Finding A Good Nanny Can Be A Tiresome Experience

Many families who are in the market for a nanny choose to use the services of nanny agencies. These agencies weed through the less desirable candidates on their behalf -- something that can be a tremendous time saver. You don't have to use the services of a nanny agency, of course -- provided that you have the time and the expertise required to do the hiring yourself.
Ann Douglas

Where to begin
Here are a few tips to get you started in your search:
  • Ask applicants to submit their job applications in writing. Not only will this save you countless hours on the phone: most of the flakier and less committed candidates won't want to bother to apply in writing!
  • Once the resumes start to show up in the mail, do some preliminary screening to eliminate those nannies whose resumes reveal unexplained gaps in unemployment, an unstable work record, a lack of related experience, or who are missing a key requirement for the position (e.g. a valid driver's license or training in infant-child resuscitation). Then do some preliminary screening by phone before deciding who you should?and shouldn't?interview.
  • Try to schedule interview with at least three candidates so that you'll have a few to choose from. Make sure that your child is on hand to meet these candidates so that you can assess whether the two of them are going to hit it off or not. (Note: If you're child is currently struggling with separation anxiety, she may give any potential nanny the thumbs down!)
  • Once you've wrapped up the interview, be sure to check each candidate's references thoroughly. Find out how long the person providing the reference has known the nanny, how satisfied she was with the nanny's overall job performance, what the nanny's strengths and weaknesses are, what ages of children the nanny is best suited to care for, and so on.
  • Once you've found the perfect nanny and she's accepted your offer of employment, put the terms of your agreement in writing. (Note: You can find a sample nanny contract in my book, The Unofficial Guide to Childcare.) Having a written agreement will help to eliminate any future misunderstandings.

Keeping her happy
Now that you've found a good nanny, you'll want to do everything you can to keep her. Here are a few tips:

  • Take a day or two off work to give the nanny a chance to get used to your child's routines before you leave the two of them on their own.
  • Make sure that you stick to the terms of your agreement. If you've promised to be home by 6:00 p.m. each night, honor your commitment. If your circumstances change and its no longer possible for you to hold up your end of the bargain, renegotiate the contract. (Be sure to sweeten the deal by offering your nanny a raise.)
  • Keep the lines of communication open so that you can deal with any potential sources of conflict before they become a problem.
  • Let your nanny know on a regular basis how much you value her contributions to your family.

Good luck!

Tags: childcare nanny

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