Last week, I wrote about why working with a nanny agency might be a good fit for your busy lifestyle. I mentioned that in any nanny search (whether you work with an agency or not), defining your family's needs before you begin interviewing nannies is key.
I've often heard, “but I've never had a nanny before, Kelley – how do I even know what to look for if this is uncharted territory for us?” I get it and it's a totally fair question. Searching for a nanny can be a nerve-wracking experience! Hopefully, today, I can help you come up with a game plan as you proceed.
*this list is by no means exhaustive - it's a guide to help you get you started if you're feeling stuck!
The very first question I would ask myself if I were you is this: Who are we as a family?
- Are you religious? If so, is it important to have a nanny who shares those same values? Or is it okay to have a nanny who is willing to learn? Or perhaps your nanny's religion is a non-issue for you.
- Are you conservative? Soft spoken? The opposite? How do you feel about having a nanny with tattoos or non-traditional hair color?
- Would you consider hiring a "manny?" (yep, that's a thing and they're pretty popular in some areas)
- Is your family athletic? Musical? Into books? Maybe baking is your thing. What are your hobbies? Finding a nanny with similar interests can be such a great thing!
Next, think about your family's day-to-day agenda.
- Do you need a nanny who has flexibility in her schedule? What about weekends?
- What about your child/ren? What are their ages? Is your family's method child led or do you have a routine that needs to be followed?
Finally, start putting together a job description.
- Do you prefer a nanny who is 100% there to care for your children and only your children or do you prefer to have someone who can help out around the house, too?
- Do you need a nanny who has a driver's license?
- Will you need your nanny to travel with you occasionally? If so, how often?
These are just a few, good questions to get you started. Once you get going, you'll be able to come up with a solid list that will be right for you. Every family's needs are different - asking yourself these questions (and more) helps you identify who you are and what sort of nanny might be a good fit. People who don't do their ground work sometimes hire nannies who aren't right for their family. Miscommunication and tension which sometimes puts a family in the position of needing to dismiss that nanny can be incredibly stressful for everyone involved, including your little one/s. Your day-to-day lives will be disrupted and you'll end up spending more money and time scrambling to find someone new. Not fun for anyone involved!
But with a little preparation and a few deep breaths, you can put your worries to rest. Prepare your list of questions. Modify it as needed. As your friends with nannies about their experiences but don't worry if your list isn't the same as theirs - as I said before, every family's needs are different. Speak with a nanny agency if you feel more comfortable with some outside help.
When all's said and done, the right nanny is going to grow with your family. Conflict will be rare and you'll work together to form a good communication style. Best of all, this is will exhibit positive relationships for your children which will help them feel safe, secure, and confident – and that, my friends, is where it's at!
You've got this, mamas (and dads)!
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