Nanny Expert Shares Advice on How Parents Can Make Room for a Live-in Nanny

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Nanny expert Steve Lampert helps parents handle a close-quarters relationship with a live-in nanny and provides tips to maintain a successful working relationship.

When you hire a live-in nanny, you are creating a personal bond that involves you and your children, so it may take some time to make everything work.

The nation’s premier nanny expert Steve Lampert says that the decision to hire a live-in nanny comes down to how much you value privacy versus how much you need or depend on the extra help to bring up your children.

Hiring a live-in nanny may be a wonderful option if you are looking for full-time childcare and your schedule is irregular and longer than a normal workday. A live-in nanny can be there for the children in the morning when the parents have left early for work and be there in the late afternoon and early evening when the parents return from work. They can also allow the parents to have a “date night” each week.

If a parent is traveling often or away from home overnight for any reason, a live-in nanny can provide overnight supervision and care. Moreover, a live-in nanny can help moms deal with all-night screaming infants until they get back on their feet after giving birth.

“One of the fallacies of live-in help is that you’ve got round-the-clock coverage,” says Lampert, who started an award-winning full-service nanny agency in 1994 and brought his professional nanny expertise online in 2001 with eNannySource. “A live-in nanny, though physically present for a five-day week, can’t possibly be on call twenty-four hours a day.”

According to Lampert, the max should be 10-12 hours per day including “down time” when the kids sleep or are at school, plus two full days off a week. Some parents like to establish a clear-cut time when the nanny’s day begins and ends. Other parents prefer a loose arrangement in which there is no set schedule and lots of room for give and take on both sides in terms of time and duties.

There are parents who say, after several live-in nannies, that they want their house, their time, their family to themselves again; and those who, having once experienced the luxury of a live-in nanny, can’t image going back to a time when they had to think twice about sleeping in or going to a movie at the last minute.

“If you are considering a live-in nanny, it is important to take your time during the nanny hiring process and to get to know a few things about your nanny before she moves into your home,” says Lampert. “When you hire a live-in nanny, you are creating a personal bond that involves you and your children, so it may take some time to make everything work.”

The nanny expert cites five essential tips for parents considering a live-in nanny.

Room and Board. Parents should provide the basics - a bedroom and three meals a day. Many parents give the nanny her own cell phone, television and a mini fridge for her room. Live-in nannies usually are given a “nanny car” to use throughout the week, both to transport the children and for their own personal use. Typically, the parents pay for all car expenses, including insurance and gas.

Privacy. Parents should make special arrangements to give a live-in nanny privacy, and negotiate their own living space and privacy within the household. If you’re going to get the advantages of a live-in, trade-offs are inevitable. Though the benefits to a live-in are clear, this can be difficult to adjust to and requires flexibility on the part of the family and the nanny.

Boundaries. A common complaint is a lack of boundaries. Once they are blurred, it’s hard to redraw them. If you want to maintain authority in-day-to-day matters, keep some distance.

Gossip. If you want something kept in confidence, or within the inner circle of your home, you have to say so loud and clear; otherwise there’s no guarantee that given the opportunity, nannies won’t gossip.

Social lives. Typically, nannies will meet her friends outside the house. However if your house is turning into a central meeting spot for other nannies and their friends, it is well within the bounds of employer etiquette to nix or limit visitors.

Since 2001, nanny expert Steve Lampert of eNannySource has helped more than 200,000 families & nannies communicate and manage the search process. For more information on how to find and keep a quality nanny, visit

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