Introduction to ISYN

Hi everyone!! I'm new to nannying - I actually just got my first nanny job with a family. I've done child care in the past in my teens as well as extensive volunteer work with older children. I'm 20 years old and I didn't expect that this would be a job I'd have! However, I adore children so it makes perfect sense to work with them. The parents I'm working for are awesome - mb works fulltime and db is a WAHD. He also has a good philosophy of being upstairs in his office and letting me set the pace with the kids, so that's awesome. I'm really excited!

My charges are a 16 mo old girl, 2 and a half year old boy, and five year old boy. I did a trial sitting day with them today and had a great time!! I also worked out my wages - I'm getting paid hourly, on the books 10 dollars net. I don't drive so I will be commuting to work. I work 50hrs weekly mon-fri. I'm excited to have weekends off! I mostly am just introducing myself to everyone as I'd like to speak with more fellow nannies! I have a couple questions though: What can I do when the two brothers start biting each other? They seem to think it's funny and soon both of them are bawling. What are some ideas for oldest charge to do while I entertain two little ones? They play together but I see difficulty there. Basically just any things I should know as a first time nanny. Take care!! - Michelle


gypsy said...

Make sure you're getting paid $15 an hour for hours 41-50. Its the law.

And $10 is very low for two kids. I hope you have a written agreement. Otherwise, you'll be taken advantage of. If they aren't paying you overtime, they already are.

Try to figure out why the bites are happening. Is the child bored? Frustrated? Angry? Once you figure that out, work on preventing them by recognizing when the child feels that way & removing them from the other child. Ask yourself, what was going on right before the attempted bite? Keep them within arms length when possible. Also, give a ton of attention & empathy to the bitten children.

fairy dust said...

Gypsy, OP is actually caring for THREE kids at $10 an hr. It's a good thing she likes the family but she IS getting taken advantage of at that wage!!

nannyof2 said...

I'm trying to be kind, but you are in way over your head for a first timer.

The boys sound like they are bored so they bite for fun.

They should not be allowed to bite each other. Let that be a rule. They are both preschool age so it's not beyond them to have a basic rule about keeping their bodies to themselves.

When it starts seperate them immediately. Remind them of the rule and redirect them to other activities.

Here is where I would use a version of a time out because it sounds to me that both bys are aware that biting hurts and they shouldn't be doing it but have been allowed to think it's a game.
If they want to be physical together start a game of kickball, baseball, running races etc.

Great activities for all are
Children's museums
Library storytimes.
You can also do basic arts & crafts.

I'm assuming the 16 month old and 2.5 year old still nap so you can take a portion of that time and play whatever the 5 year old likes.

I was onece i n a similar situation and I would have lunch with the 5 year old. She was thrilled to have one on one time. We were together for about a half hour and then she would go off and play by herself. She enjoyed the downtime away from her young siblings.

a mom said...

I agree with the others that $10 an hour seems low -but that depends on where you live too. Also, I don't know what law gypsie is referring is NOT the law that you get paid $15 an hour from 41-50 hrs a week. Federal minimim wage is 7.25 an hour - but you should check the dept of labor laws in your state to see if it differs in your state. You are probably entitled to time and a half above 40 hours but most nanny jobs that pay on a 50 hour week pay above min wage and therefore don't pay time and a half from 41-50 hours. Most nannies where I live (nyc area) get paid a salary for a certain number of hours a week and they get paid that salary even if the employer doesn't need them or if they decided to go on vacation. I think you need to speak personally with nannies in the area where you live or contact some agencies where you live to get some info about what is standard where you are. Take the info you read here with a grain of salt...this forum is made up of a small number of career nannies, most of whom work for the 'one percenter' families - not your typical nannies. But I do agree that $10 an hour for 3 kids is on the low end..unless maybe you live in the middle of nebraska

Michelle said...

Thanks everyone for the comments, OP here!

Firstly, in Canada it is only considered overtime after 44 hours per week as far as I know. That's how it's been at any job I've had. We haven't made a contract yet.

Secondly, minimum wage here is 10.25, but I'm actually getting paid 13 which feels fair to me. It's ten dollars I take home, the 3 goes to my EI, CP, taxes. I prefer being paid hourly to salary, that way I don't have to worry about unpaid extra time.

I realize for many of you this seems low, however, at this point in my life I need the experience as well as it being a steady income while my fiancee attends college. Also, I struggled finding a nanny job in my area where I didn't need to drive - it's in a suburban area where most people drive to everything. I'm a mature student who hasn't gone to college yet and was homeschooled. I also haven't nannied before. I believe everyone has to start somewhere and if I can pay my bills and stay sane, frankly, I'm totally fine with it. 13 dollars an hour is 3 dollars an hour more than I've made at any job in the past, plus I've never had a job with steady 45+ hours a week.

If I continue to be a nanny, I'll go into my next job with lots of experience and will feel comfortable asking for 15+ dollars per hour for a few kids. I don't mean to be rude at all, just realistic. First timers begin as first timers and I'm trying to make an effort to be the best I can :)

Also, I brought up the biting only because it seems to be one issue I haven't dealt with, not because it's something that happens all the time. I like the idea about getting to the root of the issue, though. I'll have to pay attention to what triggers it, etc.

I love the idea of one on one with 5 year old! That's a good idea, to make some time for the two of us during their nap :)

NannyBrandie said...

Wow, where in Canada do you live? 10.25 and hour minumum wage is really high. I live in Boston and the minimum wage is under 9$
As far as the biting goes, I use to work in a daycare and in the toddler/preschool room there were always biting incidents.

1)Ask the children what they like for activities, particularity zone in on the children than bite. The other children are obviously more laid back and do not get as upset as the biters. Set up activities they they chose. (one child can choose a fun activity one day, and the other child the next)

2) Pay attention to particular times during the day, certain behavior, and certain stressful situations that the children bite.
Most of the time children bite when they are frustrated or feel like they are not being heard.
Is the older biting the younger sibling? Or vise versa? A 5 year old she definitely not be biting- so he needs to work on his communication. Biting is more of a early/late toddler behavior that develops when they are conscientious of whats going on, and are not able to communicate properly.

3)Shadow the children who bite, if they are playing sit between the two, if you are not playing and its a busy time, ask the older one to be a big helper. Reward him with positive feedback, and give him high fives (make sure to tell mom and dad that he is doing a great job)

4) When the do bit separate them immediately, stay very calm, and tell them that biting is not how we treat our family/friends. We use our words and are teeth are only used for eating food and brushing.

5) Discipline, when a child bites they need to know that is a boundary that should not be crossed. I use the listening spot.
You find a spot in the house where the child can not hurt themselves or others. Take the child by the end to the listening spot (or bring them if they are not cooperating) Get down on their level and state that you are putting them into the listening spot because they are not being safe and that their behavior is unacceptable. Tell them that they need to stay in the listening spot for x(one minute for each year 2 years=2 minutes) Tell them that you will come and get them when their time is done.
Many kids run away, but i just calmly tell them to stay in the listening spot, bring them back and walk away. The could run away for up to 10 minutes, but its better than dealing with two kids bleeding everywhere and crying all the time.
When their time is up, you go down to their level and ask them to please come and talk to you. Tell them that they did a great job and that they need to be safe " yaddah yaddah yaddah" ask for a kiss and a hug, (some people ask their children to apologize and some do not) then bring them over to their sibling (who has also gone to the listening spot) and ask them to hug/apologize.

Good luck

Michelle said...

Wow, thanks so much NannyBrandie! Some awesome ideas there that I'm definitely gonna try :)

I live in Toronto, Ontario. But yeah, our minimum wage is high but cost of living in Canada is higher too, so it's a trade off. Especially in Toronto, it's so expensive. :P

canadananny said...

Michelle, I understand what you're saying about just starting out and not having previous nannying experience, however I still think 13/hour is too low for 3 kids! I live 2 hours north of Toronto (Blue Mountain), and I get 15/hour for 1 child! (And usually nannies in the city get paid more than nannies outside of the city!) I don't want you to sell yourself short...I would definately ask for a raise in a couple months!

Wendi said...

Michele, when I first started out as a nanny, I had to work for less than what other nannies were working for. Just to get my foot in the door. After a while, I started building up references and such, and later on I could ask for more.

As long as you are okay w/the rate, then that is what matters. I agree it is a low rate, but since you are still wet behind the ears regarding caring for children, I would say you are breaking even.

Michelle said...

Canadananny, we've already discussed raise possibilities within the next few months, so that's a start!
I'm not trying to sell myself short - but like I said, I've been looking for jobs and at this point, to be honest, it's start nannying at a lower rate or work at McDonalds (which I did for 2 years in the past). After fiancee is done college I'll be able to either attend school, get a new job, or maybe stay nannying!

And thanks Wendi :) I appreciate you guys trying to stick up for me and teach me how not to sell myself short. Like you said, I'm a newbie. And newbies have to pay their dues. Who knows? Maybe I'll stay with this family, get a raise, and move on in life. Or, I'll stay with this family, not get a raise, leave after a while, and move on to a new nanny job.

Again, I'm just taking the best position I've found at this time to support myself and my future :) I want to make the best of it. Plus, I adore the family. If I hated them things would be different :P Or if I was expected to do housekeeping too. I just have to do kids dishes, kids lunch, and any mess they make.

gypsy said...

Yes, it is a federal labor law & YES it applies to nannies that they be paid time & a half for all hours over 40 during a 7 day work week. The federal minimum wage also varies per state, sometimes even city. In San Francisco the minimum wage is over $10, in San Ramon, its $8.00 an hour. I'm not talking about salary bc that has nothing to do with OP. It doesn't matter HOW much you're paying your nanny(assuming you're honoring the minimum wage in YOUR area) you are legally required to pay your nanny time and a half of her wage for hours over 40 in a 7 day work week. The law is VERY clear that employees be paid 1.5 time, reguardless of hourly pay. There is so limitation on the number of years an employee can sue you to collect the overdue wages. It doesn't matter if your employer isin the top 1% or the bottom 1%, this is the federal law. The law may be stricter depending upon your state, but it won't be less strict.

A simple google will confirm these facts. I agree they should take what they read here with a grain of salt, because you're wrong. I don't need to post links to prove this. I've known it since it became law years ago. And I just did a quick search to confirm-yep. Its still a valid federal law. If you're employing a nanny @ at hourly wage like op, you're responsible for knowing the laws.

gypsyy said...

There is *no limitation to the number of years a nanny can sue for 1.5 for hours over 40 in a 7 day week. Nannies: there are lawyers that specialize in labor law.

gypsy said...

Interesting! I am unfirmiliar with Canadian laws. I understand your contentment with $10 an hour, during a financial rough patch. I strongly advise you draft an agreement ASAP, before it feels too awkward. And please remember to brush up on your rights. If you're entitled to OT, you're entitled to OT, regardless of your experience!! Be confident, you sound wonderful!! ;-)

gypsy said...

Three? Woah! That's one more than I realized!

Sounds like she's paying her dues. Id offer her $13 @ six months & $15 an hour after a year, I hope she gets "the going rate" sooner than later. :)

gypsy said...

They're wonderful because you're in the honeymoon phase. Once everybody let's down their hair & starts being themselves, new issues will arrise. You might not feel the same in a few weeks or a few months. Although it would ideal if you did, its just not as realistic.

Additionally, you're gaining experience & in about six months you should either ask for the going rate or begin the search for a position that pays what your work is worth. If you continue to work for about $5 less per hour than other nannies in your area are making, you'll likely grow bitter & start mentally listing all thee things you've put up with, without just compensation. Its just the natural progession of things.

So my advice to you is what I said, either ask for a significant raise @ six months(being prepared for a possible no) or looking for better paying employment again around six months from now.

Best of luck with your new gig, OP. ;-)

gypsy said...

I've been thinking about this whole less pay for less experience thing. It makes sense that an experienced nanny would be paid more. But I think NO NANNY should ever be paid minimum wage, especially to care for three kids. Those kids are being cared for & that's certainly worth a lot more than minimum wage. Regardless of the nannys experience, assuming she has none, she should at least be paid $5/hour over minimum wage, for one child. And more per hour per additional child. I think these parents are grossly under paying OP & its inevitable that I feel she will resentful over time. I sure hope you ask for apropriate raises, OP. Because you're way underpaid, even for having no experience. Okay, jmho. ;-)