One of the best things you, as a nanny, can do for the children in your care is to keep your current skills fresh and continue learning new things. Even a very experienced nanny can get a burst of inspiration from attending a morning workshop, and making continuing education a regular part of your work year will keep you feeling invigorated and capable in your job.
However, it can be hard to arrange trainings, as they can require time off and you must pay for the course. If there is a training or course you would like to attend, but the price tag or time off work makes you hesitate, consider asking your current nanny-family for help. Families benefit greatly when you do your best work, so it is to their advantage to fund your continuing education, especially if you are taking a course in something that interests the family. Here are five tips on how to effectively and respectfully negotiate partial or full funding for continuing education, with specific examples in italics for you to consider:
1. Ask Early
If possible, you should discuss a continuing education budget at the time of your hire, when you are negotiating a contract. Give the family examples of courses you have attended in the past and how they have benefited previous nanny-families and their children. If you can, it is always a good idea to include the continuing education budget in your contract. One example:
Professional Development: Family will support Nanny in her continuing education by paying for her to attend one professional development day per year, up to $400 per year. Nanny may accrue this benefit to attend more expensive or lengthy courses every two or three years. Nanny will present potential professional development courses to the family for consideration and approval at least three months prior to the course start date.
Even if you have already begun working, you can still make a request for help paying for continuing education at any time. Bring it up months before the course begins so your family has time to get excited about the course and make plans.
“I’ve just heard about this amazing course in Positive Discipline that’s coming up in May. I’ve been reading articles about this approach and I think learning more will help little Sylvie by…”
2. Scale Your Request
To be successful in securing a continuing education budget, you must consider the realistic capacity of the family. Even low-income families should be able to pay for your CPR/First Aid training every other year, but it is unrealistic to ask them to pay for a $1000 training in infant care. Use your own wage to gauge how much the family can afford. Here are some examples of a typical continuing education budget for different income levels, and how you might spend it:
The family can likely afford...$100-$200/year
Which can pay for...CPR & First Aid, books to read while baby naps
The family can likely afford...$300-$400/year
Which can pay for...Newborn Care Specialist courses, RIE® Nurturing Nanny™, most online courses
The family can likely afford...$500-$1000/year
Which can pay for...RIE® Foundations™ course, Montessori, Waldorf, or Reggio teacher training
A family that can afford to pay you $40 or more per hour can likely afford any training that interests you and would benefit the children. Even if your nanny-family can't afford to dedicate this amount to your training, you can arrange things so that the budget will accrue from year to year. This will enable you to attend even the more expensive courses every second or third year.
“I would love to have your support in my continuing education so I can do training like the RIE® Nurturing Nanny course once every year or two. Would you be able to give me some financial support in the form of $200 a year on courses we agree will benefit the family as a whole?”
3. Choose Your Training Wisely
Consider the needs of the family when choosing which trainings to attend. A family with a preschool-age child can’t realistically be expected to pay for your training in newborn care unless they have another baby on the way. It is always best to seek the trainings that the family you work for will be excited about. Think about what influences their parenting and choose classes to pitch to them accordingly. These classes are also the ones most likely to increase your joy at work!
“I would love to improve my vegan cooking skills for your family. What do you think about buying a few cookbooks for me to look over while Elsa is sleeping?”
4. Ask Both In Person and In Writing
I always ask my nanny families about upcoming trainings both in person and