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Tips For Hiring a Nanny or Au Pair

First of all, when hiring a nanny there are certain qualifications and attributes they should always have:

  • Dependable – are they on time, have reliable transportation?
  • Trustworthy and responsible
  • Flexible – are they open to adding hours, working some weekends, nights, etc.?
  • Trained in CPR and First Aid – or other courses like Safe Sitter
  • Pro-active 
  • Playful – do they play and interact with your kids? Are they lazy?
  • Organized
  • Experienced – worked with families and kids before?
  • Knowledge of Child Development
  • Common sense

There are some definite red flags to look for during your nanny search. Check on their employment history. A good nanny will have standing positions of at least 2 to 3 years. The truth is, a nanny that isn’t in jobs for long isn’t very good.

Conducting an Interview

Have a list of questions prepared. What precautions will they take to keep your child safe? If the interview goes well, set up a trial so you can see how they interact with your child.

Trust your instinct, if you’re not 100% comfortable then keep looking. Wait for the nanny that puts your mind at ease and makes you feel comfortable about leaving your children in her care.

If you hire an au pair, please note: they are not a cheap nanny! They are mothers helpers and should not be left unattended for long periods of time. Plus, legal documents are something you’ll need to think about. They’ll need a visa and a work/travel permit, etc.

Establishing boundaries and expectations is key:

*Have a contract. Be very clear about hours, salary, pay increases (should be yearly), perks (heath benefits, car, gym) vacation time and paid holidays.

*Establish expectations. Make sure your nanny knows what is expected of them and that everyone is on the same page.

*Time. While flexibility from a nanny is very important, a  parent needs to understand the nanny has a life as well. Let them know plans and any changes as soon as possible.

*Communicate! Schedule a monthly meeting with your nanny. This gives both the parent and the nanny a chance to check in.

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Speaking of Marriage

Winifred M. Reilly, M.A., MFT

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