A nanny is someone who takes control when you need a breather or cares for your children while you’re away. They are responsible for their care physically, emotionally, and mentally. Choosing to hire a nanny is never an easy decision for a parent, regardless of the reason. Knowing the person you’ve left in charge is going to make the best decisions on your behalf is crucial. As such, ensuring you pick the best person for not only your children but for your family means starting with vetting that person carefully.
Never hire someone without a background check
Trusting someone at their word is perfectly acceptable if you want them to save you a seat in the movie theatre. However, it’s not an assumption you take when it comes to your children. It’s essential to do some vetting before they are left alone with your children, and with good reason. Depending on the age of your child, your little one isn’t going to tell you about their daily activities. They won’t be able to tell you when the nanny grabbed them a bit too hard after their nap. They can’t share that the nanny is driving your car without a license.
Having a background check performed at the start of your employment, and every year afterwards, is a needed and necessary step in finding the best person for the job. Using a comprehensive service like Check People would be a good idea. The report will show you everything you need to know; criminal records, national sex offender registry, and drivers abstract.
Always ask around before you hire
There is no better vetting process than asking mothers who have been exactly where you are now. Talk to other moms in the area about any individuals or services they’d recommend for a baby, toddler, and preschooler. It’s important to find someone who can adapt and grow with your child, instead of needing to find care repeatedly. Ask parents of older children what they needed most from their sitter when their children were younger.
Did they need a firm authority figure, or did they want someone who spent their day playing on the ground with the children? Although individual answers may vary, there should be an overlap in the skills and qualifications expressed. Likewise, ask them what they thought they needed in a nanny but found out later wasn’t necessary at all.
Make a list of must-haves and don’t waiver
You know your family and children better than anyone else. It’s time to capitalize on that. Sit down and plan out a list of must-have qualities, skills, qualifications, or behavioural traits you want your nanny to have. Write out your ideal day with your baby. Are they going on adventures? Will park picnics happen weekly? Now is the time to finalize who you need as a person before you start interviewing people that don’t cut it.
If there are certain skills that you would like to have but aren’t mandatory, make sure you include those traits too. Put a star next to any traits that are negotiable (for example, a great singer would be lovely, but not needed). When you start interviewing potential nannies, bring up the nice to have traits after they’ve exceeded all the must-have categories.
Always trust your gut
A nanny could have every qualification and skill under the sun and still give you a weird vibe when they come by for the interview. Maybe it’s the way they answered a question, or perhaps you’re just anxious overall, but trusting your gut is important. After an applicant has left the interview, ask yourself how you’d rate them on a scale of 1-10 professionally. Then make a secondary list based on your gut impression. Always put the nanny applications in order of the highest gut rating to review later.
Know how to ask the right questions
While we always like to think the interview is a time to get to know someone, most meet-and-greets only last 10 minutes. It’s great to ask the easy questions, but seldom times do tough or difficult topics come up. Consider asking your potential nanny about a time she lost her cool with the kids. See her response. If she says it’s never happened, throw the application away. Look for candid and honest answers that match your personality. Although we’d all like to think our nanny will perform like Mary Poppins, nannies are only human at the end of the day. Knowing they can own up to their mistakes will make your confidence in her improve.