To find a quintessential nanny just like Miss Mary Poppins , who is ideal in every aspect of child-care can prove to be little laborious task at times considering you don’t want to take any chances when it comes to your own child . The concept of full or part-time domestic assistant is not new in our country though nowadays it has been given a sophisticated name-“nanny”. But as they say what’s in a name as long as the job is done well.
Five-year old Dhruv, one of my acquaintance’s son whose daily routine, though mapped out by his working mother is executed by his babysitter. She helps her out right from bath to nap – be it taking him to park, or just sitting at home and giving him company during play-time or even helping the mom in household chores while she is at home with Dhruv. His mother is very happy with the arrangement as the nanny keeps him busy throughout the day and they can spend quality time with him once they are back home. “Life becomes a lot easy when you have a quality caregiver whom you can completely trust with your kids”, Dhruv’s mother feels and I am sure many parents echo the same sentiments.
Though it’s an expensive way of child-care but having a nanny at home means you don’t have to leave your child in day-care, plus he enjoys all the comforts of home and undivided attention of his personal attendant. I advise once you have made your mind for hiring a nanny , keep the following suggestions in mind which will help you in finding a quality caregiver which suits you and your child’s needs.
1) Do the background check: The very thought of leaving your child to an unknown or an inexperienced person, is quite scary. To have your peace of mind try to hire a nanny who has been recommended by your friends or relatives. These people can give a full account of her behaviour, how she deals with children etc. If these people put in a good word for her, then half of your job is done. Unlike western countries, in our country there are still very less agencies which help in arranging a trust-worthy nanny for domestic help. But if there is no other option, you can give ads in local newspaper or rely on these agencies whose listings is available online where they mention a summary of nanny’s experience, educational qualification, expected pay etc. It’s a safe and secure way to find a caregiver as these agencies do background check also. Once you appoint a nanny, ask her to fill a detailed form mentioning her name, age, address/phone no., spouse name and occupation, children age and names, previous jobs and references. Also make sure you have 2-3 photographs of her. All these come in handy in wake of any untoward incident.
2) Tell her your expectations: After you hire a nanny you can either make a written agreement or if you think its ok, then verbally tell her all the chores you expect her to do throughout the day. When I had a nanny for my kids, I made a detail list of schedule which she was supposed to stick to, right from giving bath, meals and nap to my younger one to picking my elder daughter from bus-stop, giving her snacks and playtime for both. The whole arrangement worked fine for all of us and made the initial years of my job a breeze. Some couples prefer that nanny should give undivided attention to their child only but if you want she should do some housework like laundry, some grocery shopping, dusting and other light house work while she can, then let her know beforehand, instead of fretting later. But keep your expectations sensible and practical, after all she is also human and the more house work you give, the less energy she would have to attend to your child. Her wages and extra pay for additional work should be pre-fixed, to avoid any confusion later on.
3) Ideal timings: This for you to decide beforehand whether you want nanny in the mornings to look after your kid while you are in office. Some prefer evening time and others just can’t do without extra help throughout the day. According to your budget and feasibility decide accordingly. While hiring her you should also strictly tell the nanny how particular you are with timings- what time she has to come in and leave. A friend of mine once had to miss her flight as her nanny didn’t arrive on time. She had to go on official visit and her whole itinerary got upset because of nanny’s mistake. You don’t want to through the same situation. And if you are strict with her check-in time, and then don’t pile her with extra work just before her check-out time.
If you have a live-in nanny (stays with family all-day and night), in addition to day‘s schedule, chalk out the night time-table too, but make sure she also get enough rest, for her to work properly during day.
4) Question – Answer round: Once you shortlist 2-3 nanny, talk to them personally keeping at least 5-6 questions in mind. Common questions to be asked- how much has she studied and what languages she knows? How will she handle a particular situation like child’s tantrums or a fussy eater? How was her experience with the previous employer and why she left that job? Is she willing to do all the activities which you have listed in “to-do list for nanny”? How far she stays and can she be around the kid for little longer in case you are getting late for home? Does she have any health issue? What indoor activities /playtime she can engage a child with? If she has children of her own and who will manage them while she is working (so that she won’t bring her own kids to your home while you are away? What’s her expected salary? All these queries will get you know her much better, making your selection easier and ensures that she is not a novice in handling kids.
At the same time don’t overwhelm her with heavy questions like why she wants to be a nanny? What’s her philosophy on child-discipline etc., trust me in our country they become nanny as pay is good and the job of handling a kid is little easier than doing house chores, so these questions might scare her. During interview, lead to a question in a tactful way, like you can say, ” I am sure you must be happy with your previous employer” ,this sentence will open her considerably and she might tell you the whole story about her previous job experience and why she left it, helping you in gauging her character.
So congratulations! Now that with the help of above given points you are able to find a nanny, make sure that for first few days you spend some time at home to overlook how she works and guide her through. After that, if time allows, you can sometimes give a surprise visit to check on her (but don’t make it obvious, you better have some excuse) and if your child is old enough to talk, ask him, again in discreet manner, how his day was and what all he did? This all will guarantee you have a trustworthy, healthy and warm relation which will go a long way with your nanny.