Recently we’ve been surrounded by friends whose work situation is changing. They’re either moving to a new city and don’t know anyone but have to find someone to watch their kids, they’ve taken on a larger roll at their companies, they’re starting their own business or their companies are decentralizing and sending them to their home offices. Families who may have never considered having a nanny are now looking at their options to find out which is most realistic and cost effective. Below, Elizabeth Juline, placement consultant and founder of Jack and Jill Nanny Agency, gives us the scoop on the growing trend of hiring nanny.
Local versus online agencies
When families make the choice to look for a nanny, there are lots of choices. In recent years, many online services have sprung up, providing everything from one-time baby sitters to long-term nanny services. In many cities, local agencies have opened too. And each has its plusses and minus.
National services often have a larger database of potential care-givers, and their size may allow them to provide additional services like extensive background checks and care-giver training. But many online agencies don’t have local or regional outlets, so families might not be able to meet their potential nanny in person until they arrive on the job.
Local services have the advantage of meeting with your family, to determine what your needs and lifestyle. For many, the “personal touch” of meeting with an agency representative and meeting potential nannies in advance is a big plus to using a local agency. And should a problem come up, or a replacement caregiver be needed, the agency is nearby, instead trying to reach someone by phone or e-mail.
What makes a qualified nanny?
Most parents agree that the most important aspects in finding a nanny for your family are:
- Background checks
- Reference checks
- Training and certifications (i.e., early childhood education, CPR)
And no one would argue that all of those are critical in the person who will care for your babies. But the truth is, each nanny also brings their own unique personality to the family they work for. It’s important to match the family’s personality to that of the nanny, so other factors are also important. Before you select nannies to interview, think about things like:
- Diet – if yours is a vegetarian family, or one which follows Kosher or Halal dietary laws, a nanny who shares that practice might be a better fit
- Language – for safety sake, it’s important that the nanny understands and speaks the local language, as well as any other language usually spoken in your home
- Lifestyle – for example, if your family typically enjoys a very active outdoor lifestyle, a nanny who can participate would probably be a better choice than one who prefers a more sedentary activity level
- Philosophy on child rearing – chosing a nanny who shares your views on bedtimes, discipline, playtime and other elements of child care will make the experience better for you and your children
Odds are you have at least one or two more factors that are important to you. Before you contact any agency, make sure you have your requirements and preferences written down. It’s easy to overlook some of these less traditional requirements, especially if you’re in the midst of career changes or relocation at the same time, so having a written list will keep all factors in front of you and the agency.
Look for positive results
The best agencies always work with your family on any concerns or problems you might encounter through the whole process. Pay attention to the agency’s response to your questions and concerns. Do they take your concerns seriously? Do they answer your calls or return message promptly? If the answer is no, it’s time to look for another agency!
Many agencies will have a guarantee replacement on their contract if the placement did not work out. The right nanny agency will always be there when you need them. Remember, the time spent on chosing a nanny agencies and finding the right nanny are an investment in your children’s future. Make the right choice, and you will be able to go to work feeling confident that your child is in the best possible care.