The most famous nanny is Mary Poppins, but aside from flying over roofs, nannies are a major business. In the United States, they are sometimes confused with baby sitters, but there are vast differences.
Originally known as nurses, nannies ran all that concerned the children in a household. They tended to stay with families for years, even raising other generations. Nannies were mainly for the wealthy, and depending on the number of children, usually had an assistant.
Nannies assist parents in raising their children. They are in a sense surrogate parents. Depending on the financial situation of a family, a nanny can be employed for just room and board or make as much as $1,000 per week if they don't live on the premises. At minimum they must be paid the minimum wage of the state and proper taxes withheld.
For some reason wealthy Americans tend to like European nannies, so a nanny is usually hired for one year through an agency.
The children have a consistent caregiver which is essential in the formative years. Nannies that live in are able to save money if they have to go back to their country after a year. It helps the parents by relieving some of the parental duties.
Even if they come through an agency, their references should be checked. They should have taken care of children previously and have no criminal record. Research the agencies before using them because some of them charge prospective nannies large sums to register with them or even to talk to a potential family.
Jo Frost, host of Super Nanny
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