By Emma-Louise Hodson, experienced founder of Horizon Nannies
When looking for childcare options, employing a nanny may be unfamiliar to most, but with the rise of mums going back to work and continuing their career after they’ve had children, or in many cases, being the breadwinner, having a nanny come to your home and look after your kids is gaining popularity.
Having a nanny can be such a wonderful experience; they usually end up being part of your family – like an older sister, or aunt to the children that they care for: The fun ones that put together impromptu picnics at the park; the wrappers of Pass-the-Parcel when you’re too frazzled after a week at work; the one who has inside knowledge of what was written on their 5th edit of their Christmas list, and the one who will have your back when you’ve told your 2 year old four times that he’s not allowed to take his Balance Bike in the bath.
With this in mind, we’re here to give you an idea of what you need to think about before hiring a nanny to find that perfect fit.
Experience and Qualifications
Think about if you’d like someone highly experienced. This could be good for new parents who are anxious about leaving their little one for the first time, and it oftentimes proves beneficial to the parents as they have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips and only need ask the nanny. However, if you have older children, you may feel that a nanny with less experience would work just as well, as you know that they are more independent. Qualifications can also play an important role in the decision-making. Would you like an educationally-focused nanny? Do you need someone who has specific knowledge in a certain subject for older children? Qualifications can come in all shapes and sizes, from GCSEs to PhDs, if you’re not sure, let them detail what they loved about the course and it will give you a good idea of what they know.
This one doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with the point above. Many nannies start their careers at an early age, and prior to gaining full-time employment as a nanny, will most likely have had 2-3 years’ worth of experience with children in a variety of settings like in placements as part of a college course, babysitting, in a mother’s help role, etc. Having a younger candidate could mean having someone who the children see as a big sister and friend. Would you prefer that the candidate was more mature and has more life experience, regardless of his or her experience as a nanny? Both have their merits, and you don’t need to decide before searching for candidates, but it’s certainly something to consider.
How do you Parent your Children?
Do you have clear boundaries in place? Do you use reward charts? Do you like to let the child lead and choose their path in life, while you gently steer them out of harm’s way? Are you strict on manners and politeness? These are all very common issues that will be dealt with day-to-day and you need to know who you are as a parent, before you can let someone into your life and expect them to maintain the lifestyle that you’ve created.
Are you on the Same Page?
Touching slightly on the above point, it’s so important that the parents and the nanny are on the same page regarding the children’s upbringing. Whilst a good nanny will follow the rules and guidelines set out by the parents, if they don’t align with her own morals and codes of conduct, then it will be harder for her to enforce the rules.
Once you have sifted through enough CVs and have whittled down the ones that you’d like to meet, it is, I think, the single most important factor: Chemistry. They may have perfect references, have a Masters in Child Development and the experience of a much older candidate, but if you don’t ‘click’, then I would urge you to continue your search.
Meeting the Children
Once you think you’ve found ‘The One’, you’ll most likely invite them over to meet your children, if they haven’t already. One thing that I’d recommend is setting up an activity for the children. This way you can see how she interacts with them. Does it feel natural? Does she speak to them how you speak to them? Is she engaging them with more ideas about what they could possibly make next? Remember that she is also watching you. How do you speak to them? What are the limits? Do you have boundaries? Etc.
In your search of finding a wonderful nanny who the children look forward to seeing every day, remember that not all candidates will be the right fit for you, but they may be for another family, so stay true to your instincts and trust yourself that you’ll know when you’ve found the right nanny for your family.
Emma-Louise set up Horizon Nannies as a nanny agency who want to do things a little differently. With years of experience in the nanny industry, they know that there are a lot of things that could be done differently and more easily. They’re here to make everything go smoothly, whether you’re a family looking for your first nanny, or a top-notch nanny looking for your next career progression. Being on your side impacts their decision to be an advocate for both nannies and families. Horizon Nannies cover London and surrounds as well as Europe and Asia.