Paging Rosie: Nanny 101
Finding childcare for your children is both one of the most important decisions you will have to make as well as one of the hardest. Whether you work out of the home or in the home (I believe stay at home moms work too, we are all working moms in one way or another) and you decide a Nanny is the right childcare choice for your family, I have compiled a list of thoughts I hope will help you navigate through the interview process as well as help you deal with any potentially difficult situations and ultimately find the best Nanny for you and your children.
- First and foremost a Nanny is going to help raise your children. If you work long hours your Nanny will arguably spend far more time during the week with your kids than you do. With this in mind it is imperative that you respect, trust and admire your Nanny. Your Nanny should be someone that you are proud is helping raise your children with the same parenting philosophies as you. If you don’t feel that way about your Nanny, it is not the right Nanny for you.
- You need to define the roles you want your Nanny to have and make sure you and your Nanny are on the same page. Will your Nanny only be responsible for childcare or will they also be expected to arrange play dates, take children to classes, clean, cook, do shopping etc. Most Nannies would rather focus only on childcare and in my opinion this is what you want. You want your Nanny devoting their attention entirely to your children and not on getting household chores done.
- If you want a Nanny but are concerned about the cost you might be able to do a Nanny share in which you share a Nanny with a friend and the Nanny looks after more than one child. Generally speaking if a Nanny is looking after two children it is not double the price, only slightly increased.
- Make sure you feel comfortable communicating with your Nanny about expectations, disciplinary beliefs, religion, conflicts and concerns. If you can’t have an honest and open communication with them there are likely to be problems. It is also imperative that your child rearing philosophies are in tune with each other.
- Many Nannies speak two languages. Decide whether this is important to you and whether you would like the Nanny to speak to your children in a different language. Young children learn languages very easily and so it is a wonderful way to give your child a second language even before they begin school.
- Paying Nannies can be a complicated process especially when you have to deal with taxes. I highly recommend using a service like 4NannyTaxes to make that process much easier if you don’t feel confident you’ll be able to take care of the various tax laws on your own.
- Don’t be afraid to have a background check done on your Nanny. More than anything it will put your mind at ease and if there are any red flags I encourage you to discuss these with the Nanny in case there are simple explanations. If you are not satisfied with their response then trust your instincts.
- If you are worried about your Nanny or received information from another parent, Nanny or your children about your Nanny doing something questionable (for example talking on the phone excessively when they are supposed to be watching your children or unduly harsh treatment to your children) have some friends show up unannounced at your home or to the park to observe what is happening. If they are old enough, talk to your children, and some parent’s even resort to Nanny cams. But bottom line in my opinion if you feel the need to check up on your Nanny in this way something is going wrong – either they are doing something wrong or you have lost trust in them. The reasons for your concerns must be resolved as you should be able to leave your children with them free of worry (or at least have no more than the usual mommy worry!).
- When interviewing Nannies I always recommend checking references.
- Make sure to request the Nanny has received a CPR certification in the last year because the recommendations for CPR have changed a lot over recent years.
- Nannies that have been with one family for a long time are great to find as usually this means the Nanny worked very well with the family and the reason for the work end was that the children became too old. This is the perfect Nanny – one that is looking to stay with you for the long haul.
- Make sure your Nanny has taken care of children the same age as yours before. Toddlers have different needs to babies and vice-verse and your Nanny should have the appropriate experience.
- If you are having trouble finding a Nanny and have exhausted agency options, good Nannies often know other good Nannies as they have play dates together. Ask your friend’s Nannies if they can recommend anyone.
- Be mindful to give a new Nanny space to get to know your children. Just as you know what different squirms and squeals mean so will the Nanny too but they will have their own way of communication and their own relationships with your children so try and give them room to form that very special bond and don’t micro manage. Giving schedules and tips is good but also give the Nanny some flexibility to learn on her own.
- Always equip your Nanny with adequate information about allergies, doctors, local hospitals, contact information and make sure you Nanny has a cell phone on her at all times.
- Above all, know and trust your Nanny as a member of your family because you are entrusting them with your children and this is neither a small job nor small responsibility.
Hiring a Nanny can be a very stressful time, so remember to allow plenty of time for the task. Finding the right one can at times feel like finding a needle in a haystack, but when you find the perfect Nanny for your family it can make a world of difference in your lives. Good luck!