Why is finding an afterschool nanny so hard?

Published: 11/08/2023

Finding the right childcare can be a challenge no matter what the age of your children. Even if you think you have found the perfect setup, the chances are this will all change when your child(ren) starts school. You no longer need that 50+ hour a week cover, but still need something outside the hours of 9am-3pm. This leads to the search for that most mystical of creatures - the perfect afterschool nanny. But why is this so hard to find?

We can’t fix that market, but we can offer our insight to explain why it’s so tough, and also provide some solutions.

Why is finding an afterschool nanny so challenging?

This type of nanny arrangement has been hard since forever. It's a structural market issue. Many parents need just a few hours of help in the afternoons, often not adding up to more than 15 or 20 hours of work per week, which in turn doesn't provide nannies with enough income to live a decent life (especially in London). Hence, there is a real lack of supply. And even if nannies do accept a role like this, the chances are they won’t stick around for long.

Nannies working part time could in theory find another job. However, there aren't many/enough morning nanny jobs to go around. So if they need to top up their hours they are often left with hospitality or cleaning jobs. Not exactly the dream for someone who wants to dedicate their life to working with children. Two jobs also means two bosses, which isn’t the ideal scenario for anyone. On top of that, many parents don't like "nannies" who do other types of jobs. They (understandably) want someone whose sole focus is going to be on their child, but only for a few hours a day.

Parents who are looking to hire afterschool nannies have typically had a full time nanny up until that point. And these “career nannies'' often feel like their very own Mary Poppins. They are used to having a supernanny around morning through to night, and they want their next nanny to live up to this. But the reality is that a lot of the nannies who work part time are going to have other priorities. Be that another job, their own children, or another commitment. This means parents may need to shift their expectations.

Nannying is a vocational job. It is something that nannies do because it is their passion, rather than purely for monetary gain (although this is important too). They actively enjoy the time they spend working with children, so they often want to spend a meaningful amount of time doing the job they love, rather than just a few hours a day. This means that the majority of career nannies wouldn’t consider an afterschool role.

How can parents increase their chances of finding an afterschool nanny?

Adding additional duties

The most common solution to this problem is parents giving nannies additional duties to bulk up the hours. Over the years we have learned that in order to make the role appealing and achieve some sort of acceptable longevity, parents need to offer at least 30 hours of work a week. Often, the 30 hours are a combination of nanny and housekeeping work or PA work.

Some parents choose to give up their cleaner and have a nanny housekeeper take on all the cleaning. This can work, but it also requires some sort of a compromise on expectations. It's hard to get an excellent nanny and excellent housekeeper in one. And if you are wanting someone who is also a whizz at helping with homework, it might not be the right option for you.

Other families keep their cleaner, but ask the nanny to take care of light duties around the house like batch cooking for the family, tidying and family laundry. PA or organisational duties can also be added in. This might include assisting with booking appointments, researching holidays or activities, booking flights, running errands, adding to the weekly food shop etc.

By adding in these extra tasks, you should be able to get the hours up to a point that means the nanny you employ is reliable and dedicated to the job.

Full time pay for part time hours

Another, more costly, option is to keep paying a full time nanny salary. Hiring someone on a full time basis, even if you don’t need the hours, is a way of ensuring that person is committed exclusively to your family and won’t need to take up alternative employment.

Given that school holidays can be pretty extensive (and families often need full time cover in the holidays) for some parents, the benefits of paying their nanny a full time salary throughout the year outweigh the cost in doing so. It also means that some families are able to keep on the original nanny rather than needing to search for someone new. On top of this, it ensures that nannies can be on call in case a child is sick or is unable to go to school for whatever reason.

A blended salary

As you will likely need a nanny full time during school holidays and half terms, you can offer a blended salary. This means calculating an average salary for the year, rather than counting the hours each month. If the nanny is going to be working full time for around 14 weeks and part time for 38 weeks you can calculate an average salary, meaning the nanny is paid the same each month regardless.

With this option you will still need to offer a decent amount of hours in term time, we wouldn’t recommend less than 25 hours. However, it is a way to offer a nanny a more regular income and make the salary more appealing.

Regular babysitting hours

You can bump up a nanny’s hours by offering them regular babysitting. This won’t be for everyone, as some nannies prefer to keep their evenings free. Some parents might also prefer to spend their evenings at home. However, if you and your partner want to schedule a regular date night, or you have other commitments that require a babysitter you can work this into the contract. Adding an extra 3-5 hours a week in babysitting can make a big difference to a part time role.

These are just some of the ways other parents tackle finding a reliable afterschool nanny. Finding the right nanny for your family is time consuming and exhausting, so you don’t want to be constantly starting a search because your nanny has quit. Hopefully with one or a combination of our tips, you can find someone who will stay with you longterm and build a strong relationship with you and your children.

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