You have been happily living with a part time domestic worker who comes in twice a week and manages to keep your home perfectly in order. Now the time has come when you are blessed with a little one on the way and you would like to leave your precious bundle at home when you go back to work – TERROR strikes as you realize that you have to find someone to take care of her and you are not sure if your domestic worker is the right person for the job!
When is the best time to hire my nanny?
As soon as possible as you have no guarantee that “Mary Poppins” will be the first one through the door. You may have to try a few people before you find the person that you like and trust and feel is up to the huge task of looking after your child in your absence.
What should I look for in my nanny?
Hire someone who is honest and reliable and train them. We often look for the perfect nanny – someone who is totally reliable, extremely hard working, knows all there is to know about caring for your little one and is able to keep up with all the housework. All without complaining or getting tired –
This is hardly ever achievable – rather look for someone who is honest, reliable and keen to learn - then teach them your way.
I’ve hired a wonderful lady, but she just doesn’t do it right!
There is more than one way to do it. Remember that the person your nanny worked for before you may have had very different standards and ways of doing things. Make time to explain, and where possible demonstrate how you like things done. Write task lists and give feedback – when she does it right as well as when there is need for improvement.
I am worried that she will leave my baby in order to get through all the house work and don’t want my child to be neglected.
Detail your priorities clearly. Your nanny wants to please you and as such may be overwhelmed by the daunting task of keeping up with the house work as well as taking care of your precious baby. It is your responsibility to set the priorities and communicate these clearly. e.g. “Please give Sarah all your attention and do what you can when she is sleeping” OR “Please make sure that the kitchen is tidy and the beds are made before you do any other house work”
I am almost ready to go back to work and have not left my nanny alone with my baby yet, how do I know she will cope?
Give her a chance to get to know your baby and learn what needs to be done. Start by letting her change your baby’s nappy – show her how to do this first, then let her do it herself. Slowly start adding responsibilities such as washing and sterilizing bottles, feeding your baby and winding her. Once you are comfortable she can do this. Start popping out to the shops or to meet you friends for a quick cup of coffee – without your baby. Begin by leaving at a time that you know your baby will be restful or in a good mood and leave your contact numbers incase she needs you.
Remember that it is very important that your baby has had time to get used to your nanny before you go back to work so that your baby also trusts her and both are relaxed.
I have worked hard to get my baby into a routine and want to be sure that my nanny sticks to it, what can I do?
Write up a list of important activities and times and let her watch you through the day, until she understands how it is done – show her more than once and talk about everything as you go along. The list may include sleep time, feed time and wake times.
Create a sheet for her to log against these during the day and include notes such as nappy changes and “what was in the nappy”. That way you will know how much your baby ate, slept and played in the day, as well as whether there are any areas of concern.
Remember that babies routines change according to age, mood and a number of less predictable circumstances, make it clear that you would like your nanny to stick to your routine, but encourage her to discuss any issues with you so that you can adapt the routine appropriately e.g. cut down on snooze time, introduce more solids etc.
My nanny is very sweet and nurturing, but does not know how to stimulate my child, which is becoming a concern as my baby grows.
Give her ideas for the week. There are many wonderful websites, books and training courses that will give your nanny many ideas of age appropriate developmental activities she can do with your child. In addition to helping your child develop, your nanny will love the change in routine and the opportunity to do something fun during her day.
Remember to say Thank you
We all appreciate thanks, even when we are just doing our job!
By Meg Faure