I swear I wasn’t testing Amelia Island Nanny Inc. owner Jennifer Appleton when I showed up to interview her with my 6-month-old in tow.
Just for the record, though, she would have passed with flying colors.
Appleton was so excited to play with my little diva that we both had a hard time getting around to the interview. Somehow, I managed to get the low-down on her new business anyway, which offers nannies of the highest caliber to parents in the Amelia Island and Yulee areas.
Appleton, a nanny, herself, for upscale venues like the Ritz-Carlton Hotel for the past 15 years, started the service as a way to offer high-quality babysitting to out-of-towners and locals alike. The Nassau County native opened the business in June with a team of nannies – all locals – ready to show up at almost a moment’s notice.
“I had a family call me at 9:15 one night. Their nanny arrived at 10,” Appleton told me.
Of course, she prefers more advance notice. That way, she can ask parents about their children and find out what they expect from their nanny. She then lines them up with the nanny that best fits what they’re looking for.
Hiring a sitter has never been a comfortable idea for me, because I’m so attached to my kids and protective on a nearly neurotic level. I was surprised to find out that the same was true of Appleton: she didn’t use babysitters at all when her now-teenaged son was growing up.
“I think I might have hired a sitter once when he was nine,” Appleton said, wrinkling her nose. “These are our babies, the most important thing we have. I’m not going to let just anybody watch my child.”
That helped me to understand how high a level of scrutiny Appleton uses when she accepts nannies into her referral service.
Each nanny – there are currently just over a dozen – must meet several standards to qualify. First, Appleton requires a clean criminal background check. Then, each nanny must be certified in CPR and First Aid. They must provide proof of residence for the last three years. And, before they make the list, they have to sit down with Appleton for a detailed interview.
“I need to feel like I know every one of these nannies before I will refer them,” the business owner told me.
You’ll never wind up with a bored teenager spending more time texting friends than interacting with your kids. The nannies behind Amelia Island Nanny Inc. are former educators, grandmas and mothers. They’re the type that show up with a wheeled cart full of toys and goodies. They take the children swimming or walk with them on the beach. They do crafts and projects. If needed, they give baths or even spend the night, themselves, so mom and dad can have a full evening away. They know how to accommodate children with special needs. And they adore kids: that’s also required.
Appleton, herself, is one of the nannies in her service. She worked for a local daycare years ago, and she volunteered when the Amelia Island Plantation contacted the daycare looking for a nanny to fill in. From that first experience, she knew she loved being a nanny. She later taught at Faith Christian Academy, but the nanny work continued to be her passion, so she decided to do it fulltime.
“You’re paid to play with people’s children. How much better can it get?” she said.
If you’re interested in Amelia Island Nanny Inc.:
Where: The service is offered only on Amelia Island and in Yulee.
The price: There is a $15 referral fee, then you pay your nanny $15 to $25 per hour. See the website for special pricing, including group rates, yearly rates and holiday rates.
The Fine Print: You must hire a nanny for a minimum of four hours. In addition, the nannies come to you, so you must have either a home or hotel room in the Amelia Island or Yulee area to use the service.
For more information: Visit the Amelia Island Nanny Inc. website at ameliaislandnanny.com, call 904-742-3481 or email email@example.com.