Leaving your children with complete strangers can be nerve-racking. While you may not know the teachers or support staff at your child’s school or daycare all that well either, there are at least several adults around to watch over your children, and other children to play with. With nannies or babysitters, it is a different story.
This is why it is critical to know what to look for in a good nanny, especially if you are trying to hire a live in nanny. While there are many benefits of hiring a nanny, such as extra time to yourself, you must know how to hire a nanny that will not only do his or her job, but also be a positive influence on your children.
Here are a few tips on what to look for in a good nanny.
- Positive Interaction. The only way to know if your children will respond well to a nanny is to see how her or she interacts with your children. It would be best to have the nanny come over for a trial run, and remain somewhat hidden from view as he or she interacts with your child. As long as you lay the groundwork with your children and explain that this person could be their nanny, they will be able to tell you their impression of the nanny, and if they felt safe. If you see the nanny standing around ignoring your children, or hardly talking to them, this is a clear red flag.
- Asks You Questions. There is no doubt that you should bombard your nanny with as many questions about childcare and his or her history with children as possible, but the nanny should be just as interested in your family, especially your children. Nannies should want to know about your children’s hobbies, what they are passionate about, what foods they enjoy or dislike, if they play any sports, and several other details about your children that will ultimately help the nanny connect with your children as individuals. Stay away from nannies that only ask questions about their wage, how long their hours are, and if they get free food.
Experience, Experience, Experience. Teachers are hired based on their expertise, but in most cases, experience will get them the job over a degree. The same applies to nannies; you may not want to rely on a childhood education degree to filter your list of nannies. About 20% of nannies surveyed in 2011 by the International Nanny Association had bachelor’s degrees in education, psychology, or child development. While this will certainly help, it does not equal experience in real life situations. You will want to make sure that the nanny has extensive experience in caring for children the same age as yours. This will ensure that they will be able to work with your child, and that they understand how to keep your children active and occupied.
One of the most important pieces of advice you will find on what to look for in a good nanny, is going with your gut. From the moment the person walks into your home for an interview, you will likely get a particular inkling about the person that often times is the correct notion.
But even with solid instincts, it is always best to follow interviews up with a background check, and contact their references. After all, you want to be sure that you are leaving your children in the best, safest care possible.