Live-in Nannies

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Why is it so hard to find a live-in nanny?

Aug 2014

We have been looking for a live in female nanny in exchange for rent. We offer a private furnished bedroom, shared bath with the kids, all utilities, all meals, and a vehicle for use. We live up in a nice cul de sac of the Redwood Heights area in the Oakland hills and I believe rent around here runs pretty high. The market value here is about $1000 for a room, especially since it's furnished and with full privileges to the rest of the house. Plus there's the utilities, food, and vehicle. We asked for 20 hours a week of cooking and childcare for our 2 preschool aged boys - hours would be weeknights from 6-9, plus cooking time. We looked in May and the first one we got, the only one who really came through and wanted the job, wasn't cut out for the task. She tried hard to do it and simply couldn't take care of our kids by herself. She made great meals and was very accommodating, but we had to let her go in July. Then we started looking again and had better luck this time. After going through everyone who were initially interested there were several who truly wanted the position. We chose someone who started last week, middle of August. I turned down two other girls who would have been good as well to choose her, and one who didn't seem to be able to do it. This girl is quick and smart, but she had previously not been a nanny, she's only taught some classes to kids. She started with us and was really good at handling the kids. She quit after only 3 days using a false reason when she realized we expect her to be able to fully take care of the kids herself on the schedule we asked for and to put in the hours that we outlined, which she knew about and agreed to. For some reason she thought she was getting a free ride? I contacted the other girls I rejected right away and was lucky enough to get one of them to come in and she will move in today.

However I'm having a lot of thoughts about this whole situation. This last person really left a bad taste in my mouth. Why is it so hard for us to find a qualified candidate after all this time? Also, why is it so hard for people to understand the value of this exchange? I really felt we were offering a lot for what we're asking and should have nothing short of a qualified person who understands they are working off rent. Can someone give me some perspective here? Am I asking for too much? Can I ask for some insight on others' experiences when it comes to having a live in nanny who worked part time in exchange for rent? I would really like to have some kind of basis of comparison to see if my expectations should change. Should I be drawing up a contract with the new renter/nanny? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks very much. Exhausted working mom

I can't speak to the current market... But I was a live in nanny post-college. The parents too thought they were giving me a ''great deal'' by providing an extra room and a kitchen to cook in. I had no idea how much work was entailed in caring for young kids as a live in. Since I lived In the house, I often would be ''working'' even if it wasn't my hours, and there was not a lot of autonomy since it was a new city to me and I was broke since I was not getting paid. I suspect that folks looking for free rent may not fully grasp how intensive live in child care is. It took me a month to figure out that it was not a very even exchange (also, a higher need non verbal child). I'm sure others who've successfully hired live In nannies can offer a paradigm that works. I think you'll need to pay someone to get the service you are looking for Good luck. ..

The answer is simple. You need to pay the person. Free rent is not enough. Au pairs for example get free rent but are paid. So are nannies who live in. Kim

First, this is a situation where you are hiring an employee; of course you should have a contract. It seems you've had issues with expectations being very different between you and the people you hire, so outlining everything in writing prior to hiring someone would probably go far in assuring that you and the next person are on the same page.

Second, it seems to me that you think you're offering a really sweet deal to someone, and it just doesn't sound that way to me. I've worked as both a nanny and a personal chef, sometimes doing personal chef work for nanny clients, and am now a work-at-home-mom (in a different industry) who would love to hire a nanny but can't afford it. Why can't I afford it? Because nannies for 2 kids here, where both you and I live, run at least $20-$25/hour. Personal chef work, the other thing you're expecting your nanny to do, is more like $35-50/hour (depending on the type of food you want prepared.) So, with 15 hours/week of childcare and 5 hours/week of cooking, you are talking about $475/week MINIMUM you are asking in return for a $1k/month room (and, really, rooms without a private bathroom rent for $1k/month? I'll bet someone could find an in-law unit with a private bathroom and kitchen/kitchenette for not much more than that.)

You will get what you pay for in terms of childcare and household help. Realize that if you are looking for a Mary Poppins-type that will make every evening lovely with a home-cooked meal and wrangling your two tired children solo, the deal you're offering probably won't attract this miracle worker. People are smart enough to realize they can do this kind of work (at easier hours, not the witching hour/dinner hour every single day), make more money than your room+shared bathroom is worth, and have their own space. I don't even like sharing a bathroom with my OWN small child. you'd never know I lived in the servants' quarters

Well, let's see how it works out financially from the nanny's point of view. You say that your room with a shared bath goes for $1000. I live in the Claremont district of Berkeley, the most expensive neighborhood in Berkeley, and my neighbors rent bedrooms to grad students for about $800/month. So I think your bedroom in Redwood Heights with a shared bath is worth more like $800, max. In exchange you are asking for 20 hours of work a week. Hard work, as all parents know, caring for two pre-schooler boys while also cooking dinner. So you are essentially paying $800/mo, and there are 4.5 weeks in a month, times 20 hours a week, equals 90 hours a month. $800 divided by 90 hours = $8.88 per hour. Far lower than the average nanny salary of $20/hour for 2 children. You are providing a car, but that really is not a benefit if the nanny has the car because she must pick up or drop off kids or run errands. And, while rent and meals may be covered, the nanny has no other money unless she also works during the day, which means she is working from 9am till 9pm. This is obviously not a very appealing offer and I am surprised you found anyone foolish enough to accept it. mom of 3

the Cal Rentals web site suggests ''Work Exchanges Usually free in exchange for 10 to 15 hours of work per week''. So you are asking substantially more hours than they suggest. Also, even allowing a full retail rate for your room, her ''pay'' would only be about 12.50 an hour--for hard work. Finally, when we had a live-in nanny, we considered her room and board to be at least as much for our convenience as her ''benefit'' and paid her the going rate, ignoring the room and board. Admittedly she was full-time--but I think you're expecting too much. It is hard--but for both of you

Sounds like you are demanding a lot and not willing to pay the women anything. Just doesn't sound fair. Why aren't you paying any of these women anything? For what your are asking $1,500 would be fair. ANON

We have also tried the exact same situation with a cottage we have in our yard, renting it out in exchange for 20 hours a week. We had one amazing woman, who was with us for a year, and then a bad experience that made me decide to not do it anymore. I think it is asking too much.....someone who will be living with you AND someone who takes care of the kids AND someone who cooks/does household tasks. It's also just really uncomfortable to ask them to leave, and I don't want to go through that again.

If you have a nice home, you can afford to pay someone for 20 hours a week of work. Really. Also, your kids are young so remember, you won't pay that $$ forever - just several more years, which actually does go very quickly. If you need the rental income, just find a tenant. Make your life easy and be happy:)

Wait....I just re-read your want this person to do from 6pm to 9pm every weeknight? You mean this person needs to cook, clean, put them to bed, and more on a rent exchange? Sorry, but I think you are asking too much and wish you luck but think it will be difficult to find someone who fits all these bills. Childcare is hard

It sounds like you really want to understand ''why they don't get the value of this exchange''. If people don't really get the value, maybe it's not such a great deal....for them. While I'm sure your neighborhood is fine, why should a young person want to live all the way up in the hills, even if they do have access to a car, when they can live in a walking neighborhood with roommates their age for less? Yes, that home would not be as fancy, but so what? And food? When I was that age I ate pasta, and really didn't feel like I was ''missing out''. Clearly, people don't get the value of this, and there's a reason why. Good question

Your estimate your room is worth $1000/month. Let's add $400/month for board and the car. So the effective salary is $1400/month. You expect the nanny to work for approximately 88 hours per month (4 hours/day for the average 22 working days per month.) $1400/88 = $15.90/hour. You are offering less than the going rate for childcare for two children. See for 2008 numbers. This may explain your difficulties in finding a qualified candidate. Doing the math

Should you be drawing up a contract? YES!!! Jeez o' peets, what do you think everyone is good and kind? You're arrangement sounds fine, if it's really how you say. Watching the kids 20 hours and THEN cooking and cleaning? Or all during the same 20 hours? When I was a nanny 13 years ago, I didn't live with the people, worked 30 hrs a week, brought my daughter with me, and took home around $1200 a month. Given inflation, etc, the difference in hours, it seems about right. Get a contract, state everything very clearly. Don't worry about seeming uptight or anal, just do it. The right person will respect you're being professional. And if you didn't learn anything from the nanny who squatted in the home and won the right to stay, do extensive background checks, finger printing, even driving record. These are your babies, don't be trusting them to strangers living in your home!! sigh

Live-in nannies live in so they can work odd or irregular hours. They always live rent free to be available at those hours and they most always must be provided a car to transport the kids. I haven't heard of live-in nannies who don't get paid anything. They typically get paid for their service in addition because living rent free and getting fed free meals doesn't mean you do not need any additional money ever for other expenses.

If e.g. the nanny wants to go to school, she will need extra hours for that, and money to pay tuition and other fees. Clothes, phone, cosmetics & toiletries, transportation, books, socializing all cost money. So, while she could theoretically work in the hours she is not in charge of your kids, she still would need some income from you.

Nanny rate for 2 kids is easily $20/hour, especially when she is not just watching the kids, but cooking & doing other chores. For 20h/hour that is $80/day. For average 22 work days/month that amounts to $1760/month. $1000 for a room is rather steep and most definitely should include utilities. How big is ithe room? In any case there should be about $800 left to pay her. Please give her a reasonable hourly wage, so she can also have a life outside your home. I am afraid nannies won't stay long witout any additional pay.

I'm sure you will hear the same thing from many people: the problem is not that it is ''so hard for people to understand the value of this exchange''; the problem is that the exchange you're offering is a horrible, way-below-market, deal.

First, even assuming that the room you're offering should be valued at market ($1k/mo) -- which is an incorrect assumption (see below) -- that amounts to $1k for 90 hours of work; roughly $11/hour. That's roughly *half* of the going rate for nannying two kids. No one with any market option would ever consider taking you up on this.

Second, it makes no sense to value your room at ''market,'' because *no one* would spend the same money on a room in the house of her employer, living with the kids she is responsible for watching, as she would spend on a comparable room living with people with whom she does not have that power dynamic. I think you need to discount the value of that room by at least a third -- at which point you're offering less than $10/hour for a $20/hour job.

Bottom line: unless you can offer an additional $1000-1500 cash on top of the room, you're not going to get anyone remotely qualified, and you should rely on a different childcare option. Indentured Servitude

I don't have experience with live-in nanny situations, but from your description: yes, you are asking too much.

1) A quick search on craigslist suggests that your estimate for room rental is a little above average for the area (even considering utilities included). Especially since the situation will be renting a room from a family, rather than being cohabitants of a whole shared space.

2) Given the seemingly endless questions on BPN on what an equitable rate is for nanny, you're low-balling by a long shot. Since you're expecting 20 hours a week for cooking/care- that amounts to 12.50/hour and the going rate of caring for 2 children is hovering closer to 20.00/hour

3) You refer to these women as ''girls'' suggesting a) condescension b) they are very young. If the latter, it's likely that they don't know what they are getting into.

In your situation it seems like a better route would be to host an au pair. I'm not sure of the specifics but the living situation, hours of care required, and minimal additional stipend may better suit your needs. anon

Thoughts that come to mind are that you say that rent in your area might be $1000/mo for a room and you are asking for 20 hrs/wk work so just breaking down that math you are ''paying'' $12.50 an hr for the work you want done. Nannys generally make $18-$25 for 2 kids an hour and they get to go home. Understanding you also offer food, a car, etc but they do have to live in your house with your family so it is not the same for a young adult as living with roommates in a space in which they can do whatever they want. I would imagine the situation might feel very awkward and unmanageable for many-they have to eat the food you want, keep the house to the neatness level you want, follow whatever parameters you set for guests and friends; it is, after all, your house so she is not on equal footing at all. Also-a few questions to reflect on:

Are you home those evening hrs but expect her to put 2 kids to bed by herself without the kids bothering you? This seems like it might be hard-after all, if it was easy, you'd probably do it yourself. And this is often the time of day that kids and parents struggle the most. How hard or easy are you as a family to live with? Just suggesting you reflect on how easy going or not you might be and how welcoming the parameters you set for someone are to live there. What did you tell the person about friends/overnight guests/coming in late, drinking, etc when off duty. If these ladies are young adults this is all important.

How difficult are your kids to manage and what ages are they? Maybe you would get further if in the initial discussion you said it was a cooperative dialogue as to what the expectations would be. Maybe EVERY weeknight is hard or unappealing? Did you ask their needs and wants prior to picking and figure out if they fit with yours? Could you ask the one who just quit nicely for feedback? Could you connect with her and just honestly and with an open heart say that you understand it didn't work out, her reason seemed not honest and it would be really helpful for you to know what, if anything, you did wrong or didn't work so you can find someone new and not make the same mistakes. maybe you will learn something.

I think you should approach this knowing the right fit may not be easy. I would definitely offer to pay someone a few nights a week for a few weeks to come over and do the routine before moving them in to see how it goes if possible.

Good luck the livin ain't always easy

I'm unclear from you post how much you are paying her, minus the cost of the room, or course. if you are paying $25/hr for 20 hours a week that's $500 per week so if the room is $1000/month, you should still be paying $1000 for a 4 week period on top of the room. If your agreement is such that they don't get paid anything above the cost of the room, they will have to work outside on top of the hours you need from them and that would be more of a challenge to juggle. If you want this to work, you have to make sure you don't set people up for failure. anon

CONTRACT, CONTRACT, CONTRACT. No matter what the situation, please have a contract. This is basics for any Nanny job. Just recently, I believe in San Mateo, a couple had a live in nanny and they tried to get ride of her and have move out, but it took a while and a costly Lawyer. Start on a trial bases, and state that in the contract. Protect yourself and be fare to the Nanny. You get what you give. Nobody wants to work for free. . Good luck. Mom

As someone who has done live in work for families I can tell you, that for me, the value of a room in my employer's home is about $300/ month (sure younger people might agree to a lot higher, but they are less skilled and not good at advocating for themselves or being direct when they feel uncomfortable about something). Would you pay market value for a room in the middle of your office living with your boss? Would you pay market value for a room in your office that you had to be in on your days off with your boss, or before you'd had coffee? If you offer a deal that doesn't feel like you are creating an indentured servitude situation you will find a great candidate who will stay a while. And yes, absolutely have a contract. Lindsey J.

Bay Area nannies, KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Do NOT be exploited. Call if you need help. To the original poster: I have a feeling you realize this fact, since you did not attempt to go through an au pair agency in the first place, but the reason you are having a difficult time hiring a nanny for the position you have outlined is that your offer is both exploitative and illegal.

Here are some legal guidelines to hiring a nanny, easily available after a quick web search:

You may be interested in this recent news story, which involved a family attempting to fire a nanny who was working in exchange for housing, with no pay. You may need to be reminded that tenant laws in Berkeley make it very hard to evict someone who has taken up residence in your home:

I am continually amazed at the way parents in this area treat their nannies. The argument is usually that they simply can't afford to pay a living wage to the person caring for their most valuable assets. If you are feeling this overwhelmed and overworked, may I suggest that you quit your day job and run your home in the manner you seem to feel entitled to. If that is not something you can afford, maybe you could see your way to adjusting your lifestyle so that you are not operating at such a deficit. Honestly. It's mind-boggling.

Yes, you need to recalibrate your expectations or your offer. Assuming you're right about the market value of the room (although it sounds a little high, for a shared bath esp.), you're asking for 80 hours of work for $1000. That's $12.50 per hour. That's low for a nanny or cook - probably about right for an occasional babysitter who can go home and have privacy, but that's not your situation. I imagine most candidates can find higher wages, more flexibility, and/or more privacy elsewhere. And definitely get an agreement in writing.

I think you are off in your valuations and I'm not surprised you're not getting professional, useful and reliable responders. We're in Marin and pay our nanny $15/hr for 1 child (while my older is in school) and the going rate for 2 is often $18-22. Based on that alone, $1000 in ''rent'' would buy you 50 hours of childcare (middling it at $20/hr, not the 80 hours you are expecting, which translates to $12.50/hr. The other benefits you list are worth something, but not as much as I think you're ascribing to them and you'd have to have an incredibly clear written agreement around the car - who pays for and maintains insurance, etc. I pay high school kids $10/hr to do their homework when the kids are asleep and we go out :)we've listed our guest room for rent on Airbnb over the past year and have made tons of money doing so until we found it it was against our HOA rules. It felt weird to have some one pay me $100 to sleep in our guest room while we paid a sitter $50 to go out to dinner and a movie, but things get far murkier and the pool shrinks quite a bit when you try to merge to two without formal agreements and market rate compensation. Have you looking into a straight rental of your room and then using that money towards hiring the childcare helper of your dreams? best of luck - it's not easy to find good fits for your family for both of the things you are looking for! always looking for creative solutions mama

The answer is in your own posting. Not to sound harsh, but you expect far too much and offer too little.

You fired your first nanny despite making ''great meals'' and being ''accommodating,'' which indicates you asked her to make a lot of changes and she really tried to please you, but evening childcare for 2 rowdy pre-schoolers was too much.

The second one quit almost immediately once she realized what she had taken on: simultaneous child-care during the most difficult hours of the day, and dinner preparation (and clean up?), while being cheerful and accommodating.

You need to re-think what you are offering versus what you are expecting.

--A single room in the home of a family you work for isn't worth $1,000/month, even if it includes ''free run of the house''. It's not her house, it's your home. She can't do whatever she wants there.

--A bathroom shared with two pre-school children isn't a perk, it's a pain. For many people it's a deal-breaker. Take $300 off the value of the room right there.

--The car is a great perk but I am sure is required because there's very little public transit. And I am sure she has the use of it primarily for local errands and picking up the kids, so it's not like the freedom of owning your own car.

--The nanny has very little protection. She's a live-in servant. It's a position that leaves her completely at the mercy of your unwritten expectations. If nanny doesn't measure up, she has to find somewhere new to live, although she's not paid so she has no way to save money to move.

--She has no way to take care of personal needs, medical care, etc. She can't save a dime, so it's a trap.

Please re-think this position. You need to define it so your nanny is treated like a person in her own right, not as an appliance to be tossed out if she doesn't work. Allocate more hours; write up a contract that lists expectations, responsibilities, and rights of both sides; pay some cash. --A little bit shocked

The going rate for a nanny to two children is far more than you are trying to pay your nanny. You want to pay your nanny between 10-12 dollars an hour. Your nanny is going to have more expenses to pay for than just rent. Food, health insurance, phone bill, potentially student loans, etc. It may be very difficult for someone to find another job that fits in the hours she doesn't need to work for you and pays enough money to cover the rest of her expenses. You are pretty much looking for someone whose parents/family are still supporting them because you are not paying her at all. Taking care of two children and preparing meals is challenging work. You may find someone to do it for you, but you are exploiting your nanny. Please rethink your plan. You've got to take care of the people who take care of your kids

As a former nanny (started a professional job recently), I think you are overvaluing the benefits of letting someone live in your home and work for you. I wouldn't pay you $1000 for the privilege of living in your furnished home, use of a car, and sharing a bathroom with your preschool boys. I doubt you could find anyone who would do that, so stop doing the math based on that. It might be worth $1000 to someone if they had total freedom, as they would in a roommate situation, but the live in nanny would most definitely not get that.

Also, your math calculations are pretty poor, if you're expecting 20 hours a week at the normal nanny rate at about $18-20 per hour, that's $360-400 per week for your two kids. That's at least $1440 - 1600 per month. $1000 a month is far under that in value.

So you're getting inexperienced people, asking for far more work than is fair in this situation, and they have no idea what to do on the job. You can consider an au pair, and pay a fair wage.

Living with a family is like being on the job 24/7, even if they are pretty good about giving you freedom and letting you have not working time. I've never wanted such a job, as there are very few boundaries and the potential for boundary problems are huge (even in a professional nanny position, boundary issues are rampant, in my experience).

Try reading up on fair wages, how to host a live in nanny, and fair expectations for this kind of job. I think it's possible, but not at your current expectations. You need to redo your math and really consider what is valuable to others (not just to yourself). recalculating...


Live-in Nanny Boundaries

Aug 2013


For the past year, we have had a live-in nanny (and a nannyshare) who is also a family member. This is a delicate situation with a triple relationship going on (roommate, employer/employee, sibling) so from the beginning we have committed to keep lines of communication open. And for the most part it works for all parties, especially my son, which is the most important thing. She genuinely loves my son and is great with him. However, she she lives quite the party lifestyle. We don't want to interfere with her personal life. But sometimes she makes us nervous by partying all weekend long, coming home late Sunday night or even early Monday morning. She doesn't do drugs, but does drink alcohol to excess on the weekends. Once had to I call in sick, not knowing if she was coming home at all (she did at 6AM). We had a talk with her about communication, but her improvement was temporary. She is mostly responsible, but with just enough incidents like that one to make us wonder when the next one is coming. Maybe a handful in the past year. After such an incident, I had a talk with her about moderation. Having fun in her free time and finding time on Sunday to rest before work Monday morning. (Like the rest of the working world) I have seen her crawl out of bed in a condition I wouldn't want her watching my child, and out of the house to watch her other child. When confronted, she is very good about hearing and acknowledging our feedback. But any change is minimal and temporary. My husband had a long talk with her 2 nights ago about being a responsible adult, managing priorities and respecting the house. What we don't want is to enforce rules or curfews. We just want her to regulate herself. I try to remember that if she didn't live with us, we wouldn't know what we know about her lifestyle. But we all understand that this is a side effect of the arrangement. She watches up to 3 children at a time and this is no small feat. It requires a clear head and a decent nights sleep. My husband was clear that if she did not start doing these things, we would have to let her go (honestly if she wasn't a family member, and wasn't living with us, we would have done this long ago.) This is not something we want to do. We do not want her to be homeless, we do not want to find another roommate or nanny, and most importantly, do not want to put my 2-year-old son through such an upheaval. So I would like to hear from others who have a live-in nanny (not necessarily family) about how you handle the dual relationship. Do you set boundaries about what time they come home on work nights? Where exactly do you draw this line? Didn't sign up to parent my nanny

I have had 5 live-in Au Pairs and first let me say that I can really appreciate this issue, as I dealt with it a lot. I can also really appreciate the additional trickiness of navigating this because she is a family member. After encountering this initially with my first au pair, I decided that I was just not comfortable with someone partying late night and then taking care of my 3 kids while exhausted. So I made the rule that they needed to be home 6 hours before their shift was to begin. When they were not working early, then they could stay out until whenever, but that was my line of comfort. Of course, it was a bit easier to implement with an au pair, because I had an agency and coordinator as a resource to see how other host families handled it, what was fair, and what was ''normal''. I am not going to say it was all smooth sailing, as it wasn't...they would be late and I would be furious. They felt like they were being treated as children, I felt that MY children were my priority. By the last 6 months with my last Au Pair, we negotiated that I would ''relax'' on the six hour rule, but honestly, what I witnessed (staying up late partying, tired and dragging the next day) really infuriated me. By that time, I decided I was done with having live in help and I just wanted a responsible, mature, rested sitter who had to support herself so took her job seriously. Over the four years I had live in help, I often felt that I had 4 kids, instead of 3 and the ''4th'' was taking up more energy and emotional output than was worth it. Yes, they all loved my kids, and when rested, they were great...but I was really exhausted managing them ''helping'' me. I know its rough, but I would implement some rules, and if she can't live with them, then end the agreement. I kept having that nagging feeling that what if something happened to one of my kids, b/c they were overtired, hungover, just was not worth the stress of managing!!! Best of luck! mama bear of 3

If this were not your family member, you would have said, ''sorry, this isn't working for us.'' You said as much. So say it now and give her two weeks notice. If she values her job, she'll straighten up, but don't count on it. She will make a choice and you do not have to worry about or mother her. What you don't need is extra stress. A nanny is supposed to lower your stress! Good luck.

I fully appreciate how difficult your situation is, as we had a nearly identical arrangement with my own sister a few years ago. She moved to CA from another state and lived with us for a year in exchange for being a nanny to my daughter. The challenges were almost identical to yours - excessive (in my view) partying and alcohol consumption in her free time, first on weekends, then occasionally during the workweek. I've also had to call in sick once, because an ''I am going to hang out with my friends for a couple of hours'' turned into an all-nighter, and without any communication from her I had no idea if she was going to show up (she did, in the morning). Like you, we had numerous conversations with her, during which she said all the things we wanted to hear, only to go back to her old ways. On the one hand, I did not want to be dictating my sister how to live her life. On the other, had a non-relative nanny showed up at my door in the morning looking like a roadkill after a night of partying, she would have been fired immediately. Being a child care provider is extremely challenging mentally and physically, you need to be alert 100% of the time, which, let's be honest, is nearly impossible after a night of drinking. I felt very guilty for terminating the arrangement, but I also felt it was extremely unfair of her to be putting me in a position of accepting subpar care for my kid, just because we are related. I found a wonderful preschool for my daughter and told my sister she can stay with us for a couple of months while she was looking for a job and a roommate. If she was offended by this, she never showed it and our relationship today is cordial. Oh, by the way, she is currently in rehab. I know it's tough, but your sister will not change and your obligation is to your child, not to her. Been There


Live-in nanny, part time - what's reasonable?

Oct 2012


We have a one bedroom apartment on the ground floor of our home in Alameda, and we are expecting our second child at the end of December. We are hoping to find a nanny or caretaker that would live in the apartment and provide part-time care either in exchange for rent or in partial exchange for rent. Does anyone have experience with this type of situation? We don't need full-time care, but do need at least three days per week and one evening. Is it reasonable to ask for this? We would keep a regular schedule, determine a range of total care hours, keep the rent reduction the same each month even if we did not use all hours, and then we presume the person would have another job or be in school outside of the time we need them. Thanks in advance for any experience you can share. Sue

I suggest that you figure out the two halfs separately then put them together. Look at prices of apartments in your area to figure out how much your unit is worth. Then research the cost of a nanny. Put those two numbers together, and you can figure out what is reasonable yourself. Anon

Having been a live in care provider I have to say that the value of the housing provided in exchange should be valued at well below market rate if it is not a fully detached unit. Imagine if you lived in the middle of your office where you would run into your boss Sunday morning in the break room when you were groggy and had not yet had coffee and she started asking you work related questions- would you pay the same amount of rent for this scenario versus your own house that was completely separate from your work? Or imagine your boss forgetting to close the door to the shared bathroom that was connected to both of your bedrooms and you came home to see your boss having sex with some random guy (yes this happened to me!) Or the kids are up screaming and wake you up at 6am every day, but you are not on duty until 8:30am. IT'S JUST NOT THE SAME as your own private space. Please be fair when assessing a value to the exchange. Lindsey


Expecting twins - live-in nanny?

Feb 2012


My partner and I are expecting twins in July and need to find a nanny. We will both be home initially, but after a few months I will be returning to work. We need someone during the day, but anticipate that there will be times we would want some help overnight. I'm reluctant to have someone live with us full time, he is more open to that idea. We have an extra bedroon, though it is not attached to its own bathroom, on the main floor of the house; our room and the nursery will be up one floor.

I'd appreciate hearing people's thoughts about sharing space with a nanny, as well as what we should expect to pay in salary. One thing that occurs to me is that if we want someone to be available at night and during the day, it might need to be two people. How common is it for people to have a daytime nanny and then someone else who could come over some nights? Thanks! mom2b

Hi there, I'm a mostly fulltime stay at home mom (worked PT with a nanny before no. 2) and I spend a lot of time talking to and watching nannies. Having had two kids right in a row, both with colic, reflux and sleep issues, I can imagine the kind of help you will need though twin moms will know even more. I would strongly recommend two nannies in your situation. One who is FT 50 hours per week, M-F, 10 hours per day. She would be long term and hopefully would not hold any other jobs, so she wouldn't be sick too often, etc. Then, I would get temporary night nurse help for 3-6 months (who uses your extra room) and then reassess at that point to see what you will need. The night nurse should be able to help sleep train the babies in whatever manner you are comfortable with (from strict to not strict) and get everyone on the right track. Then you can figure out how much more help you will need. It is possible she could get them sleeping through the night by then, depends on the baby.

Nannies need rest too and they get burned out. I see it. The best nannies usually are FT, on salary, and their families keep them forever, but the best ones never work 24 hour shifts. They charge a tiny bit more and often want taxes paid and paid time off, etc. But they are worth it. If you can get a nanny/night nurse who has done twins before, perhaps from a twin network, maybe one whose current twins are going to preschool, you would probably be really happy. Just my two cents. Good luck! carrie

Hi there, I am an experienced (with twins) night nanny/postpartum doula. It seems as though night help for twins with an experinced qualified night nanny, night nurse or postpartum doula is about $30 - $40 per hour. A daytime nanny rate is in the range of $18 - $22 per hour (this is all based on experienced and qualified nannies).

It would be very hard to find someone to do both and I think you will not get the best result as the person will be burnt out. The other thing is that day time nannies would not have the same training and experience as a night time nanny.

In general night nannnies come over at 10pm and stay until 6am so she could just stay in your extra room (with babies right after birth, and then have a monitor once babies are ready for their own rooms). The day time nanny could then come over and do the day shift.

You will find that it is actually hard to come across live-in nannies and that you will still end up paying a similar salary as a live out.

I hope this helps!! Lindsay


Do I need a live-in nanny for a month for newborn?

Jan 2011


My husband and I are expecting our first baby in April. A few of our friends have recommended that we get a live-in Chinese nanny for our first month. It is a Chinese custom to hire an experienced lady to come live in your house for a month. The nanny cooks nutritious food for the mother and helps to take care of the baby, so the mother can rest after delivery. My husband thinks this is a good idea, but I am not sure I want someone else to be taking care of our first-ever baby. Tired as I might be, wouldn't I want to do this myself? Our parents will be coming to visit, but they are elderly and have health problems and cannot be depended upon to do much baby care. My husband will be home for a few weeks after the baby is born; after that, he will return to work. I wanted to hear from anyone else who has hired a live-in nanny for the first month, especially from someone who has used one of those traditional Chinese nannies. Was it helpful? Was your nanny any good? Do I need one? Can I just hire someone to do some cooking and light housework instead? This is our first baby so I have no idea what to expect, or what to do to prepare; any insight, advice, or experience would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!! --TZ

Personally I wouldn't want such a nanny, although there were times when it would sound good. Most women in the world don't have the luxury, and I think I can be as good as mom as most women. Sometimes this might reflect some anxiety on the part of dad, how his role will change and wanting to outsource the work. He might (no, he will) have to step up and do more, in support of your inevitable distraction with baby care and/or breastfeeding. Life will change, and you will both/all three figure it out, and it will be different and pretty soon get easier.

If people do come to help, or if you hire someone, your job is baby and they can do whatever else you usually do. Taking baby to bed with a lot of something to drink and resting and breastfeeding on and off for a few days is a great way to recover and to bond and to make milk come in faster. If you have a lot of 'expert help', you might pick up a few tips but you also might end up feeling inadequate and in the end you're the one who will learn the most about your baby and what s/he likes and needs. Having another person besides dad in the mix just confuses things, to my way of thinking. Good luck with whatever you decide!

Hi! We hired a temporary nanny through a local agency before our baby was born. I know a lot of places offer night nurses etc, but I wanted to be part of those first few weeks, and feel it is important for bonding. It was fantastic! She took care of everything I wanted to avoid, giving me the time and peace of mind to relax and enjoy those first few months. When I went back to work she stayed on full-time to care for my daughter. It has been a great experience. June

Hello, Im about to give birth to my second baby (due in 2 weeks) and yes, yes, yes.... get the extra help if you can. For my second one, I'm insisting on having a night nurse a few nights a week to help with the night shifts. You will have plenty of time to care for and bond with your baby. For my first one, I had a nanny for 1/2 day after 6 weeks and I wish I had gotten her earlier. She was a godsend. They help you with everything, and show you how to do things. It's always different when you're home with your first one, to actually give a bath for the first time, give a bottle or breastfeed, swaddle, etc.... It's one thing to read about it and take a class, another to do it with your own baby. Having someone help so you can nap and get rest, help with stuff around the house, or even help so you can get out for a walk and get a few minutes to yourself to shower, etc.. is SO valuable. I wouldn't hesitate at all to do this. You will appreciate it, trust me. The first few months are really hard, and the extra help is invaluable. Good luck!! Lisa

Well, define need?! I don't think you need one - the question is, do you want one? Maybe you, like me, wouldn't sleep as well with a stranger in the house and you would feel like you needed to be dressed, have your house clean, etc etc. all of which could be stressful. But, that said, I would take as much help as you could get. I really felt like I wanted to prove to someone (unclear who) that I could be super-mom and handle everything on my own. In hindsight, that was one of my dumber parenting decisions. No gold medal was issued and the memories of those first few weeks are a haze, except I remember yelling at my husband a lot. Not good.

Just make sure you get someone you like and who will do want you want her to do. I think paid help could actually be a lot better than a family member - they'll do things the way you want and you don't have to think about whether they are judging you (the way I always feel like my MIL is).

-- After baby is born, you need someone whose main task for the first few weeks is to take care of YOU and to handle whatever household jobs you normally do, but aren't up for in those first few weeks as you recover from the birth and get to know your baby. Many new parents are lucky enough to have family members or good friends who can fill that role, either staying overnight or just visiting daily to prepare food, do laundry, run errands, and sure, hold the baby while you take a shower or a nap. (Most newborns need to be in physical contact with a loving caregiver pretty much 24/7 - which goes part of the way toward explaining why new parents have such trouble accomplishing anything. :)) If you don't have relatives to call on, though, it's not a bad idea to hire a post-partum doula or other household help.

No, you don't really need or want a short-term ''nanny'' who is going to take over caring for your baby! However, you may find yourself very appreciative of having someone else around who can change diapers, teach you how to use a baby carrier, help you learn to breastfeed, show you some baby- soothing tricks, help you develop a daily routine that works for your family, etc. Of course, in order for this to happen, the person you hire must not only be good at caring for a newborn baby, but must also be supportive of YOUR parenting style and preferences. Among the most obvious examples: Assuming you intend to breastfeed, it's counterproductive in the extreme to hire someone who considers preparing formula bottles part of her job description.

The ideal length of time to have some household help, and whether that help should be ''live-in'' or not, varies from family to family, depending on what kind of birth experience you have as well as the size of your home, your cultural background, your personal preferences about privacy. Some people go stir crazy if they sit at home alone but for the baby for a week, while others really enjoy having a ''babymoon'' with no ''outside'' people disturbing them at all for a month or more. Most, of course, are somewhere in between.

Bottom line, I'd go ahead and hire someone, in keeping with tradition, but I'd make sure that person's job was mostly to take care of the parents and the household, not the baby - and that I got along with her well enough to be sure she wouldn't be undermining me as a new mom when I was at my most vulnerable! Interview some people and see if you can find the right fit. Good luck! Holly

Does one NEED a live-in nanny for a newborn? Or course not. Neither I nor 99.9% of the people I know would be alive if a mother and father couldn't manage to take care of a newborn on their own. I think you'd get off on a better foot, feeling confident about your parenting, if you didn't hire a crutch. Also, I wouldn't want the intrusion on those first family days. Suck it up, lose sleep, let things slide, and live those first days like a grown up. --

So much depends on the kind of baby you will have, on your own temperament and on the kind of relationship you have with your husband and family. Speaking for myself, I would have to say that in retrospect, having a live-in nanny for a month would have been a godsend. Even under the best of circumstances, newborn babies shatter, and I mean shatter, mom's sleep schedule. Without someone there to take care of the essential household chores and basic meals, even the most resilient of us will get run down. And there is simply no greater gift than having the luxury of resting as much as possible so that you can enjoy the baby to the utmost. In my most desperately sleep deprived moments, my biggest sadness and regret was that I was not as present for the baby as I wished to be. My baby needed to be walked and rocked almost constantly, and there were days when I simply could not do this for her because of my exhaustion. The result was an unhappy crying baby and an unhappy, exhausted mama. If you can afford it, get the nanny. You just won't believe how grateful you are going to be for the help. What a wonderful tradition! Anon

Well -- I don't know if a live-in person would be different, but my mother stayed with us for two weeks after our babe was born. We weren't sure how we would feel about this, but it very quickly became clear that it was wonderful! I was able to get two full weeks of bed rest and relaxation and enjoying my babe and my honey, and my mom did the cooking and cleaning and helping with baby in the middle of the night (a few stitches made it very hard to sit up to change a diaper or nurse). So -- treat yourself for two or three weeks and get some help! Just make it clear that you are taking care of the baby unless you ask for help and your live-in lady is helping with the chores. Mothling Mama

I'm sure you don't have to have one but as someone who had my mother come for 4-6 weeks after the birth of each child it was great to have so much help. Don't worry they won't be taking care of the baby - they'll be taking care of you (that first week you are pretty immobile), the house, meals etc. So not an absolute necessity but certainly a nicety if you are not opposed to it for any other reason than you think they'll be doing your job. That gives you time to completely focus on your baby, and yourself. And maybe get some daytime naps that you might otherwise not - babies are a really mixed bag when it comes to sleeping! good luck!

I had a sitting-month with both kids. My mom came to help out, cook, etc for a month. I say you should do it if you can afford it and can find the right person. Not all live-in Chinese nannies are great and if you don't find the right one, it could be more trouble.

There's nothing wrong with getting help! You can't do it all by yourself and it's very important that you rest and recover. I know how w/ first-borns we want to do everything and spend all our time with our baby. But get someone to help you clean the house, cook meals, wash the baby. Then you can spend the time you do have not sleeping bonding with the baby. Some live-in nannies will sleep w/ baby and bring them to you when it's time to feed. Just figure out what you want and find one who'll do it your way. If you don't want to do live-in, then you can try ishan house. They deliver food for the sitting month. anon

In my own opinion, part of the experience of being a mom a, is to experience being a mom to a newborn which is often very challenging but totally do-able. Millions of mothers do it. You are able. The experience permeates your being in many ways and in my opinion shapes you in a transforming way. My guess is that people who take care of their children are more bonded than those who hire surrogates. Sometimes going through something rigorous in a healthy and natural way makes people closer and stronger. I did not have a nanny or post-birth doula but had friends who made food. I don't think it's necessary to have someone living with you. But if you can afford it, why not hire someone to cook and clean while you bond with your baby? That would be really nice. natural mama

I was in your shoes 3 years ago. I thought I could handle it all and did not predict the medical complications post birth. I could not walk for 2 wks post birth without pain so could not do much baby care besides breast feeding her. Then I had to be hospitalized 6 wks later and had to call in emergency care from family members. If I were to do it over again, I would hire the Chinese nanny at least the month prior to birth AND subsequent months to help me and the new baby. Since then, we hired a live-in and she has stayed with us ever since and is the best decision we've made. Write if you want to know more. Lynn


Compensation for live in nanny shared with another family

Aug 2009


I'm considering having a live-in nanny, and also sharing this nanny with another family. I'm wondering what the typical terms are, assuming rent and utilities are provided. Specifically:

- Weekly salary to care for two kids? Could it work to have the other family that's sharing the nanny pay $10/hour, so the nanny would earn $400/week?
- Is food included? How does this work?
- Are other benefits provided?
- Does the person have full run of the home as would a roommate, or is it understood that there are kitchen privileges and occasional use of common areas, but otherwise the nanny's primary living area is her room? Thanks. JB

I was a live-in nanny in between college and grad school a decade ago (1998-1999). I applied through an agency in order to have some social/legal support and background info. on the family I would be working for. The family gained the security of knowing the agency had cleared my background and felt I was well qualified. You might consider looking into agencies in the area that would provide that service.

I was given a salary of approximately $400/ week for a set schedule of 50 hours of work (including one evening), watching 3 young children (same family), as well as a furnished room and private bathroom, private phone line, use of a mini-van during work hours and a sedan on my off hours, weekends off, 2 weeks paid vacation, paid holidays, and health benefits. My employer did factor in what a typical studio rent would have been in the area I was working to set the salary, but was also aware of the going rates for professional nanny and wanted to be competitive. My room had a television and a seating area, so I didn't feel much need to be in the main house on my off-hours, but I was also provided food and had free use of the kitchen.

Since experienced nanny-share providers earn upwards of $20/ hour and rooms in shared housing can rent for as little as $500/month, there needs to be some serious thought given to what benefits the nanny would receive from the situation you are offering if you want to attract a quality provider. once a nanny, now a mom

You probably COULD find someone to do it, but I dunno, it sounds like a lot to expect from someone for only $400 a week and room and board (unless you live in a beautiful house with spacious (and separate) quarters for the nanny and would provide the nanny with a car.) I think the going rate for a nanny share is around $3500 month in the Bay Area, I doubt that a room in your house (where one would inevitably be asked to help with an extra diaper or bottle warming after hours) is worth $1600/month. anonymous

1/ The family housing the nanny-being-shared should pay roughly 1/4 to 1/3 of her wages. $10/hour is too low, even as a live-in. $2-3 more per hour with a live-in sounds balanced and fair.

2/ Yes, all food is included as part of the deal.

3a/Hiring a live-in nanny means you pay all the basic living expenses. This includes food eaten at home, housing costs incl. utilities and usually phone/internet line. Also, you pay for all the TP and basic cleaning products. Of course you'll have to build in paid sick time and annual vacation time for her too. Nanny usually pays for her own toiletries.

3b/ Points of negotiation. Many families offer other things to become more attractive to a quality caregiver. This could include any of the following: long distance phone charges (or a cell phone with minutes), health insurance, gym membership, car, car insurance, as you see fit. Everyone knows we're in a recession. If your income has been hit, nannies will understand they can't have everything on that list. Just offer what you can reasonably afford and feel good about.

4/ Honestly, in my experience, sometimes yes and sometimes no (allowed in the house vs. stay in their room). But let's paint a picture: you're working for someone and during your free time at home, you're confined to your jail cell...uh, I mean bedroom. You're begrudgingly allowed time to quickly and quietly get your own food and occasionally be in other parts of the house, but you always feel strongly unwanted. Does this sound like a fun life or does it feel more like slavery, where you're barely allowed to exist as your own person? I have been the nanny expected to perform whenever wanted, and then expected to be unseen when not wanted. I was made to feel very unwelcome at other times, even if no words were spoken. It was awful. I personally feel that while you can get away with the ''stay in your room and just come out for food briefly'', it's a terrible thing to do. If you aren't open to living as roommates and don't have the setup to offer her a guest cottage, then you're not the personality type to host a live-in employee.

5/ More things to consider: Your nanny will be an adult who has a personal life outside of work. She will want to live her life as she sees fit. Are there any possible incompatibilities there, say, if her boyfriend sleeps over sometimes, or is she not allowed to have a sex life in the home she makes her life in?


2004 - 2008 Discussions



Ending Relationship with Live-in Nanny

Oct 2008


My family finds itself in an unusual situation. We recently moved abroad from the Bay Area and we brought the nanny who has taken care of our child for the past nine months with us to our new country and home. The nanny is young and unattached and liked the idea of travel and we had space in the new house. Our nanny works part-time and so has a lot of free time. We retained our original pay arrangement with the nanny (same hourly rate, no charge for room) because we felt it was a lot to ask someone to relocate even though it was also an exciting opportunity and it was important to us to have a consistent caretaker for our child, especially during such a transition.

While we really like this person, we have found that we do not enjoy living with an additional person. We have also ended up having to spend much more time together than we had envisioned, including meals, for which we pay and which we cook. It has certainly been helpful to have the same caregiver with our child, but we are wondering how long we will able to sustain this relationship, both financially and emotionally. How should we handle this situation? We do not wish to alienate someone who has been a positive force in our family for many months, but we also do not think that we can continue as is. anon.

I was in your nanny's position once. When I was younger (pre marriage and kids) I moved (only 500 miles not abroad) to nanny for a family. Getting acclimated took some time. I was full time, and ended up feeling like I NEVER left the house! It was hard for me, normally independent to be in the house on the weekends or eating dinner with the same people I've spent my whole day with. After about 8 months, I asked them if they would mind if I moved out. To find out they were feeling just as I was that living in was far more than we both expected. So maybe an open dialog with this woman who has been part of your family for 9 months, and is a large part of your children's lives would be best. Or you could ''phase out''. Tell her the expenses have been more than anticipated and if she'd like to stay that you'll need to reduce her hourly wage. And then maybe you could look up a community forum and find some activities that she may like and give those to her. Getting her out of your house, and feeling less financially burdened will probably help you a great deal. Though you aren't wrong for just telling her, that you feel it's not working out and you will be happy to give her a reference letter and pay for her expenses to move home (assuming she has somewhere to call home).

It really is a tough spot you're in, but just remember you asked her to join you for a reason, and being that she's been there so long, I'm sure an open conversation will be ok and good for you both!

Good luck! Former ''Live in''

Ouch - this isn't an easy one. We recently had to ask our live-in nanny to leave (local nanny who moved in from nearby), and it was very difficult. It's one thing to tell someone their job is ending, but two things to tell them that AND they need to move their stuff out. And you brought her abroad - not easy.

Since you have a good relationship with her, and in your email you clearly express concern in wanting to do the right thing, that will help. As the holidays are coming, it's a good time to make a change. My suggestion would be to sit down with her and explain how much you have valued having her help you and how important she is to your family. Then I would explain that your experience abroad has turned out different from what you anticipated, and that living with someone outside your family isn't something you're ok with at this point. I would take FULL responsibility for being the one who set up this failing arrangement. (Not to be harsh on you, but you did set it up - as I set up mine, which also failed.) You thought it would be nice, but had problems you didn't see. Apologize to her for not realizing the situation fully.

Then, I would say to be as generous as you can afford to. Obviously pay for her flight back home, and I would think several weeks pay. If she leaves soon, she could come back and find something for the start of the new year, which is a time people are often looking for nannies. It won't be easy, but considering today's calendar date, I would say the sooner the better. Good luck Say it sooner than later

Please tell me you had a contract with this person before having her move into your home and move to another country! I would say the right thing to do would entail giving her plenty of notice so she can figure out what she wants to do next--ie, try to find a way to stay in the new country or go back home--and then buy her her ticket home or give her an equivalent amount of money if she wants to stay in the country, outside of your home, for awhile. anon


Live-in Nanny pay and benefits

Sept 2006


I would like to hear from other people about pay and benefits packages for nannies. Ours wants more money and I want to hear what others think of what we are providing. Our arrangement is a bit complicated. She lives in a 500+ sq ft studio on our property with her boyfriend. Utilities, cable, internet etc are included. We pay her for 35 hrs a wk - if she works less then we ''bank'' the hours for evening babysitting. Her regular hrs are 12:30-6 M-F and one evening a week. In addition she gets a min of two weeks paid holiday. This past year she actually got 3 weeks (one week xmas, one week summer then five days randomly). We also paid her for a week at full sick pay and two weeks 2/3rds sick pay. Also we went away for 2 weeks and paid her full pay for those weeks (we asked for 20 banked hrs in exchange but have been unable to use them). Also she gets about 10 paid holidays a year.

We have 3 children but she only has two of them (4 yr old twins) generally. The older one (8yrs) she typically drives from school to after school program - and home in the evening. For this we pay 15/hr for 'non-rent hrs' and 12/hr for rent hrs (to equal $1200 a month). This means 23 hrs a week for rent and 12 hrs a week paid. This works out to $23,700 a year or $456 a week for 35 hrs work. Her increae request is based on start of 2nd yr employment

We are very flexible even about things were are not thrilled over. IE: she has been having health issues and her boyfriend has been filling in for her a great deal of the time over the last few months. We like him but he is more like a babysitter than a nanny. In her absence we do not get the coordination/communication or light housekeeping (kid alundry, toy pick up etc) that we get with her.

She is asking us to pay her $250 a week cash plus the rent for 35 hrs ($27,352 a year) & $15 hr for any hrs over that. I suppose I wouldn't mind paying that if I felt I was getting what I hired her for but we have had to to extraordinarily flexible with her health issues. It is so hard - we want to be supportive but also need our needs met.

I don't want to be unfair - maybe I am out of touch. Would others please let me know what they think and how they strucure their pay and benefits. - LB

We had the same live-in nanny caring for our now 7 year old daughter for 4 yrs. Year 1:we paid $350/wk+private efficiency apartment+free use of car+TV in her room,phone,internet, utilities+3 meals/day+3wks paid vacation+1wks pay bonus in exchange for 40 hrs/wk of childcare.

When our daughter started pre-school for 3.5 hrs/day;3days/wk, our nanny worked 30hrs/wk, including light housekeeping. We provided $300/wk+meals Mon-Fri +4 wks pd vacation+private room and bath+(no transportation...moved to big city)+telephone, internet,TV, utilities+1 weeks pay bonus.

When our daughter was in kindergarten 4 hrs/day;5 days/wk the nanny worked 30 hrs/wk, including light housekeeping and cooking 3 dinners/wk. We paid $300/wk+one bedroom apt+telephone,internet,TV,utilities+no transportation+5 meals/wk+1 week's pay bonus+5 weeks paid vacation.

She was sick only 2 days. We modified the arrangement for 8wks when she recovered from a broken arm. She paid the medical expenses of lt$100. 3nights/yr she provided overnight care. 2/yr, she babysat during evenings in exchange for hours that she normally would have worked, except that we we did not need her help. She had visitors at any time and performed her private business or socializing during her caregiving hours. All of this was documented in a letter of understanding to facilitate the management of each others expectations. An additional benefit to the nanny: she relied upon us as ''family away from family'' on numerous of occasions.
curious about nannies too

We have an au pair rather than a live-in nanny. So the pay and benefits are set by the US State Department and are less than what you would pay (The cost of an au pair is aprox. $280 a month for 45 hours of help, 2 weeks vacation a year, 1 1/2 days off each week and one full weekend off a month). Of that $280, the au pair herself only gets $140 each week plus room and board, health insurance and $500/yr for school (since she is required to take 6 units while in the US as an au pair).

Other folks I know of who have had live-in nannies offered room and board in exchange for 20 hours of childcare then payed $15 an hour for any babysitting beyond the 20 that is in exchange for rent Julie


Current rates for a live-in nanny?

Nov 2005


We are planning on finding a full-time live-in nanny for our two children (2 mos. and 22 mos.) We will provide 2 rooms and a bathroom in our north Berkeley home (part of common living space). Would like some advice about current rates for full- time live-in nannies in this area and any other advice in making this transition would be much appreciated.

I highly recommend getting an au pair -- we have one now, and it`s the best thing we ever did. You can find all the info, including fees and costs, here: Lisa

I am very curious about what others are paying as well. Everyone has a slightly different situation it seems re live- ins, so here is what we offer/pay.

We offer: Private studio apartment (large) with bath and full kitchen, separate entrance, parking, laundry, Cable TV, all utilities.

For our nanny who was with us for 3 years (took care of our one child from 2 1/2 months to 3 years old) $325 (started at $300). Normal hours 8am to 6pm M-F and as needed on weekends (not much).

We have a new nanny now, and I feel we are overpaying..... $300 a week (so same rate as we started our original nanny), but because our child is in pre-school, she is only working 25 hours or so a week. I have noticed on BPN that many people ''trade'' about 20 hours a week for a place to live, thus the sense of ''overpaying.'' PLUS, we bought a used car for our new nanny (which we own) and pay insurance and gas which I would Never do again as it turns out she uses it primarily for personal use (like 800 miles a month! and expects us to pay for repairs!) Our 1st nanny had her own car and we paid her x cents (I can't remember - the IRS guidelines) per mile for shuttling our son to the park.

Hope this helps. Susan

Check out one of the au pair programs. State Department sanctioned program, the au pairs come with health insurance, you don't have to worry about paying social security tax, and you can take the tax writeoff for dependent care. I am currently using They are San Francisco based, but there are other programs out there also. I found the cost surprising reasonable compared to what we were paying a live-in before, who was not an au pair. I guess more people don't use the program because they don't have a room to provide to a full- time childcare provider, but if you do, I think it is the way to go.


How to find a Live-in Nanny

June 2005


I have been looking for a mon-fri live-in nanny for 3 months now in san ramon/danville area but with no luck. Besides hiring agencies, any other suggestions how I can locate one. MS

You could try If you want an American, or someone already here in the US, you probably don't have to pay the astronomical agency fees. There are many young women looking for live-in positions (mostly between 18 and 27 or so). There's a small fee to join to get access to contact info, but you don't even have to do that up front before trying the site for a bit to see if it might work for you. I haven't hired anyone yet, but I've been in touch with quite a few promising candidates... raissa


2003 & Earlier



Range of salaries for a live-in nanny?

Feb 2003

We are in between nannies right now. We are trying to do a share with another family. We found a great nanny but are having trouble finding another family to share her with. Our alternate solution is to find a live-in to help keep the cost to a reasonable amout since we need someone full time. We are becoming very familiar with the costs for shared situations but don't know what the range of salaries are for a live-in. Any information would be appreciated.

mother in need of info

[Editor] two people recommended an au pair instead. See Au Pair instead of live-in nanny