How To Hire The Right Nanny
It was not too long ago that hiring a nanny was still considered a novelty rather than a necessity. Much has changed though, and entrusting the safety, education and wellbeing of your offspring to someone outside the family bloodline is very slowly morphing into a norm.
This shift has inadvertently sparked the birth of premium nanny agencies like White Glove Services Australia that offer the crème de la crème of prospective nannies. Its Managing Director, Scarlett Hyde, is quick to emphasise however that hiring the right nanny does not come without painstaking time and effort.
“It is a very personal experience – almost like matchmaking,” she said. “Anyone can look great on paper but a good nanny is one who is responsive to you and receptive to your child’s personality.”
“If your child is introverted, you cannot expect him or her to form a bond with a nanny who is extroverted. People tend to forget that although it is a career, a nanny can spend up to 80 hours a week with the children under her care and the bond between them is real.
woman with drive asked Scarlett for her top pointers on hiring the right nanny for your family.
#1: Understand that a nanny is a professional
“A common misconception is that a nanny is a just babysitter who is hired to entertain your children or watch TV with them. In truth, a nanny is someone who holds the same formal qualifications as those working in child care centres, and are usually certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, qualified in First Aid, and have a degree or extensive training in child development.”
#2: Decide if you need a nanny, an au pair or a governess
“An au pair is a young foreign person, typically a woman, who helps with housework or childcare in exchange for food, a room, and an allowance. Most of the time, au pairs have no formal training or any experience working with children.
A governess usually holds a Bachelors Degree or a Masters in education or early childhood. She is usually hired by families living in rural areas, wealthy families who travel frequently and royal families who prefer or require their child to be home schooled.”
#3: Draw up a pre-interview checklist
“Shortlist your candidates based on the following questions and only offer a formal interview to the one who is an exact match to your criteria. Find out the following:
Are all their credentials – including First Aid certificates and police checks – up to date?
Are their qualifications complete?
Do all their references check out?
Do they have relevant experience working with children of a similar age group to yours?
Do they have a driver’s license or a car, and are they willing to travel?”
#4: Include interview questions based on real life scenarios
“While many agencies ask generic questions on a nanny’s experience or confidence in handling infants, we like to ask questions that provide an insight into their character and child-minding style. Here are three such questions:
Name three things you would take on an outing to the park.
This may sound like an easy question that requires common sense but you would be surprised at the answers we have heard like “the child”, “lip gloss” and “a leash”. The best answers have been “sunscreen, water, shoes, stroller, snacks, hat, a mini First Aid kit and a mobile phone in case of an emergency”.
What would you do if my child bit you or another child?
Talk about your disciplinary methods prior to the nanny starting and make it clear that under no circumstance should she ever discipline your child in a way that is humiliating or emotionally damaging.
What do you find most challenging about working with children?
Do not be surprised if she answers, “the parents”!”
#5: Set ground rules from the very start
“Ground rules are very important and must be in line with family expectations in terms of discipline, diet, communication and routines. What your nanny expects from you is equally important and must be spoken about prior to the position starting.”
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