Nanny agencies around the country have been turning away requests from families for the traditional after-school nanny. What’s happened to the traditional college students?

This fall, Caring Nannies had nine After-School Nanny positions available. We were unable to place any of them! Nanny agencies around the country are no longer even accepting these requests. Where have all the traditional after school nannies gone? For the past 31 years we’ve been able to source students from ASU and the surrounding community colleges to fill these crucial positions typically from 2 to 6 pm. The nannies have their traditional classes in the mornings, drive to pick up the  school-aged children, take them home for a snack, and then get started on homework. They transport them to appointments, dance, soccer or Karate practice with socks, tennis shoes, tights and mouth guards. These hardworking nannies  throw in a load of laundry and prep dinner or at least get a salad ready or feed and bathe the kids. They’re typically paid $15 to $16 per hour and it’s worked out great. But now they’re just extinct. They don’t apply for these jobs. The truth is, they need full-time hours to meet rising costs of school, and they’re doing online classes so they can do it all. Or, according to Daryl Camarillo at Stanford Park Nannies in Menlo Park,  they’re seeking positions that will compliment their resume or matche their career paths.
Caring Nannies has a few suggestions.

1. Keep your child in an after-school program and try to utilize Saturday sports and dance options.

2. Give an after-school nanny a higher wage, like $18-$20 per hour.

3. Give the nanny longer hours. Give her 30-35 hours per week and expand her duties. She may cook 2-3 family dinners per week. She can grocery shop, do family laundry, iron shirts, make travel plans, research summer camps, or do full housekeeping. Over the course of a week, she can focus on 1-2 areas of the home per day and clean the entire house within a five day stretch.

4. Another suggestion from Daryl is to be satisfied with semester-long placements, as college students change classes, since students change teachers sometimes each semester. You can have the outgoing nanny help hire and train the new one.
5.  By the age of 12, many families allow a child to stay home alone. Clinical psychologist Angela Bowers feels that children ages 10 and over have the ability to stay home for a couple of hours occasionally, but that it shouldn’t be overdone, since they can begin to feel lonely and isolated. Determining factors are how responsible they are, who their friends are, and if they know how to handle emergency situations.

It’s frustrating, we know. Spring is right around the corner and our recruiting staff is walking the campuses at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers college in Northwest Phoenix, Grand Canyon UniversityParadise Valley Community CollegeScottsdale Community College,  Mesa Community College and ASU main in Tempe, talking to career services, posting on job boards and still not getting quality experienced applicants. We want to help in any way we can. I hope some of these suggestions help if you’re searching for after-school help after the holidays.

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An after-school nanny can be the perfect solution for working parents if children are in sports, have appointments, music lessons or just need extra help with homework. She can help the entire family, having the homework, shopping, dinner, laundry and errands completed by the time the parents walk in the door. A nanny can provide a customized solution and quality family time at day’s end.

Follow these key steps to make sure you get a perfect fit for your family and a long-term solution. Give some thought to what your needs are and bring a detailed list of expectations and needs to the interview and ask each candidate the same questions.

What qualities and skill sets are most important ?

Does she need to be able to do algebra or go on the internet and monitor school assignments?

Is she a good role model? Find out what her values are, and during the interview, ask to see her Facebook page. School-aged children are very alert to the values of their nanny and tend to admire them because they are closer to their own age. Nannying is different from all other childcare positions in that the nanny is largely unsupervised. Look for someone who will make the right choice when no one’s looking.

What household chores is she willing and able to do well?

What were her responsibilities in her last position?

Involve your children in the interviewing process Do they like her personality? They’re old enough to voice their opinions now.

Does the nanny agree with your parenting style

How would she settle sibling squabbles? A dynamic and energetic leader with a good sense of humor helps

Does she show a preference for one age or sex over another?

Can this be a long-term match?

Frequently a college student makes a good choice, since they’ll have similar school holidays and can help in the summer with longer hours. Is she able to keep her job her top priority and work her classes around the family schedule for a year of two? Usually a freshman or sophomore can give a longer commitment than an upperclassman.

How’s her Driving? Is she a responsible driver?

Ask for her three-year Motor Vehicle Record

Is she mature enough to handle an emergency?

Has she driven children before? Ask her last employer about her driving. During a trial week, have her drive to the children’s school and back and see how carefully she drives.

What’s the cost of an after-school nanny? $15 per hours seems to be the going rate for an after school nanny working 20 hours per week in the Phoenix area. Caring Nannies follows the recommendation of the IRS to reimburse nanny mileage at the current rate of 56.5 cents per mile. If you’re paying a household employee over $1800 per year, the IRS requires that a 1040-ES is filed along with a 1040 tax form and a W-2 form. Best to pay via check or direct deposit and not cash so that you have accurate documentation. If both parents are working, your cost should be a wash.

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Okay, so you’re the Dad. That means you want to be Mr. Generous, and you want to make sure your children have everything. Good for you.

But the best we can do for our children has very little to do with passing over the keys to a new car, hooking Jr. up with that fly pair of $200 sneakers, or making sure your offspring attend the finest schools. What loving fathers “do” is to provide a framework in which kids can grow up to be the very best young people they can possibly be.

Our opportunity, as loving All Pro Dads, is to craft the kind of environment where such growth is possible. There’s a lot we can do – and the following “10 Things loving fathers do for their children” are a great place to start:

  • Loving fathers… love their children’s mother: This is huge – possibly the most beneficial intervention dads can do on behalf of their children. Love your wife without reservation – you can’t do much more for your kids than that.
  • Love them unconditionally: Make sure that your children know you love them “no matter what.” Don’t confuse this with permissiveness – unconditional love does nothing to encourage the wrong kind of behavior. In fact, kids who are secure in their father’s love tend to act out less, not more.
  • Grow up: We’re talking about the dads here, not the kids! Children don’t want another buddy – they want a dad. They want someone who thinks things through, makes tough decisions and engages life with responsibility – someone they can count on.
  • Be there: “Quality time” is all well and good… but it has nothing on quantity time. Make the time. Everyone has the same 24 hours available. Make yours count.
  • Provide: Just do it.
    – A stable home
    – Love and affection
    – Material needs
    – Presence
  • Discipline: Children appreciate an even hand, balance, accountability and love-drenched discipline. It’s called consistency, and without clearly defined boundaries, it is very difficult to grow up.
  • Value education: Don’t just read to them – read with them. Don’t just fuss about grades – get involved with their homework. Don’t just talk about learning – be a hands-on advocate
  • Raise them to leave: The simple goal of being a family, of parenting our children, doesn’t look any more complicated than this: raise them well equipped to leave home and to establish faithful lives.
  • Teach them to take responsibility: Kids who learn how to duck responsibility and avoid cost will – sooner or later – fall flat on their faces. Loving fathers make sure their children know how to own up, clean up, and move forward.
  • Teach them to love this life: The best predictor of happiness in children is happiness in their parents. If we learn how to love this life, and then give that blessing to our kids, then they will be well prepared for satisfaction.
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It’s that time of year again!  Summer has come to an end in the Valley and another school year has begun. Now that you’re into the fall schedule, and over the first two weeks, here are some tips I use at home.

If your busy household is anything like mine, back to school can mean frazzled, stressful days of preparation leading up to the first day, and then crazy, rushed mornings with the kids who are reluctant to get back into the daily grind of school.

Here are 5 helpful tips I use at my home with my 2nd grader and kindergartener to alleviate the chaos that often comes with back-to school preparations.

1. Beat the crowds at the stores by shopping for school supplies early in the morning when stores first open.  Or wait until just before the store closes.  Teachers often send home longs lists of required school supplies and if you go in the middle of the day when everyone else is shopping, you’ll be fighting over that last box of markers, and standing in long check out lines

2. Include the kids in choosing a few important school items but not all.  I suggest having a special shopping trip with the kids in which you allow them to pick out a new backpack, lunch box, and first day of school outfit.  Any other supplies needed are best to get when shopping without the kids. That helps eliminate battles over what the kids want to put in the cart and what the school supply list requires

3. Get organized the night before.  In my household, I have my 8 and 5 year old boys pick out their outfits and lay out their clothes and shoes for the next day.  Backpacks are packed and ready by the door.

4.Pack lunches the night before and plan breakfast for the next morning.  That way you are not scrambling eggs in a hurry while also trying to slap together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

5.Have a designated place in your home where everything goes.  Kids should know when they walk in the door after school where to hang their backpacks, put lunch boxes, set out homework, and so forth.  I have a bench by my front door with a cubby for shoes, a hook for back backs and then each child has a basket on the kitchen counter for important school papers and homework.
Organization is key for a stress-free school year.  Have a wonderful new school year!

Jenny Riojas

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