Over the past years, what has changed with the way we perceive the value of the Nanny profession? This 10-minute long video as part of Financial Times’ The New Downstairs series featuring Nannies showcases a great comparison of expectations of the said profession from the 1980s until this day. Today, they are no longer mere babysitters but most are highly-paid and degree-educated nannies.
Being a nanny for a baby can be the dream job. Babies are sweet, adorable and curious! But more than anything they are little sponges, soaking in everything every moment of the day. Remember through all the cuteness you are their teacher and they look to your guidance in learning. When a baby is between the ages of six months and one year, there are lot of activities that you can do with them that will be good for their growth and development. Whether you are nanny or a parent here are a couple ideas that help babies stay cognitively active.
- Read to them. Start reading to babies early on and introduce books with beloved characters as well as interactive books that are appealing to the touch and eye. Reading a bedtime story will soothe babies and offer time for you both to have a special connection.
- Help them deal with separation anxiety. Most babies have a person they prefer to be with by the time they become one year old. If that person happens to be you, take the opportunity to teach him or her how to better deal with separation anxiety. Don’t make a fuss when you’re leaving, and definitely don’t just sneak out, because it will do more harm than good. Instead, just tell them goodbye and that you will be back. Keep in mind there may be tears but they will soon go away.
- Teach them how to feed themselves. This will take time and dedication. Start with foods they love, and encourage them to feed themselves (no matter how messy it gets) offer big smiles and cheer when they start attempting to eat by themselves. Slowly integrate a spoon and teach them to eat soft foods from a bowl or plate. Make meal time fun and playful. Giggles should always be welcome at the dinner table.
Babies are born ready to learn, and their brains develop through use. A child needs a stimulating environment with lots of different activities that give him/her plenty of ways to play and learn, and lots of chances to practice what he/she is learning.
Because you can’t be with your kids all the time, life may be calling you to go to work or take care of other important matters, it’s essential that you have someone that you can entrust your children to. This is why many people seek a professional nanny. By hiring a nanny or a babysitter, you can have peace of mind, knowing that someone will be there to look after and care for your kids the same way you would look after them.
What to Ask a Nanny
Since not all nannies are the same, you should know how to ask a few key questions to make sure you are on the right track in finding someone who will fit your childcare needs. Here’s a few question to should ask when interviewing a potential nanny for your kids.
- Do you know CPR? To ensure the safety of your children, see to it that the nanny can meet your first aid and safety requirements.
- What is your experience with children? Finding the answer to this question will help verify if the candidate is indeed experienced and suited for the job.
- Why did you choose this career? Depending on their answer, this will help you determine if they are a career nanny or working as a nanny temporarily.
- What do you do when a child is misbehaving? Ask the candidate how they believe a child should be disciplined.
- How do you plan to spend the day with my children? What if the weather is bad? Find out what activities they have in store for your kids, this will also help to see if they can be creative and resourceful.
- What is your favorite age group and why? It’s always good to know if the nanny has a preference regarding the ages of children they work with.
- How were you able to handle a conflict or disagreement in your previous position? This will help you identify how the nanny communicates with their employers and their ability to handle various situations.
Questions to Get to Know the Nanny Better
- What was a typical day like in your last job? This helps you determine what the nanny can and is willing to do.
- Why did you leave your last job? Asking this question will help you determine what to avoid if you want the nanny to stay and if they are seeking a position with longevity.
- Are you ok to assist with additional household needs such as driving, grocery shopping and laundry? This gives you the opportunity to see if the nanny can be flexible and how they utilize their time while the children may be napping or at school.
We suggest after your initial screening interview setting up a trial day with the nanny so you can see how they work with you and how they interact with your children. Its important to get your children’s feedback too, if they like the nanny and want her to come back- thats a good sign!
Once you have decided to hire a nanny and you’ve chosen the right staffing agency, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re still in control. Even if you only employ this nanny over the summer, they can effect your life for years to come. Here is what you need to know in order to make sure the hiring process ends with you and the right nanny.
Referrals are an invaluable resource. Exhaust them.
Some people make the mistake of seeing that someone has provided referrals and think that’s enough. Some people think that because someone else has checked the referrals that everything is good. You may call a referral and they will tell you your candidate is the greatest thing since peanut butter married jelly, but in the course of the conversation realize their priorities are completely different than your own. In short order, you may see what worked in another household will not work in yours.
Spend five minutes on the phone with each of your candidate’s former employers. Be casual and friendly, because getting a sense of who they are is just as important as getting a sense of who the candidate is. Be wary of the kind of praise the candidate receives. Often you may hear people say, “Oh, we just loved having her as a nanny, she was a like a member of the family.” That’s certainly a warm review, but if that’s what they’re saying without saying things like, “she’s always on time,” “he kept the household so clean,” “the kids always got their homework done and were well-fed”, then maybe the candidate had a good personal relationship without actually developing or demonstrating the skills you have determined are important to you.
Interview, consider, repeat.
Do not be rushed to decision. Interview as much as possible. If you have interviewed one candidate twice and are not one hundred percent sold, call for a third interview and bring the children. There’s no benefit to making the decision quickly if you make the wrong decision ultimately.
It goes without saying what the worst results of hiring the wrong person can be. However, the minimal amount of damage caused by hiring the wrong person is the upheaval it brings to your children, to your professional life, without making any mention of having to start the process from the beginning.
Don’t bother with abstract questions like what the candidates five-year plan is. Draw upon a situation with your child that could have gone better and ask what they would have done. Discuss a behavior you have seen or anticipate seeing and find out how the nanny would respond when exposed to it. Is there a recurrent problem in your household or family that may rear its head while the nanny has your children? Discuss that now. If they happen to give a response that’s contrary to your wishes, discuss their reasoning. It is important that you understand where their values lie before knowing whether or not they will be a good fit in your household.
Also, pay special attention to the candidates who are interviewing you, as well. A candidate who is asking you questions, seeking to understand how the household works, is one who has enough experience to anticipate what the job may require. It is also a sign that they know their own worth and preferences, a hallmark of a well-established nanny. Of course, that may not make them the perfect fit. But the candidate who with whom you have a slight contradiction but asks all the right questions is a better choice than the one nodding their head and agreeing silently.
Contracts and specificity are the greatest security.
Before you have the right candidate, you should have drafted your expectations in full. Yes, it may take a bit of time, but it will save you a great deal more in the long run. Categorize your expectations according to your demands. Good examples would be schedules, chores, dietary concerns/restrictions and activities. If you are less picky, use fewer. But if you have a clear image of what you want, don’t hesitate to be as precise as possible. Delineate in great detail what you will be paying for so that you know in your own head what you want.
Even more important than the candidate knowing you expectations is you that are clear on your needs. Without that clarity, you will not be able to communicate effectively what you expect to happen. Once you are approaching your decision, feel free to share your list with your candidate and see how they respond. You should only fear being seen as controlling or strict if your list is somehow unreasonable or beyond reproach. There is always room for negotiation with a candidate you like and trust. After all, a strong candidate may help you forge a stronger contract within their employment or with future candidates.
Let J. Danielle & Co. simplify the process for you. Having been a leader in domestic staffing for ten years, our experience putting the right nanny in the right house will be invaluable to you. Click here to get started finding the help you need.
It’s hard when you realize it’s time to go back to work to leave your children in the care of another. You need a nanny to take care of them, but finding the right person can be daunting. These three practices will put you on the right path to you remembering this choice as one of the best decisions you ever made.
Knowing that you need a nanny is easy. The important part, however, is to know what kind of nanny you need. Take some time to think about what kind of upbringing you want your children to have. Do you want them to be the type of children who stay inside all day doing art projects or who walk to their park and ride their bike through canyon trails? Do you want your nanny reflect your disciplinarian values or are you looking to provide your children with an older brother/sister for the summer?
Some people prefer to dole out punishments and rewards in their own time, to maintain the position of authority. Others would rather employ a stricter figure so that their time with their children is entirely fun. Neither choice is wrong. You simply have to know what is right for you.
2. Ask around
Talk to anyone and everyone you know who has employed a nanny. At this stage, you’re not looking for any personal referrals, you’re simply getting insight into what has worked for others. Ask about what they liked about their nanny, what they did well, what the fruits of the experience were. Keep in mind, this is not just someone who is taking care of you children while you are working. This is someone who is shaping the children you will be parenting and living with for years. Know what has worked well for others.
Conversely, find out what didn’t work and why. Was it the nanny at fault or was the schedule disruptive? Were the children not in a place to be receptive to someone new or was the nanny given too much authority? Maybe not enough? You want to understand what the employer’s expectations were and what the personality type of the nanny was. None of this will tell you what to do or to whom you should turn. It will simply lay the foundation for a sense of authority that will inform your intuition as you move forward.
3. Plan it out
Take some time and decide what days you need covered. This will help you start with the priority, which is planning your children’s lives. The consideration for how they spend their time can be mapped out now. How many days a week should they focus on getting out and getting activity? What’s the ideal way for your children’s lives to unfold, in what manner would provide the greatest stability? At this time, you may quickly realize whether or not you need a live-in nanny or someone who shows up at your door in time to make breakfast. Maybe you only need someone to pick your children up from school. These considerations will allow you to plan what you will be spending on insurance, whether or not they will be using your car, and what you will be able to afford to pay your nanny.
You can check this online calculator for what the going rate is for nannies in you zip code. It also takes into account how many kids you have and their years of experience. Factor in the anecdotal evidence given by the people you have already spoken to, as well. After all, nothing can depreciate first-hand experience. Once you have an idea of what that average should be, add anywhere from 15% to 20%. After all, finding the right candidate is a long process that you don’t want to start over if your nanny is vetted by someone who is willing to piggyback on your hard work by offering just a bit more.
Once you know what you want, reach out to a staffing service to find the best candidate possible. J. Danielle & Co. has been leading domestic staffing for ten years, placing the perfect nanny in the right household every time the need has arisen. Click here to find out what they can do for you.