They cook, they clean and, most importantly, they care for and educate children.
It’s no wonder Sunshine Coast parents are turning to nannies for help in the home.
Nannying is an industry on the rise. The Australian Nanny Association reported a 500 per cent increase in member numbers across the nation during the past five years.
For university student Hannah, who is studying her Masters in Teaching, nannying for families is the perfect fit.
The Maroochydore 28-year-old currently works with a family of four, which includes two children, aged eight and one respectively.
The father works an average 65-hour week, while the mother works from home on a part-time basis.
Hannah’s average work day includes prepping the family’s meal, light house duties and caring, educating and playing with the children. Her role can also include school drop-off and pick-up duties.
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“I don’t want to end up in a classroom straight away (out of uni),” she told Sunshine Coast News.
“The education and childcare systems are broken.
“Teachers are overworked but there is little to no support when they are dealing with children of neglect, homelessness and behavioural issues.
“There are big reforms needed. This is why I got into nannying.
“I’m able to work closely with children and families.
“I’ve always loved working with kids so this is a natural fit.”
Hannah said that she would like to see more validity for nannying as a career, as well as government-supported funding for families who don’t fit the traditional day care mould, whether that be due to work commitments, family dynamics or health and special needs considerations.
“The industry has flown under the radar for so long. There is more room for growth and recognition,” she said.
Industry experts say changed working conditions due to the pandemic, coupled with a childcare crisis is driving the nanny trend.
More than 16,000 childcare educators are needed nation-wide, which has left parents struggling to find suitable day care, and education leaders struggling to fill rosters.
The National Skills Commission has predicted we will need 142,100 childcare workers by 2026 to cater with industry growth.
To fill the growing void locally, nanny and babysitting agencies are popping up, and social media community boards are filled with parents searching for an in-home helper.
The demand has inflated prices with hearsay reports that parents are attempting to out-bid each other, and even poach the perfect nanny.
A search reveals that pay rates range from $23 to $45 an hour.
So, a nanny who works an eight-hour shift can walk away with $360 for a day’s work.
Then there are incentives such as holidaying with families, use of a car, and in some cases, accommodation in the family home.
Caloundra businesswoman and mother of four Katie said the “flexibility and reliability” far outweigh the financial cost.
“We’ve had nannies on holidays with us, we’ve had them stay over when I’m away for work, we’ve had them host kids birthday parties,” she said.
“They show up and get the job done so you can confidently plan your other commitments, be that work or other.”
Having a nanny has enabled Katie and her husband to work after hours and on weekends as required.
“We didn’t know anyone with a nanny when we had our first, but I would’ve had a dozen or so families message or call me to help find a nanny within the last 12 or so months,” she said.
Australian Nanny Association president Lauren Brown said the association was calling for more people to consider nannying as a career.
“There are not enough people to provide solutions and that includes childcare, nannying and home daycare,” Ms Brown said.
“Demand has gone through the roof.
“Families who went through lockdown never want to be caught again.
“Childcare lists are way too long. Kids are getting sick at childcare and as soon as they are sick, parents can’t go to work.
“A nanny is a solid reliable solution you can call on.
“In this generation, parents have never been more busy. It’s come to the point that people are outsourcing the home.”
With four children aged eight and under, and a husband who works a rotating roster, Katie knows the feeling well.
“A good nanny is like a fun aunty or uncle, sort of like a big sister,” Katie said.
“They need to be fun for the kids but the experienced ones can set the kids up in an activity and still have dinner cooking or be folding washing.
“A good nanny helps with the physical load of caring for kids but also helps with the mental load.
“Having a nanny is not just a financial decision, it gives us so much more – it gives us better mental health, it gives us time together and it gives us peace of mind that we can work and both have careers, exercise and be our best selves for each other and for our kids.
“We truly value the time we are together by having the extra help where it really counts.”