Some Suggestions for Hiring a Nanny Pt. II

Continued on from the previous blog entry

Do expect some temper flare-ups occasionally. A typical day in the life of a nanny normally has very little drama associated with it, but disagreements can sometimes happen with a parent. Sometimes this will result in the end of the employment agreement, but often it will just serve to put things into balance again and clear up any misunderstandings.

Find out during the interview if your nanny-to-be has kids of her own. Talk about them with her and try to gauge the quality of the relationship she has with them. Do you mind if she brings her children to be with your own kids sometimes? What arrangements can she make if her children become sick? Find out as much as you can without being intrusive, and note down their birthdays so that you can give her gifts to pass on to them.

Trust your inner voice. Sometimes you will have an uneasy feeling about a nanny you are interviewing, or one you have just hired. As these feelings are difficult to frame into a logical argument, and because the difficulty of finding a replacement is significant, it is very easy to just brush these feelings aside. But a mother’s (or father’s) instinct is wonderfully intuitive, and best listened to.

What kind of nanny is best for your family? A teenager? a university student? A mum whose children have grown up? An Auntie? Or somebody’s grandma? It very much depends on the age of your child(ren) and their personalities. A career nanny would almost always be preferable to somebody who is doing it just to get out of a tight financial spot. And then there are the “forever mothers” who can’t imagine life without being surrounded by kids (not for a few more years at least).

Hire a nanny who compliments you rather than one who is like you. If you are control freak, you won’t find it easy dealing with a nanny who is one too. If you both love the same sort of things, enjoy each other’s company, and practically finish each other’s sentences, that arrangement probably wont work either. To some extent, even if you are not home most of the day, you need to operate as a team.

Don’t forget the thirteenth month bonus, or if your nanny-babysitter-maid is part time give her a little bonus during her religious festival time. You don’t want her thinking she is unappreciated, or that she is working for stingy boss.

Do performance reviews regularly, once or twice a year. This lends an air of professionalism to her position and it tells her that her work is being taken seriously. Gently suggest areas that need improvement and generously praise her positive attributes.

Before interviewing your nanny-to-be, read as many articles as you can about how to interview a candidate in general and a nanny in particular. Note the questions down on paper and re-read your notes just before the interview. It is amazing how many obvious questions are NOT asked during interviews. It’s easy to forget.

Do not micromanage your nanny. Nobody likes being told again and again what to do. It implies that she cannot think for herself. As she becomes accustomed to her job, leave her to get on with it. The main thing is that your child is happy and healthy.

Do not overload her with work. Before you ask her to complete a set of tasks, think to yourself if you would be capable of doing the same thing in the same amount of time she has been given.

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