A nanny does more than simply baby-sit your little one. She'll spend full days shaping your child's world, teaching and caring for him, so not just anyone will do. The process of hiring a nanny might feel daunting, especially if it's your first time. Asking the right questions, listening carefully to her answers and trusting your gut will lead you to the best candidate.
The right nanny should have a proven record of punctuality and a
strong work ethic. Her past employers can offer insight on this, but it also
pays to ask any prospective nanny to describe her work philosophy. Ask what her
best and worst qualities are as a child-care worker. If she's never nannied,
ask what qualities make her suitable for a nanny job. Ideally, she'll explain
what makes her a dependable person. Specifically, inquire about her duties in
previous jobs to find out how much responsibility she's shouldered in the past.
She Checks Out
Any nanny you consider should be willing to submit to safety
checks. If she's registered with a nanny agency, the company can give you
copies of her background check results. If not, consult your state's child and
family services department for information on how to get a background check on
her, or hire an independent company to run one. Look for the nanny's past
employment and address history to match what she's told you and for any
criminal history. If she'll drive your children, ask her to contact the Department
of Motor Vehicles to request her driving records.
You want to be sure the nanny can keep her cool and keep your
kids safe in an emergency. Anyone you hire should have first aid and CPR training,
or be willing to complete them before beginning work. Ask her if she's been in
emergency situations before and how she's handled them, suggests violence
prevention and safety expert Gavin de Becker to FamilyEducation.com. You can
also pose theoretical situations that could arise and ask what she'd do.
A Family Fit
Ask her to describe her ideal working relationship to see if
your goals match. The right nanny must be willing to work with your family's
needs. If you need one to cook basic meals while a child sleeps, or take on
occasional weekend evening hours, you have to find a nanny who will agree to
that. If you're breastfeeding, HealthyChildren.org suggests asking a caregiver
if she's comfortable working with you to maintain your breastfeeding routine.
She should be willing and able to safely handle your breast milk.
Schedule interviews when your child's awake and ask the
candidate to care for the child for a few minutes. Watch for her to engage in
age-appropriate play and show affection for your child. The right caretaker
should respect a child's individuality, says ZerotoThree.org, and be able to
follow your lead too. Ask her if she's willing to be flexible with her daily
schedule -- if your little one needs some extra snuggle time or isn't hungry
for lunch until 2 p.m., your nanny should be able to adjust and not insist on
following a strict schedule.
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