You’re shuffling up and down the aisles of Office Depot, checking off an ominous list of necessary supplies from your child’s new teacher. Missing from the list but apparent in your mind is a crucial and necessary item—an afternoon nanny.
You are not alone in the exhausting search for after school help! The need for (and lack of) afternoon nannies has risen to crisis level. In our office alone, we turn away an average of 5 parents daily, and have been since June! It raises the question, where have all of the after school nannies gone? And also, what can families to do to get by? Although we may not have all of the answers, we would love to share some insight on the causes of the crisis, and some possible solutions.
First, the causes:
1. Job description. Think about the position you’re trying to fill—pick up the children from school, prepare their snacks, help with homework, and drive them to various extra curricular activities. Most job descriptions of afternoon nannies are far less about connecting and being creative with children and are more about moving the children through a set routine.
2. The ideal after school nanny is your local college student. College students are ideal because of their availability, their ability to tutor, and the fact that school-aged children often respond best to younger authority. However, today’s students are focused on spending their time working in jobs that may lead to their career—and more often than not, that career is not in childcare. Combine this fact with impacted campuses and challenges college students face while trying to get their classes, and you end up with the inability to commit to more than a semester at a time.
So, here we are, in the beginning of a new school year, with an unmet need for after school care. What is a family to do?
1. Create a full time job to include more duties around the house. We’re not suggesting you rush out and fire your housecleaner, but consider adding some ‘family support’ duties such as: organizing projects around the house, doing your family’s laundry, shopping for groceries, picking up snacks for the soccer team, and so on. Having a Nanny/Family Assistant on board to alleviate your workload may be more helpful than you think! By offering 35-40 hours, you can attract a candidate who is a self-starter, loves children, AND is excited to have a variety of responsibilities that go along with the management of the home!
2. Consider a semester-to-semester time frame. Your afternoon nanny may not be able to commit for 2 years, 1 year, or even 8 months, but would you consider her help for 1 semester? Unlike when they were babies, consider the fact that your school-aged children are more accustomed to changes in teaching staff and coaches year to year, and therefore are better able to cope with a nanny who is on the team for a short time. This solution will attract the currently enrolled college student nanny.
3. Hire a driver—even if it’s a stopgap measure a few times each week. Consider utilizing a service like Boost By Benz. (For more information about their services, visit https://boostbybenz.com) Although this option may not fill all of your needs, it will get your child safely from point A to point B!
We know you’re exhausted, we know it’s frustrating out there, and we hope our ideas will help!
Although we are seeing a shortage of afternoon nannies, SPN continues to refer exceptional nannies for other types of schedules and for temporary and on-call needs. If you are fortunate enough to find an afternoon nanny on your own, we’d be happy to take her through our process with our a la carte background check option, details here.
And with the sound of the 3pm school bell, we wish you good luck and less stress!