Entrusting your child to a stranger is a very hard decision for any parent, but, when you need to get back to your job or even work from home with uninterrupted focus, there isn’t much of an option. Most parents have some idea about the kind of nanny they’d be comfortable with. At least, in terms of age, temperament, educational background, or personality. A nanny can play an enormous role in your family life, your career and even your sanity. To hire a nanny is to find the one person is trustworthy and competent enough for you to entrust your most prized possession with them for a few hours a day!
That’s a big deal!
Selecting the right nanny for your child
The process of hiring a nanny often starts with an ad. That’s if you’re not lucky enough to have a friend recommend someone they know. You need to design your ad in such a way as to make it clear what sort of person you’re looking for.
Some parents prefer a young nanny, who could relate better to the children and engage with them. Others want an elderly nanny. Either way, you should mention the preferred age bracket in your ad.
Also, if you want the nanny to teach your kids a foreign language or music, put that down in the ad as well.
What do I look for during the job interview?
If you receive many offers, try to select those that fit your needs better. You don’t want to spend days interviewing nannies.
Set up meetings with the selected candidates and have them come to your house, preferably during the hours your children are awake. You need to see how these prospective nannies interact with children. Are they strict or friendly? Do they bond easily with children? Do they seem warm and kind? And most of all – is the child comfortable with the would-be nanny?
Ask them about their family background and education, and, do ask about their previous employers. While doing so, observe how they talk about past employers.
Ask the nanny if they can provide references and ask for the contact details of their previous employers. Even if they do have good references to present, talk to their previous employers yourself.
Do I need a background check before I hire a nanny?
You will be entrusting the nanny with your precious child. So, you cannot afford to take any sort of chances.
Most candidates will understand why you want them to undergo a police background check. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. Since you’re the one that asks for a criminal record check, you need to take care of it.
You can use an online character check agency like those used in Australia e.g. ANCC (website: https://www.australiannationalcharactercheck.com.au/) which provides 100% accurate police checks in a matter of days. Also, the whole process of applying for a background check is very easy, and you can even do it on your mobile phone while you’re chatting with the nanny. If their criminal record comes back clean, you’ll know you’re leaving your child with a reliable person.
What should I know about the ‘Working With Children’ Permit?
In Australia, people working with children need to undergo a special police check, which is way more comprehensive than a routine background check.
For instance, teachers, nurses in pediatric hospitals, nursery employees, or sports coaches working with minors, all need to obtain a Working With Children Permit. In addition to a criminal history check, the national authority in charge of WWC permits also examines the previous activity and conduct of the applicant to see if they were ever charged (not necessarily in court) with any sort of abuse against children, in particular sexual abuse.
If there are any reasons to believe an applicant might be a threat to the safety of the children, they will not be granted a permit. Furthermore, this permit, also known as a Blue Permit, needs to be renewed every 5 years. So, basically, those who work with children are under constant scrutiny.
This type of extensive WWC check is not available for private employers, so a routine background check is as good as it gets. The good news is that sexual offenses against children do not fall under the Spent Convictions scheme so they will be disclosed during a simple police check even if they were committed more than 10 years ago.
Should I run a health check before you hire a nanny?
If possible, have them provide the results of a full medical checkup before hiring them. Taking care of children can be physically and mentally challenging. Imagine what could happen if the nanny takes the child out for a walk, but cannot run after him when he gets dangerously close to a dog or tries to cross a busy road. So keep an account of her medical records to prevent such situations.
Before you hire a nanny during the Covid-19 pandemic, make sure you ask about vaccinations.
You, as a parent, need to know you can depend on the nanny if you have your career to take care of. What do you do if your nanny calls you to say she won’t be coming to work today as her sciatica is flaring up again? How many times can you call in sick to stay with the kid before your boss decides to replace you?
Hiring a nanny is a huge responsibility, so don’t rush it. Do your research, check up on their references and their health, do a background check. Do whatever it takes to make sure you’ve found a suitable person.