By: Katherine Marfal-Teves
These days, it is quite common for both parents to work for the family, hence, one of the main problems each household typically face is who will take care of their child when they’re at work. While there are couples who can leave their children to their own parents or other trusted relative or guardians, a number of couples know that the “struggle is real” when it comes to finding the right caregiver for their child.
So their last resort is hiring a nanny. Though this as well has proven to be a struggle in itself, given the common and sometimes even viral videos of nannies who got caught in the act of inadequately caring and even hurting their charges. So how do you ensure that you and your child will not end up with a “nightmare nanny”? Well, here are a few tips on looking for and hiring a trustworthy and responsible caregiver for your child:
Look for referrals. You will be more comfortable leaving your child to someone that comes with a referral from a family member or friend. So do your best to ask around in your network. Opting for nanny referrals might also give you an advantage in terms of checking your nanny’s background and previous whereabouts.
Consider getting a nanny from a trusted agency. If referrals didn’t pan out, there are a number of reputable agencies that can direct you to a list of qualified nannies. These agencies have already done the required background checks and medical clearances of the applicants before submitting their names to prospective clients. So by getting a nanny from a trusted agency, you’ll also be given more names to choose from, depending on your personal preferences.
Do your own background check. Although your nanny might have come with recommendations from your family, friend, or an agency, it is still important to conduct your own fact-checking. The best way to do this is to personally go to the nanny’s residence if possible, or even ask for references and talk to them. Try to get her previous employers’ contact details and talk to them about how she is at work and as a person in general.
Require her to secure government clearances. Requiring your nanny to present the necessary government clearances will assure you that she doesn’t have a criminal record.
Take some time to talk and get to know your child’s nanny. Try to allow yourself time to interview and talk to her instead of just doing it in passing. Start a casual conversation with her. Ask about her family and the jobs she has had before. By talking to her, you’ll also have an idea what kind of a person she is.
Discuss her roles in the house and set expectations. Beforehand, you need to ensure that your nanny knows exactly what she needs to do. Does she need to do household chores or does she only need to focus on taking care of your child? Set your expectations from her and also ask her to voice out her expectations from you.
Draft a written agreement. Make everything formal and legal. Draft a contract stating all pertinent information about her employment. Include her monthly salary, her start date, duration of her contract/employment, her duties and responsibilities, do’s and don’ts, and grounds for termination. You can add other conditions that you may deem necessary.
You’ll be entrusting your child to her, so it’s not just enough that you know her, you also have to treat her as a family, so she would reciprocate this kind and loving treatment to your child.
Katherine Marfal-Teves is a staff writer and mom to a smart and loving 4-year-old boy. She believes that raising a son is both an honor and adventure.