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5 Essential Tips For Hiring A Nanny

Having been a full-time nanny in the past, my recommendations are from the employee perspective.
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What are some tips for someone hiring a full-time nanny for the first time? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Christine Murphy, talent scout in Chicago, former teacher & nanny, on Quora.

Having been a full-time nanny in the past, my recommendations are from the employee perspective.

1. Be thoughtful and realistic about what you'd like your nanny to accomplish. Remember, you are hiring help to do tasks you can't (or won't or don't want to) do. If you want your nanny to also do housework like washing dishes or laundry, cleaning, running errands, babysitting the children of other families, or caring for pets, please be realistic about the time those tasks take, advertise the position to include those tasks, agree on expectations up-front and compensate him or her appropriately. As a nanny, I was happy to help out with household tasks occasionally, but I wasn't hired to be a housekeeper, and I pushed back when asked to keep house.

2. Observe the nanny with your children through several interactions before hiring him or her. I really appreciated that I was invited to "shadow" the family for a week before being offered and negotiating my position with them. I observed how mom and dad interacted with the kids, I observed how the kids interacted with each other, and the parents observed me interacting with them. It helped build trust and establish a level of consistency between my style and the parents.

3. Be clear and upfront about how you want your children disciplined, or firm household expectations. Children won't always behave; you and your help MUST be on the same page about how you want those situations handled. Have those conversations before you extend an offer, and be sure the contract includes clear, written guidelines about discipline. When/if you ever have a nanny that disciplines in a way you don't approve of, you must address it immediately and clearly, outlining what you want, and what you don't.

4. Take the time to get to know your help through clear and constant communication. I came into a situation where the previous nanny up and left when her boyfriend proposed marriage. The family didn't even know she was dating someone! This person will be intimately involved with raising your children and in your house frequently. There is a balance between respecting his/her privacy and not taking the time to know who they are outside their work for you. You can create a better dynamic through respectful, frequent communication.

5. Remember you are hiring a person, not a robot. Nannies can be trusted family friends for years to come in a great situation. Treat your employee with dignity and respect; that's what you and they deserve.

Best of luck!

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