It took Daryl Camarillo only a small stint in corporate American to drive her back to being in business for herself, opening Stanford Park Nannies in 1997. “I had hired a nanny for my family and felt there was room for a high quality service here on the Peninsula,” says the Menlo Park resident.
Daryl explains that nannies are often confused with au pairs, when in fact there are distinct differences. Au pairs are foreign nationals between the ages of 18-26 who enter the United States to experience American life within the context of a host family – and most often provide limited child care activities. On the other hand, a qualified nanny “has a reference history and demonstrated skills.”
“What we offer is essentially a service for parents who want to make sure they’re getting the best possible care for their children,” says Daryl, who operates her agency from an office in downtown Menlo. She requires that the nannies she represents have years of experience. She also meets individually with each family in their home to identify their needs and determine an appropriate match.
“This is different than the typical employer/employee relationship because the person works in the employers’ home,” she says. “That presents some situations that aren’t typical – it’s our job to be ever watchful.”
As common as nannies have become on the Peninsula, Daryl saw misconceptions persist. One is that a nanny will be at home with the children all day, causing them to miss out on social interactions.
“In reality,” she explains, “a nanny’s role is to not only tend to the basic needs of a child but to foster a child’s development in any way possible. As example, for a toddler, the nanny will engage in age appropriate activities such as trips to the park and fostering friendships, as well overseeing cooking and craft projects.”
Another misconception is that a nanny will not help around the house. “While a nanny is not a house cleaner per se, she should be expected to maintain the home in order to provide a safe and clean environment for the children in her care.”
And if you’re wondering, while the nannies Daryl represents are older than you might have thought, they are still female. Some things haven’t changed since Mary Poppins.
Photo by Chris Gulker