We all know that organising the right childcare is essential for your family’s wellbeing, particularly in the early years. It allows parents to work and socialise, and it gives children the opportunity to gain independence and learn new skills.
It’s an emotional decision to make though and the various options can at times feel overwhelming. There are day nurseries, termly nurseries, nannies, nanny-shares, child-minders, family and much more.
We asked Tina from nanny match making service Raising Little People to share her advice on the best way to find a nanny that is right for you.
Knowing where to start…
It sounds obvious, but first agree what it is you’re looking for. Temporary or permanent? Full time or part time? Sole care or nanny share? Would you like somebody with specialist medical training? Do you want them to encourage extracurricular activities such as sport or music? Is English as a first language important? How much are you willing to pay? Are there any other perks you can offer your nanny to make you a more attractive family? During this stage, lots of people shy away from being honest about what their expectations are around household chores and then regret it further down the line. If you know you want somebody who will clear out old clothes, fix broken toys, take out the rubbish etc then say this upfront. You’ll be grateful that you did. It’s also a good idea to introduce house rules at this point. Do you want your nanny to eat with the children? Would you prefer to have the living room to yourself in the evening? Is it a smoking free house? A well considered brief at the beginning will make the search so much easier.
Starting the search…
Searching for a good nanny can sometimes feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. Word-of-mouth is always good, online chat forums can be helpful, and there are lots of websites you can trowl though. It’s time consuming though and doesn’t always result in a positive outcome.
At Raising Little People we try and make the search a little easier by pairing your family with a nanny matchmaker who will work alongside you to establish exactly what you are looking for and to support, source, interview and see your nanny in practice with your child.
The Vetting Process…
Unfortunately, the nanny world is not fully regulated so technically anyone can call themselves a nanny. Take a rigorous approach to vetting your nanny by ensuring that they have the right qualifications (usually level 3 or above), adequate experience, sufficiently verified references and up-to-date paperwork. It’s also a good idea to interview them in two stages as well as observing them with your children. If you’re unsure, it’s useful to ask another family member to do this as well so you have a second opinion. It sounds obvious, but ask your children their opinion too, their instincts tend to be right.
When you have chosen your nanny (hurrah!) make sure you spend time helping them to settle in. Establish a routine together and keep the written schedule somewhere where you can all add to it.
As part of our service we assist with things like menu planning, children’s activities, outings etc but there’s all sorts of things you can do in the beginning to make the first few day and weeks as seamless as possible. Introduce the nanny to the local area, key friends/family, favourite foods and special toys.
Set some time aside each week to share any thoughts and concerns you may have, and hear from your nanny about anything they’d like to share as well. Communication is key to everybody’s happiness, particularly in the beginning.
Most importantly though, listen to your instincts. Only you know the needs of your family and how they can be best serviced.
To find out more about how Raising Little People can help with your childcare visit www.raisinglittlepeople.co.uk