Employing a Nanny
Many families choose to employ a nanny because they find the right person at the right time and it is very easy for this person to provide one-to-one care in the family home. This, of course, is the optimal scenario. Employing a nanny – the right nanny – takes time to prepare and plan, as well as careful selection and a good working relationship. With the right considerations you should be able to know whether employing a nanny is best for your family and likely avoid any miscommunication with the nanny that you do hire.
Understanding a NannyBefore you decide if you need a nanny, remember that nannies are professional childcare providers who work with private families, usually in the family home. Nannies can often work flexible hours, be responsible for transporting children to outside activities and organise activities when children have other free time. Nannies usually have at least some educational background that deals with childhood and child development and thus are able to arrange educational activities as well. Nannies do not usually clean the house, do the laundry or the cooking, though these services might be negotiated for an extra fee. Due to the highly specialised nature of their profession nannies may be more expensive than other forms of childcare.
Preparing for a NannyDecisions must be made regarding the hiring of a nanny, including the very important basis of this working relationship: do you want a nanny to live in or live out? This one decision will affect a host of related issues, such as do you have room for the nanny, what hours will you expect the nanny to work, what type of activities will you expect the nanny to supervise, will the nanny travel with you, will the nanny be given transport and much more. If you decide that you would like a live out nanny, then you need to think about if you really need a consistent, daily nanny or would an informal babysitter suffice. Regardless of whether they live in or live out, nannies are professional child care experts and you must be sure that this is what you need. If you decide that you do need a nanny, and what the job will entail, you can advertise for a nanny privately or via a recruitment agency.
Selecting a NannyInterviewing potential candidates is the first step to selecting a nanny. Prepare your interview questions in advance so that you do not waste any time on the day. Be sure to touch on a candidate’s educational and employment backgrounds as well as experiences as a nanny (especially by asking if there are any activities or tasks that (s)he refuses to do – and why). For your part, explain the job thoroughly, including your expectations for a typical day, whether you will require untraditional hours and whether or not you would like a nanny to travel with the family. If a nanny will be living with you, allow the candidate to see the living area and explain your expectations of meal times, visitors and quiet hours. Always be sure to check a candidate’s references. When you feel that you have enough information to make your choice, let the lucky candidate know and send a polite thank you note to the other candidates who interviewed and let them know that the position has been filled.
Working with a NannyEstablishing a healthy, cooperative working relationship from the start is very important when employing a nanny. Every adult involved only wants what is best for the children, so communication between parents and nanny is key. If possible remember to make time to speak with your nanny at the end of each day to find out what happened during the day, if there were any particular incidents that need to be discussed and how you can better support your nanny in her role as a caregiver. Also use this time to let your nanny know how (s)he is performing and if there is anything more that you need him or her to do, or anything that (s)he has been doing that you no longer need. Staying open to an evolving relationship is best, so make sure that you let your nanny know that you are always available for his or her questions or concerns.
Employing a nanny for the first time can be nerve-wracking but it doesn’t need to be. Understanding the role of a nanny, preparing for an employee, conducting interviews and establishing an open, professional relationship are all things that any employer can do to help make employing a nanny a successful venture. Good luck!