Six Tips For Hiring A Nanny
you are in need of a full-time nanny or simply a sitter
to call upon occasionally, your child is depending on YOU
to do everything possible to make sure that he or she is
left in responsible hands. Here are six tips to consider
as you decide who will care for your child while you are
INVENTORY OF YOUR NEEDS
Do some thoughtful preplanning before you even begin
recruiting candidates to determine what qualifications
she must have. Make a list of the functions she will have
to perform and then assign a skill or requirement
necessary. For example, if you have an infant, your nanny
should have verifiable infant care experience. Is she
going to drive your children to school, after school
activities, etc.? Driving is the "function".
The requirements necessary should include a valid drivers
license and a clean DMV report. But think a little
harder. Will she require her own car? If so, further
requirements should be current and adequate insurance,
seat belts and perhaps even a mechanic's inspection of
her car to assure that her brakes are in good order, etc.
Other considerations; English speaking, non-smoker, CPR
certified. You should even consider the age range and
style you are seeking before you run an ad. Also consider
what you are prepared to offer; salary, benefits, and
living conditions if she is to live-in.
The most common mistake parents make is that they talk
too much during an interview. The purpose of the
interview is to find out about HER. Ask open-ended
questions that solicit more than a "yes" or
"no" response. Don't appear judgmental as she
answers. The more comfortable she is during the
interview, the more information she will share about
about each of her previous positions with questions like,
"Tell me about the children on your last job."
See how comfortable you are with her response. Another
question, "Describe each of your last three
employers and tell me what you liked and disliked about
each?" Think about how you might fit in with her
preferences in employer style. Your relationship with her
is as important as her relationship with your children.
forget the hypothetical questions. "My two year old
simply won't go down for his nap and you know he's ready.
How are you going to handle it?" "My baby is
colicky and hasn't stopped crying since you arrived three
hours ago. What will you do to calm her?"
Most states require TB testing and a health clearance for
licensed facilities and day care centers. Why would you
require any less for your child's caregiver. Allow an
extra few days for a TB test. You might also request a
physical from a local clinic that would clear the nanny
of any health issues that would impair her ability to
care for your active child.
OR SITTER, YOU MUST CHECK REFERENCES
The number of hours your child spends with a nanny should
not determine the level to which you investigate her
background. Many parents fall into the trap of "I'm
only going to work part ..." or "she's not
going to live-in with us" and they don't do a
complete check. One hour alone with an incompetent
caregiver is too much a risk to take. Require at least
three previous work references and one or two personal
references. A criminal background check and, if possible
in your state, a child abuse clearance are also
Have every applicant complete a written application. When
hired, both parents and nanny should sign a work
agreement outlining what is expected of each in the
partnership. Include hire date, rate of pay, review
schedule, days and hours required, as well as what you
expect in the way of child care and any additional
duties. This agreement will protect you should she come
back years later claiming, for example, that you failed
to pay minimum wage.
While your nanny may not supervise a staff of ten or work
for a Fortune 500 company, she is responsible for
something priceless...your children. Pay her accordingly.
Trying to hire a "bargain" nanny will only come
back to haunt you, as she will probably always be looking
for a better opportunity. Wouldn't you?
the same kind of support and encouragement that motivates
you on your job. Set objectives; crafts, cooking,
reading, and exercise with the kiddies and then give her
to tools to accomplish her objectives. Finally, reward
her when she comes through, just as you would like to be
recognized for your success. Any don't forget the raise.
A good nanny is hard to find!
A. Porrazzo is author of "The Nanny
Kit", editor of The American Nanny Review
and Director of The Southern
California Nanny Center. She is also the
overprotective mother of two young sons.
SUGGESTED NANNY INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
SO WHAT IS A NANNY ANYWAY?
SAMPLE NANNY WORK AGREEMENT
HOW TO RECRUIT A NANNY