Ten Things That Make a Perfect Nanny Family MatchDecember 30, 2013 | in Nanny
Although you might hope to make a Banks’-like Poppins list of desirable nanny traits, checking off each and every want and whim in your prospective childcare pro is about as likely to happen as your ability to jump through a painting and dance with penguins. Some things are deal breakers, some things would just be nice, but going in with a strong idea of what you need vs. what you want is the best way to find the perfect match for your family.
Consider these 10 things when meeting your own potential Poppins:
Although any professional nanny is expected to follow a family’s wishes when it comes to discipline, an instinctual and natural response is bound to be both made by the nanny and felt by the child. It’s important that you are on the same page, so ask what her personal philosophy is.
Language is important to take into consideration if your nanny is foreign-born or comes from a culture that speaks another language. Perhaps you’re thrilled at the prospect of your young children learning a new language and want to seek someone out who will be willing to share, or you maybe you’re concerned that very young children just learning to talk might become confused. One overriding need is that you feel comfortable with your own level of communication with the nanny.
In addition to discipline, attitudes and ideas about what is right and wrong will shine through. As your children bond with their nanny, that influence will also grow. This could be seen as an opportunity to teach about tolerance and understanding others’ points of view, but it’s also good to know ahead of time if the person about to spend time with your children has any strong opinions that might filter down to the kids, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Issues like divorce, same sex relationships, religion, exposure to sex or violence in media, etc. could be sensitive topics.
If you are a super tidy neat freak and your nanny, while warm and wonderfully creative, is more organizationally challenged, you need to decide in advance how much this means to your family. If not being able to find a pair of scissors or having to replace the notepad by the phone every time you come home will drive you insane, be honest with yourself about it. You don’t want to end up seething in frustration or resenting the intrusion into your orderly world. Vice versa, if you prefer organized clutter and your nanny is so precise it makes you feel judged or like you can’t be at home, in your home, it might not be the best fit.
Although it is not always something that can be avoided, a nanny’s location in relation to your house could lead to problems. If trains frequently run late, or construction and traffic jams pop up and lead to tardiness, the consequences can be very difficult to live with, particularly if one or both parents have inflexible work schedules or the nanny’s start time is too close to the first bell at the children’s school.
Whether it is a specialty situation where a child has advanced needs or a newborn is in need of care, a nanny’s experience can mean a lot to both a child’s safety and well-being and to a parent’s sense of peace about leaving them in her care. Even new parents may mesh better with a nanny who has been through the experience of comforting nervous newbies about to return to the work world.
Your child might live for anything with a ball or to run free in the park until the last moment of sunlight (or dinner needs to be prepared), but if your prospective nanny is not up for the physical challenge, it might not be the best fit. Likewise, a book loving artist might excel with a nanny who harbors similar passions.
If a nanny comes from a similar upbringing to the one in your home it can add to a sense of comfort that she can handle your crew. If you have a large brood and your nanny grew up in the chaos of a large group of siblings, it might feel like second nature to be judge and jury resolving frequent bickering and accommodating varying ages at once. Someone who grew up as an only child, on the other hand, might find sibling issues overwhelming (though might be more understanding of a solo child wanting her attention as a playmate). Certainly not a deal breaker, but can be a nice touch if it matches up.
Allergies or a simple dislike or phobic discomfort of pets can spell disaster to a home with furry friends. Ensure the nanny has no health issues and actually enjoys the type of animal in question before hiring her, especially if her duties include any interaction with the pet.
A nanny who can drive, whether driving her own vehicle with reimbursed expenses or one supplied by the family, can contribute to a good match. Not all schools offer bus service, and trips to the doctor or local library might not be safe on foot or by public transportation. Ensure that the nanny understands all safety rules about driving with her charges (seatbelts, no front seat riding, rear-facing car seats, etc.) and that you’re clear about when and how permission to transport the children is granted.← How Old is Too Old When Hiring a Nanny? | Choosing the Best Nanny Market for Your Next Job →
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