Hiring a nanny for your family is a weird task. You are not only hiring a professional you expect to do a job, you are hiring someone to be a part of your family. You want an employee with a good personality match. You can’t hire a nanny who is great at her job but that you don’t like. Likewise, you can’t hire a nanny with a great personality that doesn’t have the experience you want. Here are some tips to help you find the right nanny for your family.
Qualifications for nannies can range from a career nanny with 20 years of experience, to a high school student who is the oldest of a lot of siblings. The reality is that the qualifications you are looking for, directly reflect what you are willing to pay. If your budget can only afford you to pay a nanny $15 an hour, your nanny will most likely be someone who only has previous babysitting experience. If you are able to pay $20 an hour or more, you can expect to have someone with several years of experience. Once you reach $25 and over, you will have nannies with years of experience and several certifications to their name.
At a minimum, all nannies should have an updated CPR certification. CPR certification only lasts two years. Career nannies know this is part of the deal. A lot of high schools do a CPR and first aid class for their seniors. If you find a nanny you really like but they are not CPR certified, the Red Cross has many classes they can take.
Resumes and References
Career nannies will be ready with all the information you could ever need. Resume, certifications, references, whatever you need they have it ready at a moments notice. However, for a nanny who is less experienced, or new to being a nanny, it may not occur to them to make a resume. All this to say, don’t be surprised if the nanny you hire does not have a resume.
References on the other hand are a different story. Even if you are talking to an 18-year-old who has never worked a day in their life, anyone applying for a nanny job should have at least three references. If they do not have work references, teachers or coaches are always a great option. For nannies with a bit more experience, ask for references for the past five years. Nannies may still have a close relationship with families they worked for ten years ago, but people change and grow over time. The more recent references are the better ones. Your nanny’s references are your best asset. It is important to ask the references how they know the nanny, and what responsibilities the nanny had when working for them.
The interview process is a good example of the complicated relationship you have with a nanny. The interview should have two parts, the professional questions and the personal questions. The professional questions are the ones you find on forums all over the internet. “How long have you been taking care of children?” “How much are you looking to be paid?” “Are you flexible with work times?” It is always good to make sure everyone is on the same page with job expectations.
But these informational questions are only one part of what you need for a nanny. The other questions should help you get a sense of the nanny’s personality. My favorite questions to ask nannies are: “What is your favorite movie to watch with kids?” “What is your funniest kid story?” “What is your favorite place to take kids to play?” What is great about these types of questions is it give you an opportunity to see if you relate to your nanny. Can you guys laugh over your love of Disney movies or cringe over shared potty-training disasters? It is so important to have a personal connection with the person you want taking care of you children.
Finding the right nanny is looking at a balance between the professional and personal side. When you are lucky enough to find that balance, you will have a lasting and wonderful relationship with your unicorn nanny. And your nanny will have found her unicorn family!