Working Parent? Your Guide to Hiring Help

Whether you've gone back to work, or your lifestyle has changed and you need some additional help with the children, you might be considering hiring a nanny. Once your child reaches three or four years old you can search things like 'preschool near me in Eldersburg, MD', but before that you'll need other forms of childcare. Introducing a new caregiver into your family dynamic can be very stressful, but with a little planning, there are ways to make the introduction and transition much smoother. Here's how you can go about it!

First, always make sure you're finding a candidate through a nanny agency that has a solid reputation. Not only do most reputable organisations like Irving Scott, do all the legwork of vetting candidates for you and doing background checks, but they can also help you create a contract to govern the relationship and terms between you and your nanny, which can be a critical document.  From there you will need to interview any candidates thoroughly. Ask them specific questions that relate to your family and listen to the answer. Find out what their past duties were and make sure they are willing to do the specific tasks you are looking for help with. Your parenting and discipline styles are essential, so the prospective nanny will need to agree to follow your lead. Get at least three childcare related references. These should be references from people other than their family or friends. Insist they are from people who were your candidate’s Manager, parents of children they previously looked after or failing that, then co-workers in daycare or similar centre. If a recent reference cannot be provided, then you need to be concerned that it could be a huge red flag. 

However, when checking references, you need to be smart. Think like a detective, and look at gleaning as much honest information as possible. Do this by asking the reference to give you the dates worked, the candidates duties and working pattern, the ages of the children and such like. If any information has already been provided by the prospective nanny or manny, you need to be sure that information matches what the reference is telling you. Arranging a trial day with your family is a good idea too.. If you’re not using an agency, it would be a great idea to organise a playdate or request your prospective shadows what you do you for a day before you consider offering a position. This is the best way to see how they interact with your children and other members of the family as check their personalities gel.

Run a background check. Any reputable agency will already have run a background check for you so if you are not using an agency; then it would be advisable to run your own. The minimum most agencies do is a criminal check and a sex offender database check, so you ought to consider at least that. Check the potentials driving licence is valid if you are considering allowing them to transport your children around. How would the candidate respond in an emergency? Find out if they are certified in Pediatric First Aid or is Defib Trained.  Trust yourself and the instincts of your partner. In general, if you are unsure of someone, have a negative gut feeling, despite how wonderful they may appear on paper or their glowing references, then simply don’t hire them. The same goes for whether the candidate is inconsistent in communication consider that a red flag also.