Friday, October 08, 2010

De-bunking Nanny Myths

Guest Post by Candi Wingate, President

If you just read the headlines in American pop culture, you would get the wrong idea about nannies. With books and movies like The Nanny Diaries, lawsuits between celebrity couples and their nanny, or an affair between the nanny and the husband, you might want to run away from the idea of a nanny.

The truth is, just like a reality show, what you see is not really what is going on. Millions of families are enjoying the privilege and responsibility of working with a nanny without a scandal. You can, too.

In my new book, The Nanny Factor: A Parent’s Guide to Finding the Right Nanny for Your Family, we break down some popular myths about nannies. In January of 2010, we asked the families who use nannies through to complete a survey about how the economic downturn was affecting their families. We are using the data gathered to answer some of the myths about nannies.

Myth #1. Nannies are for the wealthy — false
The federal government has identified income of $250,000 a year as the threshold for the wealthy. When asked how much the family income was, 34% earned less than $100,000 per year, 22% earned between $100,000 and $150,000, 17.5% earned between $150,000 and $200,000, and 31% earned over $200,000. Working families are the ones most using nannies. (33% did not answer the question.)

Myth #2. A nanny must work full-time — false
The nanny’s schedule works around the schedule of the family. Of the families who responded to our surveys, 46.9% of the nannies worked part-time, with a range of hours per week varying from under 10 to 30. You will be able to find a high-quality nanny who can work with your schedule.

Myth #3. A nanny is not safe — false
In a study of Healthy Steps for Young Children, the leading cause of injury to children was related to the family, not the nanny. Children of unmarried parents were the most likely to be injured. The conclusion of the study was, “Household composition seems to play a key role in placing children at risk for medically attended injuries.” In a study that compared children who received home care, center-based care, and other forms of out-of-home child care, the rate of minor injuries was highest in center-based care, but there was not a significant difference among the 3.

Myth #4. Hiring a nanny is too complicated — false
Hiring a qualified nanny is easier than you think. With an online database service like, you can preview available nannies in your zip code in the comfort of your own home. You will see their picture, experience, health status, education, and more. After you have narrowed your selection to two or three prospects, take advantage of the tools (such as the sample nanny contract found in the Appendix) that will give you peace of mind when hiring a nanny to care for your child.

Myth #5. A nanny will only take care of the children (no housework, cooking, etc.) — false
A nanny is an asset to a family and, in most cases, will help your house run smoothly. The most important criterion is not to burden a nanny with non-child-related activities and detract from their primary responsibility: the care of your child. Seventy-seven percent of the nannies who responded to our first survey in 2009 are doing child-related activities (homework, errands, birthday parties, housework, laundry, and meal preparation), while 19% are involved in family duties. In 2010, 79% are doing more than just watching children. When you get ready to hire your nanny, see how your nanny can help your family as a whole.

Candi Wingate is a national child care expert with over 20 years experience in the industry. She is the founder of and, and author of 100 Tips for Nannies & Families and The Nanny Factor: A Parent’s Guide to Finding the Right Nanny for Your Family.


  1. Thanks for the great post. We are here to help with your needs, whether it be a babysitter, nanny, housekeeper, tutor, pet sitter, elderly companion or other misc. care at and

  2. Congratulations on your book! Myths concerning "nannies" has been prevalent long before the recent movies. Unfortunately, stereotypes and generalizations often rule our thinking. Thank you for your great contribution. Marta Perrone


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