Is Your Nanny Mentally Fit For The Job – How To Spot Potentially Dangerous Problems

Beautiful young woman and her adorable little son having a picnic in sunny park

When it comes to hiring a nanny, many parents think checking references, doing a background check, and making sure the person has plenty of experience is all that they need to do in order to make sure the person is fit to watch their children.

BUT what many people, including myself 12 years ago, don’t understand is, THE MOST important thing to evaluate is your nanny’s state of mental health and her ability to make good judgment calls when necessary.

After working as a nanny myself, hiring several nannies for my three girls and working with clients as a therapist, nanny consultant, and nanny spy, I can honestly say investing in a mental health assessment for your nanny is the single most important thing that you need to do before you hire.

I recently started working with two families who had traumatic experiences with their nannies. The first set of parents came home early from dinner to find their nanny standing by the window smoking pot. She had been working with the family for three months, she had come highly recommended by a top agency and she had excellent references. The parents were shocked and felt betrayed.

Over the course of my meeting with them, they kept telling me how “perfect” she had seemed prior to this incident. However, then they told me that she was stressed financially and had asked for money in advance. I have a list of red flags that all parents should watch for when working with nannies. And being financially stressed and asking for money in advance is definitely one of them.

The second family had an incident with their nanny and they ended up with their child in the hospital. The dad came home one day, greeted the nanny and almost immediately noticed something seemed off with his 10-month-old daughter. He asked the nanny if anything had happened and she said no. His wife came home and she immediately noticed something was not right with their daughter.

The baby was fussy and kept touching her ear. She ended up throwing up. They called a family friend who is a pediatrician and at first thought maybe it was just a virus, but eventually they ended up taking her to the ER. They called the nanny again just to see if maybe she remembered her falling or something, and she denied anything happened. It turned out, their daughter had suffered a concussion and ended up having to stay at the hospital for four days. When the nanny came to the hospital to visit, they again asked her, saying they wouldn’t be mad but needed to get to the bottom of the story. The nanny finally broke down crying and admitted she had fallen.

This nanny had been a referral of another mom, who sang her praises and recommended her highly. And she also had other excellent references. When other moms hear these stories, it clearly alarms them. But stories like these can be avoidable.

Nanny Mental Health Assessments can help identify mental health issues like depression and anxiety that can lead to potentially dangerous situations for your children. Experienced therapists and/or social workers know how to expertly phrase their questions in order to evaluate emotional capacity in a nanny. The assessments are designed to help determine other cognitive abilities, strengths/weaknesses and other traits that will help you find a good match for your family.

A Mental Health Assessment should take about 1 hour and should be done by a licensed mental health professional (a psychologist, licensed social worker or mental health counselor). It should cost less than $500. When you are about to spend $35,000 a year (or more) for your Nanny, this is a small price to pay to know that you’ve done everything you can to put your children in the right hands.

We all want the best for our children and there are no guarantees, but this is another tool you can use to know you did all you can to get the best help for your family. Good luck!

If you’re interested in more information about our services as they relate to your nanny, contact us today!

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