How many of us can relate to this? The new baby is here. We have the older child to care for and a job to get back to that sometimes involves lots of travel. We want to make it work and get the balancing act right. We need to get rid of the gnawing worry in the back of our heads about what’s going on with the kids.
We know that a reliable caretaker can make it easier, so we scour caregiver websites, get referrals from family and friends, and place online ads. And we might — just might — find somebody we like in short order.
But after you have hired a new nanny to care for your munchkins while you are away, the nanny nightmare begins.
Here are a few things you could do to avoid the nightmare
1. Know your needs
Write down a freewheeling list of the qualities you need in your nanny. Previous babysitting experience? Preferred language skills? Educational qualifications? Take time to write down a detailed job description that will likely attract the right person.
2. Take time to review
It may not be a professional resume, but information such as how long they stayed with the children they cared for earlier could tell you a lot about your nanny. Also, some complementary skills such as teaching and experience with elementary education can be significant indicators of their interests and temperament.
3. Take time to talk
Once you have reviewed the profiles and narrowed down your choices, take the time to talk to the potential candidates. Make it professional, and treat it like any other job. Make the conversations natural and easy, and be sure to schedule time with your kids. The way the kids take to this new person could be your signal for a go or a no-go. This list of questions on Care can get you started.
4. Take time to evaluate
Sometimes snap decisions work, but other times it pays to weigh your decision. How did you feel about the interview? Talk to your kids about how they felt, too.
5. Run the background check
Like it or not, we run the risk of getting past bad checks or being totally in the dark about someone’s previous history. A single national database such as CheckThem.com, which can pull up all the background information about anybody, can be a great help here.
6. Lay out a trial period
Before you officially leave your kids with the new caretaker, make sure to have a window period where you stay home and observe her while she interacts with your kids. Plus, this is a great way to teach her the ropes before you hand them over to her.
7. Create a contract
Once you have zeroed in on the right person, write a nanny contract that has everything in writing: salary, hours, job expectations, etc.
8. Give them their due
The only way to build a relationship with her (or him) is to trust her to do her job. Check in with her periodically if she needs anything, and talk to your children about how it is going. Whatever happens, hold back the urge to micromanage. Be generous with your praise. It’s hard to be completely available for someone else’s kids and manage the expectations that come with it.
Taking these simple precautions will save a lot of grief down the line. After all, you are leaving your most precious things with this person. It’s worth a little effort!
Devishobha Chandramouli is the founder of Kidskintha, a platform that addresses parenting issues of the millennia age to help raise emotionally robust, happy kids. She regularly lends her voice to the Huffington Post, SheKnows Experts, LifeHack and other publications. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Grab her free eBook, 53 Hacks to Raising Happy Kids.