Whether you’ve experienced a nanny nightmare or are hiring a babysitter for the first time, the process of finding the perfect fit for yourself and your children can be a hassle.
Despite the many variables of what makes a “perfect” nanny, you can make the process much, much easier by knowing what to look for and having your home routine well-prepared for beforehand. Consider how much of the success of your new sitter is on your shoulders as you outline expectations and put your trust in a fresh face within your home.
Ask yourself: are you setting up your nanny for success?
The following steps can help ease your mind and make for a smooth transition for your new nanny. By having your bases covered, you can give yourself peace of mind and make your sitter’s job that much easier, representing a win for both yourself and your child’s well-being.
The responsibility of setting up your home to ensure your child’s safety falls on you: after all, a sitter is there to watch your child, not take over the essential aspects of parenting. Therefore, make sure you leave no stone unturned in terms of safety before you even start the hiring process. For example, make sure that you’ve done the following to give yourself peace of mind:
Designate “off limits” areas of the home where you don’t want your child to go when you’re not present (for example, a spare bedroom) and use child-safety locks as a second line of defense
Make sure that there are no obvious safety hazards in sight: an elegant wooden bedroom furniture set may be easy on the eyes, but make sure to keep your furniture well-cushioned and install edge covers on such pieces if necessary
Approve any toys for playtime beforehand and keep anything with small pieces out of your child’s play area
Although you can’t possibly control everything that happens while you’re away from home, the aforementioned steps represent a proactive approach to ensuring your child’s safety.
Simply put, you should meet face-to-face with your potential new hire prior to having them watch your children. You may also want to have your child present during your meeting to get a “feel” for your new nanny. Considering that you can only gauge so much of someone’s personality online, an in-person meeting will help ease your mind of any doubts you may have.
Additionally, a face-to-face meeting allows you to avoid to a needlessly long laundry list of instructions while also giving you a chance to reinforce any essential points of care to your new hire.
Leave a List
That being said, you should leave a list beyond your verbal instructions, although you shouldn’t be too wordy. Simply include bullet points or highlight explicit information such as “no television after 8:00 PM” or food allergies and so on. Additionally, you should explicitly state any emergency medical information and the location of a first aid kit and medicines in case of an accident.
Avoid a Food Frenzy
Speaking of food, you should be explicit about your child’s dietary needs and don’t beat around the bush. If you don’t want your child eating sweets, for example, make this explicit so your nanny doesn’t think it’s okay to sneak them candy while you’re gone. Ideally you can prepare a meal beforehand that simply needs to be heated up if you’re concerned about anyone cooking within your home.
Extra Entertainment on Deck
Most seasoned nannies are pros when it comes to entertaining kids, but sometimes some backup entertainment is necessary to give everyone a breather. Consider setting up a playlist of videos or give your nanny access to your Netflix account to give your kids some time to zone out and provide your nanny with a much-needed break.
Explicit instructions and expectations are key to avoiding a nanny nightmare and ensuring the well-being of your child. Strive to build a positive relationship with your new hire by being crystal clear and setting them up for success.
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