I was delighted when Jackie, who runs www.faithfullnest.com, reached out asking if she can interview me. Here is the interview! Please check out Jackie’s AMAZING blog- make sure your Nanny Parents check out her resourceful blog too!
Interview with Marie – a mommy, former nanny and founder of The Nanny Love, a helpful resource for new and seasoned nannies alike. This article focuses on hiring a full-time nanny who is the right fit for your family and making the entire experience as positive as possible.
What questions would you recommend parents ask when interviewing a potential full-time nanny to see if it would be a good fit?
Trusting someone new to watch your child is never easy. Inviting someone else into your intimate space, sharing your child(ren) with them and trusting them takes time to evolve. When interviewing nannies for such an important position, it is crucial that you take many aspects into consideration. Before inviting the interviewee to your home to meet your child(ren), consider meeting them at your local coffee shop. Get a feel for whom they are. Don’t make this the official interview. This is a casual meeting. The official interview is the one your child(ren) will have with them. Take this time to learn a little bit about them. Before meeting with them, ask them to email you their resume, references and driving record (if they will be driving your child(ren)).
Keep these questions in mind during the “coffee talk”:
- Why are they in the nanny profession?
- How long have they been in the profession (experience)?
- What education do they have that can apply to working with children?
- Are they willing to sign a contract?
- Are they willing to have a background screening done?
- Are they maintaining eye contact with you?
- What do they feel is a proper form of discipline for a child within specific contexts?
- Do they have a warm smile?
- Are they sweet, kind and easy to communicate with?
It is very important to allow your future potential nanny to also interview you and have the opportunity to ask what questions he/she has! What do they want to know about your family, schedule, boundaries and more. Having a nanny is a partnership. It has to be a perfect fit for both parties! Be open to giving them as much information about you, your family and your household! Your nanny will become part of your family. It is vital that a healthy relationship is established from day one! Open communication is KEY to a long lasting partnership with your nanny.
If you feel a connection with them- set up a time for them to come to your home to meet your child(ren). When they meet your child(ren), observe how they interact with them. Allow them to talk and establish their own dialogue. Step back from a second and see how naturally it comes to both of them. Maybe have an art project set up and ask him/her to help your child(ren) with it. If you live close to a park, ask him/her if they would like to walk over with you and your child(ren) to play for a bit. Again- observe how your child is interacting with him/her and vise versa. Trust your instincts.
What advice do you have for parents hiring a full-time nanny so it’s a good experience for the whole family?
Being a nanny can be rough at times. It is a profession that does not have co-workers or HR people to go to when the going gets tough. I get emails on a weekly basis from nannies I network with asking for advice on certain situations they find themselves in. A few of the main issues I notice with full-time nannies are:
Nannies who do not have a contract feel they are being taken advantage of. They feel like they are not being compensated fairly and they feel like their nanny family assumes they will do extra duties around the house that do not involve the child(ren). Nannies are not comfortable addressing certain scenarios with their nanny parents. They use the word “confrontation” when I speak with them. I remind them that being a full-time nanny is a business. They are professionals in a real career that requires meetings. It is important your nanny feels confident and comfortable talking to you about any and all aspects regarding their position.
A few things to keep in mind in order to maintain a happy, healthy and long lasting relationship with your nanny are:
HAVE A CONTRACT! I cannot stress enough how vital this is. For you and your nanny. Full-time nannies are entitled to the following:
- Hourly wage -Paid holidays
- Sick time
- PTO -Over time compensation
- Raises and reviews
- A detailed list of their duties
- Petty cash/reimbursements
- Terms of giving notice/termination
Make sure your nanny knows how appreciated he/she is! It’s the little things that reaffirm how important we are to you! A simple “thank you” at the end of the day makes our hearts happy! When it is your Nanny’s birthday, make sure you do something special for him/her. Nannies are loving and caring for your child(ren) throughout the day. Ensuring they are safe, healthy and happy. This is a position you cannot possibly put a price on. Going a little out of your way here and there to show your family’s appreciation for all he/she does can make or break the relationship you have.
Back your nanny up! PLEASE. If your nanny has set forth a punishment or restriction, please do not go against it when they leave your house after their shift. Children need consistency. Having a nanny means your child is following someone else’s rules aside from yours. By going against what your nanny has instated, you are showing your child(ren) that their nanny does not have to be listened to. Have open communication with your nanny. No matter how long your day was- when you get home to relieve your nanny, ask how their day went. Check in with them regarding how your child(ren)’s day went. Try not to make this a rushed conversation. If for any reason you do not see your nanny after work (maybe somebody else relieved him/her) text or call your nanny to check in. This is beneficial for both you and your nanny. It is important as a parent to stay connected with your child(ren) and their day. Your nanny is the one who holds all that information. For your nanny, it is important that they feel comfortable enough to communicate with you on a daily basis!
What kind of information is helpful for a nanny starting work with a new family?
When a nanny is just starting off with a new family, it is a major adjustment for everyone! To make life a little easier for everybody, I always recommend nannies work side by side with mom or dad for a few days to get a feel of the child(ren)’s routine. This is also a great opportunity to connect on a deeper level with your new nanny. Getting a feel for how the days go is important for both the nanny and the parents- but most importantly for the child(ren). It is a major adjustment for any child, of any age, when someone new enters their life to care for them. It is extremely important for your child(ren) to see you and your new nanny communicate, back one another up and have a mutual respect for each other.
Any tips for what to include when writing a contract for your full-time nanny?
When writing a contract, it is best to cover every aspect of the position in detail. Whether you are your new nanny is writing the contract, it is standard for both of you to sit down together and go over it. This contract has to work for both of you. Be open to negotiating with your new nanny.
Have a detailed list of what is expected from your nanny and what they can expect from you. Having everything on paper leaves little to no gray area for confusion. Some key points to consider when typing up a contract for a full-time nanny:
- Start date
- Work address
- Hours and days they are providing service
- Job responsibility
- Mileage reimbursement
- General reimbursement
- Any tax-advantaged benefits (e.g. health insurance, public transportation, parking, mobile phone service and/or college tuition)*
- Paid time off -Paid holidays -Grounds for termination
- Terms of giving notice -Social media policy
- Raises and reviews -Overtime/time in a half -Parent’s obligations
- Household chores, laundry, dishes and overall cleanliness of home while you are there
- Travel pay (if your new nanny will be traveling with you
- I recommend having a travel contract too!)
One of the most special relationships your child will have with someone will be their nanny. Make sure they know how special they are and how much that they are valued and respected as a professional.