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Finding a great nanny isn’t difficult but it is a lot of work.
It can be both an emotional and logistical minefield so we’ve pulled together these top tips to make the process as, hopefully, pain free as possible.
Training and Qualification Expectations
Owing to the fact that nannies are not required to be formally qualified to take care of people’s children, you are likely to be halfway towards finding a great nanny if he/ she took the time to study and become a professional at the job. On the flipside, don’t ignore someone with a stack of experience and great references, they could easily be just as good.
If training and qualifications are essential to you then these are the ones to look out for: CACHE (Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education) certificate or diploma, the BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) national certificate or diploma, the NVQ (National Vocational Qualification), and the NNEB (National Nursery Examination Board) certificate. These are qualification that nannies can get in the UK, with each of them being awarded at different levels. It is recommended by the Association for Professional Nannies (BAPN) to hire a nanny that has a level three qualification or over.
As long as the nanny will not be looking after your children in their own home, it is not a requisite for them to be registered with an association in order to work. However, if it is vital for you, or they choose to be registered, these are the appropriate authorities that they would mention.
England – The Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)
Northern Ireland – The Home Childcarer Approval Scheme
Scotland (nanny agencies) – Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS).
Some employers feel reassured when a nanny is voluntarily registered because they must meet a certain criteria to prevent being dismissed from their association. Typical standards include a basic understanding of children’s needs, knowing how to act in the case of an emergency and a background check which covers criminal records.
Some of us may benefit from having our employers cover the costs of hiring a nanny with childcare vouchers, however that nanny must be registered (or with a registered agency in Scotland) for the voucher to be valid.
Ensuring that their character “fits”
After checking out qualifications, we move on to the more personal side of things, in essence are they a good “fit”.
Again, it’s not rocket science but it is time consuming if done properly and the areas you should be covering include their views on family values, discipline, diet, activities in short, getting to know their character.
Be very honest with what you want.
Some parents may be looking for a more academic carer to help their child with homework, while others may just want a great cook and a big smile, just be very very honest!
Nevertheless the following are must-haves for all nannies:
Your nanny should enjoy being around children, communicating with them and taking interest in their activities.
You want to know that your nanny is committed to caring for and encouraging them as they develop.
Your child’s emotional, social and intellectual development should never be something that your nanny gives up on easily if things happen to be taking a bit longer than they should.
During their childhood years, your child will need to learn all the things they’ll need to make us of for the rest of their lives. That is quite a lot of learning and being children your nanny will need to be able to plan creative activities to motivating their development.
Throughout the day your nanny will have to decide your child’s health, safety and well-being. Therefore, she will need to be able to accurately access a situation and decide on the best choice.
As the parent, you will need to know every single thing that has happened with your child while you were away. That means your nanny will have to be able to provide you with updates on your child’s activities, and that also includes the problems.
These two work hand-in-hand. Because you have to solely rely on this one person to ensure your child is taken care of when you get caught up with work, the nanny will need to be know how to quickly adjust, adapt and work around having to be of service on usually short notice.
Finding the right nanny
So, how do we go about finding this very special nanny?
When you are ready to post a free advert in our “Looking for a Nanny Section” making sure that you establish from day one exactly what you are looking for in a nanny by clearly explaining that in the job description. The description should outline the skills, experience and personality that the person you will choose should have. By plainly including every single detail, it will also save you time from having to interviewing the very wrong persons as only the right nannies will apply.
Check out nanny agencies. Again we have a number advertising on NappyValleyNet and they are great for time-pressed employers or those looking for more guidance.
Settling any doubts
Leaving your baby with a stranger for the first time is nothing any parent will feel comfortable about, and there is a way to “trial” your nanny before this. You can measure up your nanny by having her spend time with you and your child in a family setting. This will be particularly important if that nanny you’ve employed will be a live-in nanny. Your nanny should have every reason to need to settle all your doubts and ever theirs, so you should never feel shy about asking for a trial. You can start by inviting her to spend a day with you and your child at the park, over lunch, or any occasion as such. Please also treat the time that the nanny will be spending with you and your child as one of her work sessions by paying her for her time and covering her travelling expenses, especially if she is travelling any distance.
Checking up on progress
After a trial or few, you can continue to keep a close eye on your nanny’s performance. This may sound difficult to do knowing that you’ll most likely be busy at work during the day, but it can happen through your little one.
The close bond that your child and their nanny will form will become obvious to those being observant in due course, and if there is nothing less than care for you baby, they will know it and even show it! A great relationship between a baby and a nanny will see the baby lighting up with happiness at the first sight of your nanny in the morning. You should also come home to find your baby clean and happy. In addition, the nanny should take an initiative to ensure that the nursery says nothing less than a clean, safe and tidy environment for a growing baby, without having to be told to do so.
If your nanny is encouraging your child well, she will have no difficulty talking through your baby’s activities daily. If your child is old enough, they may even will want to show you what they’ve been doing by themselves. Good progress will have your baby sharing the great things that they do with their nanny. As they grow older, the nanny should support your child’s curiosity by encouraging imaginative responses and presenting creative ways to teach new skills.
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