when your bonus or gift doesn’t live up to your expectations?

1. Consider how you are valued year round.

Is it really fair to base how much your employer values you by looking only at your bonus or gift? If your family constantly tells you that they appreciate you, reminds you of how much you enrich their family life and thanks you for providing the best care for their children, those things needs to be remembered as well.

2. It is the thought that counts.

Families celebrate the holidays differently. Some families aren’t big on giving holiday gifts or more accurately giving money for holiday gifts. Others don’t receive a holiday bonus from their employers, so don’t see the need of giving one to their employee. Keep in mind that holiday bonuses and gifts aren’t automatic or merit rated (unless your contract states otherwise) so any gesture should be appreciated.

3. Try not to judge.

It can be so tempting to think that your employer could have done more, but don’t. How much your employer makes or has in her bank is irrelevant. You can’t view your bonus or pay based on what you think your employer can afford. That’s not how it works. Your pay should be based on your skills, experience, education, market demand, etc., and your holiday bonus or gift is based on what your employer wants to give you.

4. Reevaluate your expectations.

If you were working for most any other type of employer, would it be fair to expect a new pair of Uggs then to be disappointed when they weren’t under the tree? Just because you want a gift or had one in mind, is it fair to be disappointed you didn’t receive it? Are your expectations based on what your nanny friends are getting rather than on your employer’s gift giving traditions? Is it fair to expect anything over and above your weekly paycheck?

The nanny and employer relationship is a funny. We are part of the family, but we are not. The holidays magnify this unique aspect of our relationship. Just as we often think our employer treating us like family when it benefits them, we must also ask ourselves if we are expecting our employers to treat us like family when it benefits us?

If you’ve worked for a family for years and your gift or bonus is less extravagant than in years past, it can be hard to swallow. If you don’t receive anything, it can be even harder. While we like to think we know everything that is going on behind the scenes in the family (and we often do!) sometimes quite honestly, we don’t.

I’ve worked for families where I’ve received everything from a tube of facial cleanser to a huge pair of diamond earrings. Funny enough, the family I would have expected to get the diamond earrings from got me the facial cleanser. Was I disappointed? Yes. Did I feel jaded? Yes. Hurt? Yes. Was my disappointment fair? Not really.

Just like we teach our charges, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.” When it comes to holiday gift giving, this has to be our attitude. If it’s not, we risk resenting our employers, which if not resolved, can negatively affect the working relationship.

And while it can be tempting to compare bonuses and gifts with your nanny friends, don’t. One nanny may be completely thrilled with her holiday gift, until she learns that another nanny in the neighborhood got much more. That nanny could be you!

So, before you exchange gifts or open your last paycheck of December, take a deep breath, consider your value to the family and remind yourself it is the thought that counts.

If you truly feel like the gift your received (or didn’t) is a true reflection of how you are valued, it’s up to you whether or not you choose to broach the subject with your employer. Should you choose to address it, think very carefully about what you will say and how you will say it.

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Why Nannies Should Use Morningside Nannies

Nannies have many options when it comes to finding their next nanny job. From word of mouth referrals to online recruiting platforms to social media shares, the options seem endless for connecting with the right nanny. However, all options aren’t created equally. For nannies who want to take the guess work out of the application process and only apply for legally paying nanny jobs in their area that truly exist, using a reputable nanny referral agency like Morningside Nannies makes sense.

At Morningside Nannies:

  • We learn about you, your experiences and your caregiving style.
  • We present you to families seeking a caregiver with your background, experience and temperament.
  • We help prepare you for interviewing successfully.
  • We facilitate interviews with families who would like to meet you.
  • We educate parents on realistic responsibilities and competitive and compliant wages.
  • We educate families on the importance of having a written work agreement.
  • We provide parents information and resources to help them succeed as a household employer.
  • We provide nannies with professional nanny training opportunities at no cost.
  • We offer our services at no financial cost to nannies.

Morningside Nannies is pleased to present our current job opportunities. If any of these nanny positions interest you, please apply online now or contact a placement specialist today by calling (713) 526-3989.

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4 Ways to Lose Your Nanny Job

Love your job? Don’t fall victim to these 4 things that could result in you losing it, quicker than you thought.

1. Show up consistently late

Working parents schedule their nanny’s hours around their work schedule. If nanny is late, that means they are late; and for some employers this can be a real problem. While showing up a few minutes late may not seem like a big deal, when it’s a regular occurrence, those minutes add up. Nannies should arrive with enough time to settle in and be ready to start work at their scheduled start time. Planning to arrive at the time you are scheduled to start work will always keep you running a little late and for some families, a little late is too much. Always build a buffer into your commute to ensure you arrive on time and in the rare instance when something does prevent you from doing so, let your boss know as soon as possible.

 

2. Use your phone excessively (or at all)

Each family will have their own expectations regarding device usage and what is or is not acceptable. Some families are fine if their nanny uses their devices while the children are sleeping, while others prefer them not to use them at all. Including a written device usage policy in the nanny/family agreement can ensure that everyone is on the same page with expectations. As a general rule of thumb, when nanny is responsible for the children her focus should be on the children. Pro tip: Develop your own personal policy on device use during working hours and share it with your employers. Most will be impressed you are considering the value of your time and the importance of spending it with the kids.

 

3. Fall asleep on the job

Kids are sleeping, time for a nap right? Wrong. While in some rare instances sleeping on the job may be appropriate, such as when the parents are traveling and the nanny is spending the night, the general practice of nannies sleeping when the kids do, isn’t an acceptable one. Parents who have caught their caregiver napping have been quick to terminate employment, especially when the expectation is that the nanny is alert and ready to render aid if needed.

 

4. Gossip about your bosses

Sharing your frustration that your boss just bought the newest high tech gadget but hasn’t offered you a raise is okay, right? Especially when among friends. Negative employer talk has a way of finding its way back to employers, either through a nanny telling another nanny who tells her boss who happens to be friends with the employer who is being spoken poorly of or through someone overhearing the conversation and reporting back to the boss. And while venting in “private” online nanny groups may seem safe, never underestimate the damage a shared screen shot can do.

 

Michelle LaRowe is the executive director of Morningside Nannies, Houston’s award-winning nanny agency, 2004 International Nanny Association Nanny of the Year and the lead educator at NannyTraining.com.

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What to Wear

Do you show up at work looking like you’ve just rolled out of bed? If you do, your employer may be thinking about implementing a dress code.

Dress, grooming and personal hygiene standards may be more important to your nanny employer than you think. Arriving for work looking ready to work sends the message that you take your job seriously and are prepared to face the day. If you’re wondering if your nanny wardrobe is up to snuff, consider these few tips.

Tops

Who doesn’t love the coolness a sleeveless top, racer back tank or deep v-neck shirt brings on a hot, summer day? But when you’re at the job, those cuts can pose a challenge. If you’ve ever held a baby while wearing a top that provides less than full coverage, you know that there comes a point where you’re holding the baby, while trying to keep the girls in their place. Babies pull at necklines, bra straps and whatever else their cute little hands can grasp, so by choosing a top with appropriate coverage, you can prevent a wardrobe malfunction that could pose an embarrassment to you and your boss. And if you’re thinking of showing support for your favorite band, cause or politician on your clothing, you may want to reconsider that as many families prefer message neutral clothing.

Bottoms

While leggings and tee-shirts may seem like a great idea, this isn’t always the case. Leggings that are too tight or too thin may not provide the coverage required when actively engaging children. With all of the bending over and getting up and down that is required on the nanny job, proper fitting bottoms are essential to ensure what is covered stays covered during active play. If your employer allows leggings to be worn, always be sure to put them to the test in the mirror before wearing them on the job- and opt to pair them with a tunic to ensure appropriate coverage. As an alternative, consider loose fitting jeans, khakis or shorts that provide adequate coverage and will allow for free movement. Ensuring that the length of the shorts are longer than the tips of your fingers when your arms are at your side will help to ensure an appropriate fit.

Footwear

While flip flops or heels may be your shoe of choice, rarely do these belong on the nanny job. Of course if you’re at the pool or at a special event, there may be cause to sport your favorite slides or stilettos, but for everyday wear, opt for an athletic shoe or sandal that offers stability for when you’re chasing around active little ones.

While every nanny has their own personal style, when it comes to the workplace, that style should be specifically tailored for the job at hand. In addition to wearing appropriate clothing, jewelry that can pose a safety hazard for children, like long necklaces or earrings with small beads, should not be worn during working hours.

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How to NOT Get Taken Advantage of

Nannies are, by definition, caregivers. But too often, because of that nature and commitment to caring for others she can find herself in the position of giving too much or being taken advantage of. If you’re finding yourself in a position where you feel you may be giving more than you are getting, consider this action plan.

Update your written work agreement.

Having a written work agreement outlines the terms of the employment relationship and ensures that both nanny and parents have a mutual understanding of job-related duties, responsibilities and expectations. Putting the effort in upfront to clarify what the nanny’s role is can help to establish a parameter that can be enforced and gives the nanny something tangible to refer to if the boundaries start getting blurred.

Address job creep when it happens.

While most nannies are happy to pitch in and lend a hand with whatever a family needs, the adage that today’s favor is tomorrow’s chore tends to be true. As soon as a favor turns into a regular expectation, it’s time to speak up. Something like “I am happy to assist with the family dishes first thing in the morning, but if you’ like to add that to my job duties we’ll need to adjust my start day to 15 minutes earlier, and my pay to reflect that so that I can be ready to engage the children once they come down stairs,” can communicate to the family that you’re happy to go above and beyond, but you’ll need to be compensated appropriately for doing so.

Set boundaries.

As a nanny, establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries can be a challenge. Setting boundaries is an important step in fostering a healthy nanny/family relationship. If the parents consistently come home late, if it’s a win for you, agree to offer that flexibility – but on your terms and with proper accommodation. If you can’t offer that flexibility be clear about that, too. If your work family regularly asks you to babysit on the weekend, but you really don’t want to, don’t be afraid to say so — and perhaps offer to refer them to another nanny you know who would love to pick up some extra hours on the weekend.

Practice self-care.

It’s easy to feel taken advantage of if you aren’t caring for yourself. Caring for children can be draining; working with the parents sometimes even more so. Ensuring that you are at your best physically and emotionally will ensure you have the reserves needed to set and maintain boundaries, and to recognize when you are being taking advantage of – and ready to implement the corrective measures necessary.

Michelle LaRowe is the executive director of Morningside Nannies, Houston’s award-winning nanny agency, 2004 International Nanny Association Nanny of the Year and the lead educator at NannyTraining.com.

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Breaking Up with Nanny

Nannies and families end their relationships for a variety of reasons. These may include relocation, a change in childcare needs, a change in job needs or because the relationship just isn’t working out. While rarely the relationship may end because a nanny has committed an egregious act or lost the family’s trust, most often, relationships end because there is a natural point of transition or because of issues unrelated to the quality of care.

In cases where the relationship is ending due to due to fault of the nanny and/or there are no safety concerns with the nanny’s relationship with the children, parents and nannies typically have a sense that the job is coming to and end. When there is no need to terminate the nanny on the spot, families should consider how the loss of the nanny will impact the children.

The Massachusetts Approach to Partnerships in Parenting identifies two types of losses; maturational losses and situational losses. The characteristics of maturational losses include that they are anticipated, they are expected, there is typically some sort of celebration or ritual associated with them, the person experiencing the loss has support and there is a gain that comes along with the loss. An example of a maturational loss may include a child graduating from preschool. With the loss of daily relationships with teachers and friends – and the daily routine that goes along with attending preschool – comes a graduation ceremony, lots of pictures, sometimes a family celebration and talk about looking forward to taking the big yellow bus to kindergarten next year and making new friends at a new school.

But there is also another type of loss that we all experience throughout our lifetime. These are situational losses. Characteristics of situational losses include that they are often unplanned and unanticipated, they are sudden and can be overwhelming, there often isn’t a supportive environment surrounding the experience and with the loss there is really no gain. An example of a situational loss may include the sudden loss of a family pet or the untimely death of a family member. In situational losses the loss happens, it’s often a shock and the recuperation from that loss can be challenge. In general, situational losses can be harder to manage, especially for children.

If you’re considering breaking up with your nanny, or perhaps she’s breaking up with you, consider the effect that the loss of that relationship may have on your child. If you have control over the situation and it’s safe for your child to continue a relationship with your nanny, strive to make the loss a maturaltional loss. When you do, instead of sad goodbye, you’ll be able to honor the relationship you’ve shared and look forward to the new relationships to come.

Michelle LaRowe is an award-winning nanny and executive director of Houston’s award-winning nanny agency, Morningside Nannies and lead educator at NannyTraining.com.

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3 Reasons Finding the Right Nanny Takes More Than Luck

With St Patrick’s Day right around the corner, consider these  reasons why finding and keeping the right nanny takes more than luck.

1. Finding the right nanny takes more than a positive referral from a friend. The right nanny for your best friend’s family may not be the right nanny for your family. Just because someone is a great nanny does not mean they are a great nanny for you. When considering personal referrals, consider the nanny’s style, past experiences and personality when determining if she may be the right fit for you.

2. Finding the right nanny means you’re making an informed and educated hiring decision. While going with your gut is essential when determining if a caregiver is a match, you want your gut reaction to be balanced with an honest evaluation of all the information and data you can legally gather and consider about an applicant. Always do your research so you can know who may be caring for your kids.

3. Finding the right nanny means you are committed to investing in the ongoing relationship. Investing in a solid written nanny/family agreement can eliminate 99% of the issues that come up in a nanny/family relationship. Making time for daily check ins and regular reviews, keeping communication open and committing to investing in the relationship can ensure once you find the right nanny, you keep her too.

When searching for the right nanny for your family, Morningside Nannies can help you hire right the first time. Call us at (713) 526-3989 for a complimentary consultation. 

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Morningside Nannies 3701 Kirby Drive, Suite 989
Houston, TX 77098
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Monday - Friday
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(713) 526-3989
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Testimonials
Originally, I tried to find a nanny on my own and it took me much, much longer and only half of them spoke English. I had to do my own background checks. Morningside Nannies made it much easier, faster and more efficient.
Holly Weinstock, Stay at home mom