How To Find A Good Nanny?
Written By: Bosky Singh, Moms on Maternity Columnist.
A nanny is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher and a little bit best friend.
In today's world Nannies have become an integral part of families. Family dynamics have changed and we all know we need all the help in the world to raise our little people. And when it comes to our kids, we all want what's best for them and we need to be really wise in choosing the person who is going to be around them - oftentimes more than us.
The family Nanny is the person who is going to take care of our kid’s needs, comfort them and feed them. They may be the first person to witness those first steps or those first accomplishments when we are not around. That is why it is very important to take the nanny hiring decision very smartly. Now let us talk about all the things we should keep in mind when hiring a nanny to experience that bliss which says, Keep Calm and Let NANNY Handle It.
KNOW YOUR NEEDS:
When hiring any help, we should be well aware of our needs. Why do we want a nanny? Do we want a full-time nanny or someone for a few hours every day, a live-in nanny or a live-out nanny?
- Be informed (about the standard work hours, over time rates, benefits like paid holidays, etc, reimbursements you will provide, if any)
- Know the current hourly/weekly pay rates for nannies
- Know your budget
Know your requirement in terms of normal hours including any additional non-standard working hours
- Other than that, do you need your nanny to have a driver’s license or be able to cook?
- Or maybe you are bilingual and would like your nanny to be the same?
- What I mean is to be aware of your needs and be realistic as well.
PLAN & WRITE A PERFECT JOB DESCRIPTION:
We all know when we are going to resume work. Right? Why not plan and hire a nanny a month or two ahead? That means placing your job advertisement accordingly or if you are planning to go through nanny hiring agencies then do so. Once you get clear on your needs, that is the perfect time to write a perfect job description and post it wherever you want.
Some such sites are:
SCREENING & INTERVIEWING CANDIDATES:
Once your advertisement is placed, screen around 8-10 candidates who best suit your needs. I believe in having a three-step interview, first on phone than at a neutral place like a coffee shop and at last at home. Ask questions about their training, experience, child philosophies, about your household and parenting style, about their opinion on different child-related issues like discipline, and make them aware of your needs and expectations. While having the interview at your place see how the prospective child caretaker responds to your baby and/or kids. Keep a watchful eye but from a distance, I mean ladies never hover, I know it is difficult but essential.
Never hesitate in getting a reference and background check done. Now the question arises what needs to be checked:
- criminal history
- identity check and reference
- drug screening
- credit report
- previous employment and education verification
While calling previous employers for verification keep a list of questions you need to ask handy: for example, how would you rate her? Were you satisfied with her childcare? Why did you let her go? What do you like the most about her? How honest did you find her? Has she handled any difficult situation, if yes how? What are her areas if development as per you? What are her nanny strengths?
Moreover, many childcare agencies provide this particular service, for a small fee and some only offer services of the candidates who have already been verified by them but I believe in running a thorough background check myself as well while hiring a nanny or any household help.
Have an agreement with a couple of potential candidates to work on a trial basis to see what works out for both of you. Think of this like hiring a babysitter vs. your nanny. At times, it happens that a person may sound perfect on paper with great references but the person may not end up working out for you. A trial gives a perfect opportunity so both parties can see what is best for everyone involved and find common ground. It also allows you to see your nanny in action and how she is around kids and how the kids respond to the nanny concerned.
KNOW YOUR EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES:
Once you hire a nanny you become an employer and she/he the employee. You should have an understanding of your role as an employer and about the wages, salary, taxation, and even H.R. policy. Have a proper work agreement drawn that is acceptable to both the parties to avoid any confusion or problems later on which should also include the employment termination, paid days off, holidays, insurance, health benefits, and such. If you don’t have any knowledge regarding all this hire a professional to do it for you. Many times, the agencies we use to find and hire the person help you through all this, but make sure you understand all that.
GO WITH YOUR GUT FEELING:
You heard me right. I am a firm believer in that. We all know in our gut what is right or wrong. We have this feeling in the pit of our stomach on meeting a person whether we are going to like that person or not. And when it comes to our babies and our little ones that feeling is so much stronger. We know it without being told there’s something wrong today with my precious one. Why not lean on that superpower while hiring a nanny? Maybe a person is not that perfect when it comes to trainings but if your gut tells you she is the one, I would suggest to go with your gut.
I would wind up by saying once you have hired a nanny best suited for your household and you have settled her and she is accustomed to you and the kids and there is a set routine in the house then you should ‘Keep calm and let nanny handle it.’
Bosky Singh is Mom to one boy aged 4. She is a regular columnist for Moms on Maternity.