By Candi Wingate
Searching for just the right person who will be in charge of your precious child each day can be an overwhelming task. Yet with a little guidance, it can be done. Here are some of the most important things for you to consider when selecting a new nanny for your children.
1. The nanny should be able to relate easily and bond well with your children while also maintaining a clear distinction from them. Nannies must be able to play with and enjoy your children (which can often be construed by the child as peer-level interaction) while also maintaining discipline. It is easy for a nanny (and a parent) to feel more comfortable in one role or the other: to be most comfortable being friends with the children, or to be most comfortable supervising the children and redirecting their errant behaviors. Parents and nannies must have a shared understanding of how to navigate both roles successfully and strike a balance between peer-level interaction and parent-level interaction with the children.
2. The nanny must be able to relate with your family and administer discipline to your children in a manner that is appropriate and consistent with your family’s boundaries. You and your nanny should discuss, prior to hiring, the discipline style that your family would like the nanny to use.
3. The nanny should have years of experience, solid references from prior employer-families, a clean background (pursuant to background checks), and completed training on nanny basics (CPR, first aid, the Heimlich maneuver, basic nutrition and food preparation, and general personal and home hygiene).Background checks may be obtained through Nannies4hire.com. If you need your nanny to drive, then your nanny should have a valid driver’s license and a clean (or as close to clean as possible) driving record.
4. The nanny should be able to develop and carry out fun, creative, and educational experiences for your child.
5. The nanny should be capable of handling small “crises” on her own. You and your nanny should come to an agreement about what issues may warrant a call to you and what issues the nanny is authorized to handle on his/her own. Your nanny should be able to act comfortably within the boundaries you have provided.
6. The nanny should be able to commit to your family for an extended period of time (unless your needs require less). Children often become attached to their nannies. When nannies leave, children often experience grief associated with that separation. Therefore, it is advantageous to hire a nanny who will be able to stay with your children for an extended amount of time.
7. The nanny’s expectations regarding terms and conditions of employment should be close to the terms and conditions of employment that you are offering. If you are seeking a live-in nanny, a prospective nanny that seeks a live-out arrangement may not be a good fit for your family. If you wish to hire a nanny in a smoking home, a non-smoking prospective nanny may not be a good fit for your family. Pay rates for nannies should be discussed up front to ensure that the prospective nannies are willing to work for the income you offer.
8. The nanny should not have fears or concerns about the non-negotiable aspects of the job with your family. If you have a cat, and your prospective nanny is severely allergic to cats, the prospective nanny may not be a good fit for your family. (Side note: some allergic reactions can be treated with over-the-counter or prescription medications or other accommodations that may be used by the allergic nanny.)
9. The nanny should be a positive, loving influence in your household.