(Understand what works in the caregiver search)
Having a nanny or caregiver during the early years of your child’s life is a great blessing and an enormous help in the before school years where they need constant care. Finding someone outside the family to care for your child requires a very careful screening process. It is an important and intimate relationship and must be considered from a number of different angles.
Here are some key questions to ask of the nanny and of yourself, before hiring a qualified candidate:
- How closely aligned are the values of this person with my own and my family? This may seem like a broad topic and certainly difficult to judge in a first interview. This is an enormously important feature in finding the ideal candidate to stand in to help with your children when you are away. Is this person genuinely kind? Does this person seem genuinely happy and compassionate? These things matter in whom you are bringing into your home.
- How do they discipline? This is an important factor in determining someone’s values. It is also the opportune time to insert how you would expect discipling to be handled. Setting very clear expectations and rules, such as never spanking your child,needs to be established here.
- Are there spiritual beliefs in alignment with my own? This should not be a basis of discrimination based on a religious belief. However, it is important that the caregiver understands that it is not their job to impose their own religious belief system onto the child. If there is not a compatibility here, there must at least be an understanding that it not be imposed.
- How does this person make me feel? Trust your instincts. If something feels off, look more closely at it. I’ve heard many tales of something going awry and the mom saying that she didn’t listen to that inner voice. Don’t be afraid to be discerning.
- Do they have kids of their own? It may matter to you that the nanny is already a mother and understands what children need and the challenges inherent to raising them. Perhaps, you may prefer that they are younger and full of energy? But be clear on which is more important to you.
- Is there anyone in their life who is not safe? You may not get an honest answer on this one. But notice the reaction. You can never be too safe about the people who may be in contact with this person who will be caring for your children. Make it clear, that on no occasion, is anybody else to be visiting or around your children other than the caregiver themselves.
- How does my child seem to like them? This will tell you alot. Notice how your child reacts to this person. Do they shrink away? Do they look down? Do they go to them and want to play a game or show them a favorite toy? Kids will sometimes be shy at first. Follow up with some casual questions afterward. What did you think of her? Does she seem nice? Would you like her to take care of you when Mommy’s away? Ask this of your child about each candidate and give them some empowerment in their own world.
- Do I really like this person? Sometimes it really is that simple. Chances are, if this is a person you can say you like and want to spend time with, this is a sound decision.