Five Tips for Hiring the perfect nanny
“We are looking to hire the perfect nanny!”
“No pressure then, eh?”
Does the perfect nanny even exist? Is perfection something we have come to expect in people? Any idea which famous all singing, dancing, umbrella holding fictional character brought this idea about? Well, if you haven’t guessed by now and have been living on the moon then she goes by the name of Mary Poppins! Mary Poppins set the standard and I’m really going to ask you to take my word for this as someone that runs a nanny agency and speaks with clients for a living. I have lost count of how many families have jokingly asked me if we have a real-life Mary Poppins, or when I ask them to explain their idea of their perfect nanny her name pops up (mind the pun!). It’s not just the families either, nannies and governesses all over the world have an attachment to Mary Poppins and strive to be like her. Please don’t stop reading our blog immediately, but should you head on over to Instagram and look at the numbers for #marypoppins you’ll be astonished!
And with quotes like this from the film, is it any wonder she is deemed as the perfect nanny?
“In every job that must be done there is an element of fun” Did you just sing that? I did!
“The cover is not the book, so open it up and take a look” I didn’t sing it but it made me feel warm inside and philosophical even.
“There’s a whole world at your feet” That just oozes positivity and hope.
Excuse me, I could have continued with the quotes all day, as I am in fact a Mary Poppins fan myself and I always smile to myself when parents ask me the Mary Poppins question. But let’s get back to the real world for the time being, after all there’s a time and place for everything and my aim is not to write about fictional characters but hiring a perfect nanny that does exist in real life.
How do we find you the perfect nanny and are we stretching ourselves to think this is achievable? At times, possibly, but mostly if we have great communication with our nanny families then we are able to work some magic of our own and wait for it, find the perfect nanny for them. That does not mean the perfect person for everybody, just that family and that nanny based on both of their requirements and of course everyone’s favourite class at school Chemistry. The Oxford dictionary states that Chemistry (when associated with human interactions) is the complex emotional or psychological interaction between people. Now I’ve no idea how I became such a good Chemist taking that into consideration but I must say, without blowing my own trumpet, we are rather good with that side of things here a team Great British Nannies. I promise I will now lead on to your top 5 tips for hiring a perfect nanny as promised way back in the title, you see I’m a lady that keeps to my word.
Communication is key from the very start. I understand we all lead very busy lives, in fact some of our clients seem to lead some of the busiest lives of all, big families, teams of staff and properties all over the world, we understand you have a lot to take care of and we are here to do the hard work for you. However, we need to discuss your full requirements and understand what type of person would fit in well within your home, knowing about you and your children’s personalities and other staff members within the household, for example.
2. Choose your agency wisely
Hiring a perfect nanny for your family is no easy feat in the same way that finding a life partner isn’t. You are going to be trusting your nanny with your children, to nurture, keep safe and educate. We’ve seen many families get confused after signing up to 10 childcare agencies and still having no idea what they are genuinely looking for when it comes to hiring a nanny. Find the agency or representative that you feel understands you, asks the right questions and that you can tell does this from the heart and is not simply a business transaction. We opened from a place of love for the industry, children, nannies and families as many other wonderful nanny agencies have, but as in any industry take care as it is not always the case. Do your research but try not to overwhelm yourself. Work exclusively with one nanny agency or choose a couple you feel you’d like to work closely with so you can spend your energy giving them all the required information and answering their additional questions you may not have thought about. An example of this is, do you have any pets? Imagine we found you the perfect nanny and she had a serious allergy to your cat? That would be somewhat disappointing for all involved, besides the cat, the cat wouldn’t care. Sidenote: Isn’t that why we love about cats, their aloofness?
3. Make it a family affair
If you are looking to hire a nanny with your partner then discuss all aspects about what you wish for with them. You could make an evening of it, pop on Mary Poppins and brainstorm away, sorry there goes my obsession again. No really, decide what are your main incentives for hiring a nanny. Make your nanny Avator as it were. Think about your personalities as well as your child(s) and their interests. It’s really beautiful when a nanny and his/her charges are able to share similar interests and both take joy in the activities they carry out together daily. Do you want a passive nanny that will follow your guidelines or are you seeking a nanny that will be able to guide and advise you more and take that kind of initiative? Would you prefer a more informal or formal relationship with your nanny?
Do you want to welcome him/her as part of the family once mutual trust has been gained or would you prefer her to come and do her job and not interact with you as parents. You should know yourselves and be honest about these questions as they will be important. If you are more on the formal side, sometimes live out nannies are your best option as there is a healthy space between you. The main point is to really think about all kinds of aspects, including your pet peeves. If you are clean freaks we should know about it. If you’re not, equally as important, we want to find you the perfect nanny! Your children, assuming they are old enough to give their input are intuitive and ask them to give you three words that describe a nanny. They might be your key three words to think about her personality, for example your child might say, happy, funny and loves to paint.
4. Make time for an interview and trial
I know it seems obvious, but it’s not always the case and this is an important point to take note of. We suggest you have at least two hours for the interview and also have both parents present if there are two of you seeking a nanny as this decision should be made by both of you. This saves everyone’s valuable time and allows the nanny to get a real feel of the people and environment he/she will be working in. If you feel comfortable at the interview stage it is a great idea for your children to be present or schedule a second interview or even better, something we always advise is a trial period. Chemistry during the interview and the reality of working together can be somewhat different and this allows yourselves and the nanny to understand whether you will work well together without any awkwardness of signing a contract and having notice periods to pay if you decide after one week that isn’t the candidate for you after all. Of course, getting it right the first time is optimal, but realistically and truthfully it is not always the case. This may mean booking a few days off or inviting the nanny to trial over the weekend where the whole family are able to get a feel.
5. Treat your nanny how you would like your child to be treated by an employer
If you hire the perfect nanny, make sure she knows it. Compliment her and tell her how appreciated she is. That you know how important her role is, she is not ‘just a nanny’ as I’ve heard on more occasions than I wish to remember. She is taking care of your children for you in your absence, being a friend, an educator, protector, the list goes on. It’s important, really important, we believe more than any job in the world that your nanny has job satisfaction, feels free and able to approach you and communicate with you so that her only focus is on your children and that she is happy in her role.
You are a team a team that are your kids biggest fans. The best matches we make are with parents and nannies that are on board with each other’s beliefs and that openly communicate and discuss things if there are times when their opinions differ. Again, your children are intelligent and intuitive, constantly learning and picking up the vibes in their environment. Make it a ‘positive vibes only’ environment and allow your children to show you treating their nanny with respect, they will learn this from you first and it will again make the nanny’s job easier in gaining their trust and respect, which of course takes time and patience. In the nanny world there are a lot of nannies that gush about their ‘unicorn families’ these stories make my heart sing with joy. These are the families the nannies want to stay with forever and that break their hearts when the children longer require them any longer.
A perfect nanny will treat your children as if they were their own, that is in essence what you are trying to look out for when interviewing a nanny. Lastly, going back to the title of this section. Just read it over again and let it sink in whilst you go about hiring a nanny. We all deserve to be in jobs we feel happy, safe and appreciated in. It is in your interest to make your nanny feel that way and you will see the results shine through in your children.
We’ll be making a Unicorn Family blog series soon, if you’d like to read any of these beautiful stories come and have a read sometime soon, they will uplift you and give you a really nice idea about what kind of union is achievable with your nanny.
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