Choosing a nanny can be a tricky decision. How do you make sure you’re picking the best person for your family?
Early childhood educator and infant sleep consultant, Chantal Cohen, shares her expert advice on making sure you get this very important decision, right.
So, you’ve decided that a nanny is the best childcare option for your family? Well, that’s one decision ticked off your list! The next big thing to do is choosing a nanny.
A nanny looks after your nearest and dearest, gets up close and personal with lots of your precious belongings and can often become like one of the family. There’s also terrible tales of nightmare nanny’s who’s shortcomings we don’t even want to explore. So how do you win the nanny lotto and avoid the duds? This is definitely a decision you want to make by checking off as many criteria as possible.
1. Know your needs before you start
Determine the hours and days you’ll need care. To start the search, check current hourly rates for nannies in your area to ensure your childcare budget can pay a reasonable and enticing wage. Remember that nannies are generally hourly wage employees and must be paid for all hours worked, including overtime. If your budget is low or below minimum wage you can not expect to be hiring Mary Poppins!
Once you know your hours and budget, determine your priorities in what you want of the nanny. Set realistic expectations about responsibilities and prioritize these – do they really need to speak French? How much experience do you require? Do they need to be immunised themselves? Do they need to be a vegan?
There is ‘nice to have’ and ‘important to have’. To ensure you get the right person and that you’re choosing a nanny who really will suit your family determine what is important and what you can live without. The more that you also detail in the job advertisement should weed out people that from the get-go just won’t be suitable.
An important point to note is don’t leave choosing a nanny too late! Start the process early to give yourself enough time to find the right match. This can take about four to six weeks to hire a nanny.
Lastly, remember when choosing a nanny that upfront, direct communication is key. Don’t hire a nanny on what premise and expect another. Like any other role your expectations of their duties and success should be clearly stated from day one!
2. Past experience (and reference check them!)
Not all nannies will have past experience but it is good to look for one who has worked with children in at least some capacity before. Like any job, experience counts. If you can afford someone with extensive experience they are worth their weight in gold. Don’t take their word for their experience, ask to ring their previous employer families.
If you can’t afford someone with specific nannying experience someone who has worked in childcare and has early childhood qualifications can also be an excellent fit and an easy transition into the role.
3. Qualifications to look for when choosing a nanny
Ideally a nanny should have or be working towards a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. This is now the nationally regulated entry level qualification to be able to work in centre-based care or family day care.
Definitely request to see any final applicants certification if you have specified this as an employment requirement.
4. How they interact with your child/children
Don’t assume they will be good with your child – watch them and decide for yourself! View the interaction and try to get a feel for if your child could forge a bond with this person.
Be realistic and remember it always takes a little time especially as older and more understanding children may be upset mum is going back to work (or taking time away from them). The right nanny however will be interested in your child and able to capture their attention with chat and play.
5. Current First Aid Certificate
Current first aid knowledge is non-negotiable! Up to date knowledge of what to do in a number of common accidents that can occur with children is imperative and will keep your little one as safe as possible. Ask to see this certification and check that it is current.
6. Conduct a police check
If you are hiring through an agency, most will have already had a police check done on any candidates. If you are hiring directly you can ask your applicant to apply at your local police station or online. This is a quick and easy process and brings huge peace of mind!
7. Go with your gut when choosing a nanny
Instinct is a powerful tool that guides us in many important decisions – including parenting.
If a person feels wrong for your family they are not the right hire for you. Sometimes a person call also immediately feel right. Bingo! This is wonderful however still ensure you undertake the suggested checks and don’t assume anything. Common sense and gut instinct is really the best approach to choosing a nanny!
Having the right Nanny in your home can be a fabulous, joy-filled experience. Your children will thrive with an extra adult to love and care for them and you can relax as a parent that your child is in safe hands. Be sure to interview plenty of candidates and ask for recommendations where you can. A good nanny is a true asset, good luck in finding the right one!
Not sure a nanny is for you? Here’s our expert tips on choosing the best childcare centre!