MOLLY: This question came from a reader in upstate New York who has been frustrated by the process of finding the right nanny.
We reached out to Nathaniel Hammons, an attorney based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and also an Adjunct Professor at Marquette University Law School. Nathan provides expert legal counseling to parents interested in hiring a nanny at MyNannyContract.com.
MOLLY: Nathan, what is your Top 5 list for hiring a nanny and what legalalities should people watch out for?
NATHAN: Finding a nanny is a difficult task because you are inviting a stranger to care for your child. Even with safeguards and organizations in place, it’s important that you gain a full understanding of the type of person you will be bringing into your home. Building trust and understanding begins during the interview process and doesn’t end until the day your child is ready to care for himself.
It’s important that the nanny you hire has a personality that you can relate to. A charming nanny with a sense of humor is a delight to work with and will provide a healthy environment for your child to learn and grow. A reserved nanny with a temper may ignore needs or denigrate a child when nobody is around. It is recommended that you hire a nanny that is like yourself because the child will be more likely to warm up to them. Additionally, this type of nanny will perform more like you when making decisions.
The child should always have a say in who will be their caretaker. During the age before a child can speak, the only way they can display their feelings is through emotion and body language. Keep a close eye on these qualities when the nanny candidate interacts with your child. This does not mean you should throw a nanny out of your home if the baby cries when being held, but use their body language to gauge some understanding of how the baby feels about the nanny compared to other candidates.
A prospective nanny must be willing to perform all the tasks required of them. Be clear and concise when presenting the nanny with the duties they must complete on a timely basis. If certain tasks must be completed on a daily or weekly basis, it should be clearly stated in a contract or during the interview process in writing. Legally you may enter a gray area if......
Molly Skyar and Dr. Rutherford are behind the blog “Conversations With My Mother”: a blog about raising kids and how our parenting decisions now can have long term effects.
Dr. Rutherford is a Clinical Psychologist in practice for over 30 years. She has degrees from Duke University, New York University (NYU), and the University of Denver.
Molly is Dr. Rutherford's younger daughter and the mother of two children under six.
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