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Top 5 Qualities I Look For In A Nanny/Babysitter

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Long before I was a psychologist and even a parent I was a nanny, and then a “Nanny Spy.” Last week, I shared some red flags to look for during an interview, but today I wanted to share the top five qualities I look for when evaluating a nanny or hiring someone to watch my own children.

  1. Someone with Excellent Recommendations

When you are searching for a sitter, one of the best tips is to network among your friends, family and co-workers to gather a list of sitters that they have used. Sitters who come highly recommended are more likely to be experienced, knowledgeable and trustworthy. Think of hiring a babysitter in the same way that you would hire an employee for your business. Would you want to hire an employee who did not have good quality references, and who was not recommended by past employers?

  1. Someone with First Aid Experience

One quality  you should never compromise on is that your sitter have a CPR certification, or at least have basic first aid knowledge. Accidents happen, especially where children are concerned. Your sitter should know how to clean and bandage cuts and scrapes, perform CPR and perform the Heimlich maneuver. If you have a baby or small child, it is important for your sitter to know how to perform these life-saving techniques specifically for infants and toddlers, so that their small bodies are not injured.

  1. Someone who Bonds with Your Family

You want to look for a sitter who has a connection to you and your family. This is not to say that you will have some instant bond, in which a halo of light forms around the sitter’s face, but when you interview potential sitters, you should be able to pick up on which individual will work best with your family. It is best to look for a babysitter who will reinforce your values and belief systems while you are gone.

The interview process should also involve your children spending time with their potential new sitter. You want to make sure that your children feel comfortable around their sitter, and that they are willing to communicate with her/him. Allowing your children to spend time with a potential sitter is especially important if you have an infant, since a baby’s needs are more sensitive, and their schedules are more intense.

  1. Someone who will Follow Your Rules

There is nothing worse than hiring a sitter who will allow your children to gorge themselves on candy and soda, and then allow them to stay up as late as they want. Therefore, it is very important to find a babysitter who will follow your household rules to the letter. It is a good idea to ask your babysitter’s references about whether the sitter is good at following rules, and if they are perceived to have issues with authority.

  1. Someone who is Mature

While there is no standard age for babysitting, it is important to hire a sitter who is mature and responsible, no matter her/his years. For example, it may be best for you to hire a 14-year-old who has helped take care of her three younger brothers and sisters, as opposed to a 16-year-old who has never changed a diaper.

The next time that you need a night on the town and are looking for a babysitter, remember to hire someone who has excellent recommendations, who has first aid experience, who bonds with your family, who will follow your rules and who is mature. Using these five criteria for things you should look for in a babysitter will ensure that you select a sitter who is a right fit for your family.

If you’re interested in more information about our services as they relate to your nanny, check out our nanny consulting page or contact us today.

The Nanny Search

So you know you need to hire a nanny, but where do you begin looking? 

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For many parents, the task of finding a childcare professional can be daunting, even if this isn’t your first time going through the process. For those of you who are new to parenting, or who have recently relocated to a new city and don’t yet have a network of people you trust who you can ask for advice, the prospect of locating, vetting, interviewing and then hiring a new nanny can seem near impossible.  Below are a few tried and true options families can use when approaching their search.

Reach out to friends:  The first place to start is asking friends, neighbors or other acquaintances you know who have children of a similar age, or that have had babysitters in the past. Ask them where they would recommend looking for a nanny, and if they have any suggestions for people they have used in the past that might be a good fit for your family. The best advertising is often through word-of-mouth!

Look within your community:  If you have just relocated to a new area, you may not know people you can ask yet. Or, perhaps your friends weren’t able to provide you with helpful answers.  Either way, your next step should be to reach out to people in your community to ask for advice. If you belong to a church, mosque or synagogue, many times nannies and babysitters will advertise their services there. You can also contact teachers and administrators at local schools to ask for guidance.  he more people you reach out to, the better chance you will have of finding exactly what you are looking for.

Use the internet:  Another great “first step” is always to perform an internet search. Search for terms like “childcare professionals in [your city],” and sift through the results you find. You may find local nanny agencies, ads from nannies looking for work on websites such as Craigslist or CareerBuilder or Mommy blogs that can give you guidelines and advice for how to navigate websites such as Care.com and GoNannies.com.

Whatever method you choose, the end result should be the same. We all want to have as many options as possible when selecting the person who will be caring for our children. The more avenues you have to search, the better your chance is of finding the perfect nanny for your family.  Happy hunting!

If you’re interested in more information about our services as they relate to your nanny, check out our nanny consulting page or contact us today.