One of the most important decisions working parents need to make is choosing the right nanny to care for their children. For new parents, the nanny selection process might be among the first major decisions they make for their child. Outstanding childcare is fundamental for creating harmony at home. Hiring that perfect nanny—and having a strong connection with the nanny— is possible.
Tips for Hiring a Nanny to Care for Your Children
Think carefully about your needs and write them down. Take time to really consider the qualities that are most important to you. For example, do you want your nanny to be CPR certified? Are you looking to hire someone for your newborn who has a proven track record of taking care of infants? Or, do you need someone for your school age children who can help with driving and homework? Talk to your spouse and prioritize your wish list before the selection process begins.
Work with an established, fully licensed local agency. Do your homework to find the best ones in your area. Working with a reputable local agency means that the company will understand needs specific to your region such as weather concerns, start of the school year and length of the school day. Work with an agency that knows their candidates well, does thorough background checks and offers a rigorous screening process. That way, you can rest assured that all the candidates you interview are professionals.
Ask specific questions. Interviewing nanny candidates can be an uncomfortable experience for some parents because of the emotions connected to the process. Write down questions ahead of time and use them as conversation starters (see this post for sample nanny interview questions). Ask the nanny about her previous experiences and why she loves working with children. What is the best part of her job? The worst? Ask her to give an example of when she had to quickly react in an emergency. Why does she want to work with your family?
Keep the relationship professional. For many parents, hiring the right nanny means a major sigh of relief. Welcoming your nanny into your home with open arms will be key to creating an environment of love, honesty, strong communication—all for the safety and well-being of the children. Keep it professional though. Clearly define your house “rules” and other specific expectations you have for your nanny, such as light housework, no cell phone usage when with the kids and punctuality.
Communication is key! As in any relationship, it’s all about strong, healthy and active lines of communication. For work-at-home moms, that means committing to the “nanny in charge” mindset even if you are in the home. Schedule regular check-in meetings to discuss any concerns. Many work out-of-the-home moms appreciate their nannies keeping a daily journal so they are up to speed on the day’s activities. This can include all snacks and meals, nap schedules, even diaper reports! Remember that communication is a two-way street. So talk to your nanny and make sure she feels comfortable coming to you with concerns or observations. The relationship between nannies and children and nannies and parents can be vibrant, healthy and meaningful with a mutual understanding and respect for one another.