As any working parent knows, finding the right nanny is an important decision if you want to ensure your life runs as smoothly as possible. If you are thinking of finding a nanny in London then there will be a lot of different factors at play. For one thing, it’s a big place so you need to ensure the nanny or agency you are considering actually operates in your area. Whether you hire a nanny privately or decide to go through an agency, here is how you go about finding the right person for you and your children:
• Know What You Want: Make a list of everything you and your partner want a nanny so you can narrow your search a little. Is it important to have somebody older with years of experience, or would you prefer someone younger with plenty of energy who can wear your children out? Also, will you need them to be available at short notice without living in? If so, they will probably need to live fairly nearby which restricts you a bit: London is a big place and it can take a long time to travel across it. Does it matter if they are a man or a woman, and do they need any specific skills such as the ability to speak another language?
• Get The Word Out: It’s a good idea to let your friends and acquaintances know that you are looking for a nanny in case they can recommend someone for you. You can also post notices on online job boards, at the local post office, universities and so on. However, if you don’t have the time to search yourself or aren’t confident that you can find someone qualified on your own, it might be better to use a nanny agency. One of the main benefits of doing this is that they will have a pool of nannies for you to choose from, all of who will have been thoroughly background checked and possess the necessary qualifications.
• Interview Them: However, even if you are going through an agency you shouldn’t just sit back and leave everything to them. You should still arrange to interview each prospective nanny as a parent’s intuition is very important and this may be the only way to find out if they are the right ‘fit’ for your family. During these interviews you should ask plenty of questions, for example: How would you discipline a child? How would you soothe them if they were upset? Are you comfortable dealing with sick children? How would you go about building a bond? Do you smoke?
You might also want to find out if they are willing to complete a trial period before you take them on properly. After all, some children will reject a caregiver for no obvious reason so you don’t want to be stuck with someone who is unable to bond. This could potentially be very damaging for your son or daughter’s development and will also make your own life very stressful.
• Check References: By the time the interview is complete you should have some idea of which nanny you want to take on. At this stage you should always ask to see their references, copies of First Aid certificates and so on. If you want to you can ask to take copies of these for your own files. References are especially important: some people are very good at knowing what to say in interviews but a past employer will be able to tell you about how they interact with children, how reliable they are and so on.
• Trust Your Intuition: Finally, remember that when it comes down to it only you as a parent can decide whether you want to take this person on full-time. How do you feel having them in the house? Does your child seem happy and confident around them? Do they seem to respect your house and do they really listen when you talk to them? Do you feel safe leaving your child with them? Sometimes a gut feeling can be the right one, especially when you are dealing with something as emotive as who is going to take care of your child whilst you are at work. Trust your instincts.