Monday, 9 July 2012

How to choose the right nanny!

Once a family has decided to pursue care for their children in their own home by a nanny, the big question is 'How do we choose the right nanny?'

You may want the perfect nanny, but in this real world, let's focus on choosing the right nanny for you and your children.

Obviously as an agency owner(Susan Rogan Family Care) I would recommend using the services of a reputable agency to assist you with this task.  We meet all our potential nannies face to face, sight their Working with Children and police checks, their qualifications and their work history.  We check referees to verify their experience and performance, and list their availability on our database along with any particular strengths and any special requirements eg needing a smoke-free environment, allergies.

When the agency receives a request for a nanny, you will be asked about your requirements, the structure of your household, other care arrangements or activities, use of a car and special needs of the children.  We advise you about the cost of hiring a nanny, and will often recommend a labour-hire model where, for a fee, we pay the nanny during her employment by you and take care of associated employment responsibilities like tax, superannuation and WorkCover.  The other main use of an agency is to recruit a nanny, with the family undertaking all the responsibilities of employer. After consultation we will look at our database and arrange with you to meet one or more of our candidates. 

This is where your work starts!

The candidates that you meet can all potentially do the job you ask, but the decision is yours.

You want a nanny who fits in with your particular family.  A quiet, gentle person may not fit with a family with three very active, sport mad little ones.  A warm, relaxed but messy nanny might not suit you if you value a very ordered, clean house.

To help make the decision you will need to give some thought to:
  • the style of your own parenting
  • your values
  • your personalities as parents as well as those of your children
  • the activities you want the nanny to be responsible for
Our agency will give clients advice on questions they may find helpful during an interview, or there are on line resources eg Nanny Interview Questions
When the time comes for the interview with the nanny, try to arrange for both parents to spend some quiet time with her asking questions to satisfy your main concerns and then make time for the nanny to meet the children and to spend a little time interacting with them.  You do not have to let the nanny know your decision at the time of interview, rather discuss your impressions and decision with the consultant.  You might choose to see more candidates, or be delighted with the first one you meet.  If you are unsure, you might see if the candidate can spend a couple of hours with you and the children so you can see for yourself how they all get on.

Once you decide to employ a candidate, contracts are signed and then we advise a trial period, with either party being able to withdraw without notice.

When a nanny is employed under a labour-hire model, the agency continues to be available for consultation during the period of employment so any issues can be swiftly resolved, and regular home visits are made to ensure that the arrangement continues to work well. 

Parents who decide to employ a nanny without the use of an agency must undertake all the recruitment and employment responsibilities themselves.  This can be an onerous task for those working full time.

Remember, you might not find a magical Mary Poppins, but the most important thing is to find a nanny who is competent and with whom you are comfortable, so that your children are safe, nurtured and assisted to develop their skills and knowledge.

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