Tips for Choosing the Right Nanny
Your child’s safety is one of the most important factors to consider, particularly when it comes to hiring a nanny, which can bring about a number of thoughts or worries. You also don’t want to rush the process until you find the right person who will fit into your family and expectations.
Although the process of finding the right nanny may seem daunting, there are a few tips to keep in mind to start you off.
Key points to finding the right nanny:
· Be ready to look for a while until you find the right person you envisage. You might think that it will be an easy task, but it can be a long search that can be stressful at the same time.
· Be patient. As mentioned, the process can be long and tedious but it’s crucial to stay patient as you don’t want to make any hasty decisions that you’ll regret in the end.
· Be resourceful. Before you go searching online for baby sitters and nannies, consult your family and friends and let them know that you’re looking for a nanny. A relative, younger niece or nephew or close friend might have spare time to look after the kids.
Identify your ‘wants’ and ‘don’t wants’
Writing a list of your priorities will make the procedure a lot easier and will narrow down your likes and dislikes. Don’t feel like you’re being too fussy – it’s your child’s well-being and safety that’s the most important after all.
· Age: Do you want to hire someone older or more experienced? Or are you okay with a younger student who is currently studying their degree in early childhood?
· Is a degree necessary? Many nannies haven’t actually studied early childhood before, but have been working in the field for quite some time or have kids themselves.
· Availability: Would you like a casual nanny or a full-time nanny that will also live at your home? Will your nanny only look after the children when you ask – if you have an occasion or event scheduled, or would you like the nanny to be like a parenting partner– school drop off, house work, school pick up etc? (if you have older children too)
· Level of Responsibility: Will your nanny only be responsible for keeping children occupied, or would you like them to feed, bathe and provide transportation?
· Past Experience: Does your nanny have experience with newborns?
As you can see, there’s an extensive list of questions to consider. But in the end, it will make the process of interviewing applicants easier and quicker – you’ll find information directly during the interview, not after you’ve hired them.
Get the word out
So you’ve compiled a list of likes, dislikes and priorities and have discussed what you want with your partner or family. Now you have to start searching for possible candidates.
1. Ask Family and Friends: As mentioned above, speak to family and friends first who might be interested in the position. Otherwise they may be able to recommend a nanny that they’ve dealt with previously.
2. Access websites that advertise nanny services: These websites surprisingly make the process easier, as you’ll be able to see profiles of potential candidates with a clear photo, biography, study details and employment history. You’ll be able to make assumptions early and contact applicants online to organise a phone interview, and then a possible face-to-face interview.
3. Advertise Online: If you’re having no luck, you can also advertise online or in the newspaper classifieds, although this isn’t really recommended as you can receive a number of replies from strangers. It can be a little scary advertising so openly, so be specific about what you’re looking for.
This is probably one of the most crucial steps of the hiring process. During the interview, bring a list of questions to ask to get as much information as you’d like on the spot.
· Their experience
· Childminding beliefs and philosophies
· Personal interests and background
· Driving record
· Hypothetic questions like – ‘what would you do if my child was sick while I was away on holiday?’
· The nanny’s creativity – looking after children requires a level of creativity to keep them occupied
· The nanny’s energy levels are important, and although you might want to hire an older nanny – will they be able to keep up with your kids’?
While interviewing, it’s also good to introduce the nanny to your children so you can see how they interact with each other.
In these circumstances, you should listen to your gut. You’ll be surprised by how powerful your own intuition can be – take note if something doesn’t feel right or feels a little off.
A part of the interview process is the checking of references, which can make or break an application.
· Ask detailed questions
· Verify the information that the nanny told you about her past position
· Ask why the nanny left her last employer
· Nanny’s strengths and weaknesses
· Don’t be afraid to ask about the nanny’s personality and what they were like at work
The last step of the interviewing process is to hold a trial shift, which will give you a real idea of how the nanny performs. Of course you’ll need to pay for the nanny’s time, but at least you can see how they interact with your children before making a final and major decision.
Make an offer
You’ve finally made a decision! Now you’ll need to think about how much you’re willing to pay your nanny. You don’t want to pay too much if the nanny won’t be at your house and with your children every day, but you also don’t want to underpay them at the same time.
· Ask other parents what they’ve previously paid nannies
· You can pay your nanny by an hourly rate
· You can pay your nanny a set weekly rate if they’ll be taking on a lot of responsibility
· If they are residing with you, you can pay a weekly but reduced rate as they’ll have free board, meals, electricity and internet
· You’ll also need to consider things like vacation days, sick days and overtime
· Create a nanny contract that will state the pay, and rules and policies – no speaking on the phone while driving / no smoking indoors etc.
Searching for a nanny can be frightening and overwhelming, especially when it comes to your younger children and newborns. However, if you prepare an extensive and thorough list of your priorities, likes and dislikes, interview strategically and check references, you’ll undoubtedly find the perfect fit for your family in no time.