Nannies can be a great way of keeping your kids in line and on track with both their studies and their social lives.
They provide an interactive and educational environment and in some cases, they can even clean your home and prepare your dinner for you when you get home.
However they are in a position of immense responsibility, so it is important you find the right nanny for your home and the needs of your family.
It is no use spending two weeks interviewing potential candidates and then simply hiring someone at the drop of a hat; choosing a nanny will take some time.
You need to make sure that you do the proper background checks that you are likely to get along, that your children like the nanny and that you know your children will be safe in their capable hands.
None of this can be done in any short space of time, so be prepared to invest a good amount of time into searching for a nanny.
So let us begin, what should you be thinking of looking into when hiring a nanny? We’ve put together this short list to start you off.
Do the necessary checks
You might think that it is too expensive, to get the proper background checks on a potential employee, but consider this; this is potentially the professional who will be taking care of your children, unsupervised.
If you feel comfortable giving your child to a stranger, then by all means, do not conduct the relevant background checks.
However, children have been fatally injured as a result of a failure to conduct proper background checks, where nannies are not properly qualified or have a history of mental illness.
While it is unlikely, it is imperative that you do your research when hiring a potential nanny. The lives of your children are in this person’s hands and you need to make sure that they are able and capable of doing what you ask of them.
Outline a list of duties to be agreed upon
It is important for both you and your nanny to have a list of duties and responsibilities to be agreed upon.
You need to know and outline the professional duties of your nanny so that nothing is missed out, and there needs to be a written document for you to refer to in the event of a discrepancy or if you suspect your nanny of neglecting any duties.
If they do happen to be shirking or neglecting any duties, it is written plain as day in a document you both agreed upon and you can readily call them up on it in any appraisals or formal assessment meetings.
Along the same vein, this is beneficial for your nanny as if you are set their duties ahead of time, they will not be required to perform any additional duties, only those agreed upon.
It is important that all caregivers and domestic staff are not taken advantage of, which can happen particularly with young or inexperienced au pairs and nannies who are working abroad. If you start making unreasonable demands of your nanny, they have the standing and the documents that allow them to raise a dispute.
It is important that you do not overwork your nanny!
Meeting the family – both parties have to get along
There is no point in hiring a nanny if he or she has never even seen your child.
What if they don’t get along?
What if your child has a negative reaction to the nanny?
Even the hardiest and confident of children can become shy and withdrawn if they are put in a room with someone who makes them feel uncomfortable.
It is important to remember that the nanny is encroaching upon their space and their territory, or so it seems to them. It makes sense that your child should get along well with your nanny.
We have all heard the horror stories of what parents have discovered after placing a hidden camera in their homes when leaving a young child or baby alone with a supposed ‘qualified’ nanny.
Still, it is important that you are upfront and transparent with your potential employees. Ask the interviewee if it is okay if they are occasionally filmed to monitor performance. While it can seem like a strange request, as it is your home and your children, it is certainly not an unreasonable one.
Remember you have all the authority in this situation. If they don’t feel comfortable with that request or if they outright refuse, you can simply not choose to hire them.
Simple as that.
At the end of the day, you will set certain requirements and if your potential nanny is unhappy with meeting those requirements, then you should seek help elsewhere.
There are thousands of first class, highly qualified and caring nannies out there, it is just important that you take your time and choose the right caregiver for your children.
It is essential that you approach the task of finding a nanny with some caution and to trust your instinct if you feel as if something doesn’t quite add up.
You should be able to tell a competent nanny from an inexperienced or even dispassionate one and it is this instinct that could protect your child in the future.
If you go through an agency as well as conducting your own background checks, you should have a sure-fire way of choosing the perfect nanny for both you and your child.
Mike James, an independent content writer working together with childcare specialists Harmony at Home, who were consulted over this post.