How to select a Nanny – the do’s and don’ts of the process

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Having a Nanny to help with caring for your children in your absence is a comfort to most parents. They can focus on their work or traveling knowing that someone trustworthy is taking care of their children while they are away. But selecting a Nanny isn’t as easy as counting 1,2,3. Selecting the best fitting person to partner with and to be a part of your family structure begins before the person is hired. When looking for a Nanny, consider that you are looking for someone who will be a part of your family for an ongoing basis, and therefore, you will need to select someone you are confident and comfortable with.

But how do you gain confidence in a stranger? Here are some helpful tips that should help build confidence in the person you select to be your children’s Nanny:

  1. Do a proper background check on each applicant that you are considering. Check their references and confirm their education and experience. Do not take what is listed on their resume or reference at face value.
  2. Do ensure that you are clear with your expectations for the person selected. If possible, prepare a job description and clearly state all the tasks that will be required of them to do. Include the time and days that they will be required to work; do they need to speak a second language; can they be available for emergencies if they are not living in; are they adaptable and willing to take instructions from someone younger than them (if they are older than you).
  3. Do ask questions during the interview, both expected and unexpected questions. Questions such as what their favorite children’s books are is somewhat unexpected but if readily answered it tells you that this is a person who is familiar with children literature and will read to your children.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask probing questions. Give them possible scenarios and ask them how would they handle such a situation.
  5. Don’t penny pinch your Nanny’s salary. Quality care is costly, but consider the cost of sending your children to Daycare and also the health risks that could result from that. Also consider reimbursing accrued expenses, such as gas, entry fee and food costs for excursions that the Nanny may take the children on.
  6. Have regular check-ins with your Nanny to see how well she and your children are adapting to each other. These meetings can vary as time progress but stay connected to what is happening in the first few months so you can know if you have made the right choice with your selection. Having cameras hidden around the house may also be a good idea to see if her words and actions match up. In the long run, when things are working seamlessly, you may either remove the cameras, or let her know about them.

Regardless of the type of Nanny you are looking for, whether it’s live in, live-out, part time or full time, you should exercise caution to ensure that you select the best person for the job. After all, we wouldn’t let just anyone near them at the playground, so why would we welcome just anyone into our home to be in charge of their well-being?

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