Childcare is one of the greatest costs families face. As Parentology, reported in August, according to a 2019 Care.com survey, 70% of families are paying more than 10% of their annual income towards childcare, with more than 40% of families paying more than 15% of their annual income. Those costs rise as a family’s income rises, so it’s no surprise some wealthier families are paying their children’s nanny up to six figures.
As CNN recently reported, San Francisco Bay area families can pay up to $220,000 per year for the services of a nanny. These childcare professionals aren’t your average babysitter. Many families want nannies that bring with them special skills, such as fluency in a foreign language, thus immersing their children in a second language.
High-paid nannies are well-educated, often with a background in child development so they can customize a curriculum and activities tailored toward the young children in their charge. They also work extensive hours. Most nannies typically work six days a week, take care of multiple children and are required to do overnights and travel with families.
The going rate for nannies varies greatly by location. Nanny Lane, a nanny placement service notes, “The most expensive states to have a nanny in are California, Washington, and New York.” While the demand for high-end nannies in metropolitan markets appears to be higher, it’s in stark contrast to what the average childcare provider earns.
Per Care.com, the national average for nannies is about $15 per hour, which equates to about $600 per week, based on a 40-hour workweek, or approximately $31,000 annually. CNN reports pre-school teachers are compensated in about the same range, earning around $30,000 per year on average.
Higher paid nannies are often able to earn more not just based on their location, but their skill level. The ability to teach a second language, provide relevant activities tailored to children’s developmental stages, and the flexibility to be available to their employer’s schedule all demand a higher wage.
Many nannies obtain certifications and participate in continuing education classes that keep them on the cutting edge of both child development and children’s health issues. Other caregivers offer specialized services.
Marly Higgins Driskel, tells CNN that she’s a “Certified Credentialed Master Newborn Care Specialist.” This means she specializes in helping parents of newborns, specifically, high order multiples like triplets, quadruplets and quintuplets. Parents in the Houston area pay Driskel around $35 per hour for her expertise in dealing with multiple babies and getting them on a schedule that enables them to sleep.
Childcare is costly no matter how you look at it. For some parents with the financial means, the costs associated with providing an educated, bi-lingual caregiver that will be spending a great deal of time with their children during their formative years is worth the big price tag.