When it comes to your children, making the decision to employ a nanny is one of the most important decisions you will ever have to make. They are your pride and joy, your life, and everything you do, revolves around them. So, you want to get it right.
While the list of important factors is endless, when it comes to hiring the perfect Nanny from experience, qualifications, personality and character traits, at the end of the day, you must trust your gut instinct as to who you are comfortable to entrust the care of your child. Not even employing the services of a Nanny agency can do that - they can guide and support you, but the ultimate decision is yours, and yours alone.
Below, you will find just some of the important qualities to think about before you go it alone, in hiring the right Nanny for you and your children, or, use the services of a Nanny Agency, such as Bel-Rose International.
Trust your Nanny
You need a Nanny that you can trust implicitly and with whom you and your children can connect with. Your child’s health, happiness and safety is a priority. Therefore, someone that can provide a nurturing environment and has the common sense and maturity to deal with any issues or emergency situations that may arise, in a confident, calm and effective manner is essential. Of course, the list of key requirements goes far beyond this, but you will be surprised at how many would hesitate, fluster, panic, freeze - the list of adjectives to describe goes on. After all, the last thing you want is to come home to Niagara Falls, because your Nanny could not reach you or the plumber, and didn’t think of turning off the main water supply in the meantime. It really is as simple as that. So someone with logic that can act promptly and take charge of any situation in your absence goes without saying, especially when it comes to your child and their safety!
Nannies who work with children in private residence - need first and foremost to love working with children. It’s all very well, having amazing qualifications on paper, but the Nanny you hire, must have patience and understanding in abundance. At some point, there will be tears and tantrums, squabbling with peers and other issues that may fall upon your Nanny to deal with, so a Nanny that can take charge, bring calm to chaos, reign in unruly behaviour with fair and consistent discipline, to bring about the best in your children. Someone who is devoted and passionate to your child’s everyday needs: physical, social, emotional and intellectual development, and is the perfect role model in which to learn from, being essential for any parent, bringing you peace of mind, that your child is being well-cared for.
Whatever the reason for employing a Nanny is a personal one; they are there doing the things you simply don’t have the time to do, and that is to provide your child with an array of learning opportunities that foster their development.
A Nanny that is great fun to have around and has a great sense of humour, with the ability to plan practical, imaginative, creative and artistic activities for the week, that both interests and engages your children, makes for a happy child. How about your very own Mary Poppins or Nanny McPhee? Yes! Some parents do expect their Nanny to perform magic to keep the children entertained throughout the day, not to mention, keeping their behaviour in check.
Employing a Nanny over a nursery or childminder provides you with more flexibility in comparison to the other two child care options. A Nanny is flexible, within reason, of course, to start a little earlier or stay later than the agreed times discussed at interview. Most Nannies won’t object from time to time, but it is so important not to take advantage, as your Nanny too, has a life and may have other commitments that can’t be changed at the drop of a hat, such as an invite to a wedding, or birthday party.
Overall, most Nannies are flexible. It comes as part and parcel of the role. What you don’t want is to panic when the clock strikes 6pm, because this is when your Nanny is due to leave and you are stuck in a business meeting that has gone on longer than planned. Don’t worry. If you know you are running behind schedule, be courteous and let them know. The extra overtime accumulated per month can be given as time off in lieu, or paid extra, for example. Flexibility is the difference between a Nanny placement being successful, or not, as the case may be, and as mentioned, not to take advantage. What you don’t want is to lose an amazing Nanny because your lateness has become a frequent occurrence. Also, try not to get annoyed if they cannot cover for you at short notice, because they have made prior plans to go out at the end of their working day. Flexibility and communication is vital between you and the Nanny.
Whether verbal, written or both, open communication is important between yourself and your Nanny. It helps to keep you informed of how your child’s day has gone, from the food they have eaten, activities undertaken, their behaviour, any accidents or ill health that has occurred. Also, of any pending play dates and birthday parties that either of you have arranged, as well as outdoor pursuits, such as visits to museums, the zoo and so-forth, as well as additional hours they may need to cover.
Your Nanny also needs to be able to communicate at a level that your child understands. In the early stages, a child learns to communicate by watching, listening and mimicking words in the early stages, and will develop vocabulary through reading and interacting with others as time goes on. So, a Nanny who is a shrinking violet and doesn’t engage your child in conversation is not ideal for any parent. You need someone who can enthuse and motivate your child through topical and age appropriate conversation to develop their world of language, not to mention through literature (different literary genre).
One of the reasons for hiring a Nanny is because other child care options do not fit in with you and your family’s daily or weekly routine. Also, you may prefer your toddler to be in an environment in which he or she is familiar with, especially at such a young age. Punctuality therefore, is paramount, especially if you are both working parents and need to be out of the house on time. A Nanny with excellent time keeping not just for turning up to work on time, but to get the children to their outdoor recreational activities or other pursuits on time is essential and can be verified when referencing. If your Nanny turns up late for an interview, then this is not a good start.
Having someone you can rely on to get things done, means one less thing for you to worry about. So when you give your Nanny tasks as part of their duties and responsibilities, you want someone who will listen attentively and follow through with any instructions you have provided.
While your Nanny will become part of your family and is invited into your home to care for your children, there needs to be clear boundaries of professionalism. It is not unheard of for families, to consider their Nanny a friend over time, but you are firstly, their employer. They, too, must be respectful of this, and to keep family matters private and confidential at all times, and to conduct themselves in a professional manner and possess excellent morals and values. They also require high standards of hygiene and cleanliness. If someone turns up with dirty nails, unwashed hair, ripped jeans or smelling of smoke for an interview, let this be a warning sign.
Essential Nanny Traits
A Nanny you can TRUST to care for your children and keep them safe
A Nanny who is DEVOTED to their career and loves working with children
A Nanny who is RELIABLE to carry out the things they say they will
A Nanny who is PUNCTUAL for work, appointments and activities
A Nanny who is FLEXIBLE to last minute changes - within reason
A Nanny with whom you and your children can easily COMMUNICATE with
A Nanny who is CREATIVE to keep the children engaged and entertained
A Nanny who is PROFESSIONAL is adhering to high standards expected of them
Hiring a Nanny with a childcare qualification is not a legal requirement, but it can for many first time parents, bring peace of mind knowing that the person you are hiring has at least a basic understanding of the following:
Health and safety
Food and nutrition
Duty of care
To see some of the qualifications relating to the child care industry click the following link: Nanny/Manny When conducting an interview with any potential Nanny, don’t be afraid to ask them about the course and the content covered. You can get an idea by inputting their qualification/course onto Google to gain an understanding yourself prior to giving the interview.
I mentioned early on, that qualifications are great, but for any prospective parent looking to employ a Nanny should not necessarily dismiss those without. For there are some amazing Nannies that have worked within the Nanny industry for many years, therefore, acquiring their skills and knowledge from first hand, practical experience. They would have worked for different families, too, over the years. There are however, some exceptions, where a Nanny began their career when the children are very young and stayed with the same family until the children are of school age and self sufficient, and the Nanny is no longer needed. The longevity shows loyalty to the family, providing continuity and stability for all parties, and of course, a great working relationship between parents and the Nanny is important for any placement to be successful.
Age of your Nanny
As long as your Nanny can run around after your children and fulfil the duties and responsibilities assigned to them, my advice is to keep an open mind. I have seen way too many Nanny job descriptions, nowadays, specifying an upper age limit or aged between, which rules out many amazing Nannies, as well as Governesses and Tutors. Nannies over the age of 35 or even 45 are not past it, and actually have more stamina than those who are years younger. And, let’s face it, no two people, for example, are the same. One may reflect their age, be older than their age or like myself, are at least 10 younger. At 46, I looked like I was in my late 20’s to early 30’s. The point I am trying to get across here is: what is important, is the connection between your child/children and the Nanny, their ability to run around and keep up with your child or children (for safety, but to partake in your children’s activities and outdoor pursuits when required), and to perform the duties and responsibilities discussed at interview. Don’t be put off by a ‘number’. If agencies are forwarding a candidate’s age without their consent, or worse, their full date of birth at the time of representing their CV, this not only breaches data protection, but equality laws, too.
Bel-Rose International Nanny Agency | London
Providing exceptional Childcare, Educational and Household Staffing solutions for families and individuals in London, throughout the UK, Europe, Middle East, Asia and beyond.
Contact Us: +44 (0) 207 193 8343