Many people find the idea of hiring a nanny a worrying proposition. The importance of getting it right, and the terrible consequences of getting it wrong, load the situation with pressure and anxiety in equal measure. Our kids mean the world to us and in a perfect world we’d all be stay at home mums, baking barefoot in the kitchen with our brood and spending every minute of every day in their delightful company.
Now let’s take a reality check. Maintaining a household in London is expensive and usually both parents work full time to pay for it. This state of affairs demands that the best childcare options are sourced. Read on for a plan of action…
Sit back and take a cool hard look at how much support you need in terms of childcare. Choose from full-time live in or part-time live out nannies, those who offer childcare before and after school or those who come in for a few hours a week. Most nannies have a degree of flexibility in terms of working hours but it is your responsibility from the outset to be clear about what you need. Confusion over a nanny’s role can make for awkward moments at a later date – this is a good reason for using nanny agencies in London who can hammer out the minutiae of a working contract between you and your employee with minimum fuss.
Ask yourself if you want a nanny that is youthful or mature? Will they need energy or experience to cope with your children? Would you like a man or woman caring for your kids? Traditionally nannying has been viewed as a female role, however withhigh profile manny users like Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna singing their praises, male nannies are on the increase.
Other questions you need to nail down before launching into a hunt is how much you can afford to pay as a wage, is it important where they live (ie, do you need someone close by?) Do they have to be bi-lingual or have a driving license?
Finding the perfect nanny can be a time consuming process, but it is essential that it isn’t rushed. The first place to start looking is among your friends that have children. Which nanny agencies in London would they recommend? Do they know of any friends who have a nanny soon to become available? Local neighbourhood networks of friends are great places to find nannies that come with solid recommendations – great for peace of mind during this emotionally challenging exercise. If you don’t strike lucky on the local parental grapevine, approach the best nanny agencies in London for the widest choice of care packages and options to suit your unique family situation.
Make a list of questions you would like any prospective nanny to answer. You will be leaving this person in sole care of your precious children and you need to feel 100 per cent comfortable about this. What is their child-caring style? Strict or relaxed? How would they comfort an anxious child missing their parents? Do they have the necessary first aid experience? Why did they leave their last post? Can you see references from previous employers? You may prefer nanny agencies in London to tackle the more invasive questions on your behalf if you feel awkward about it. Many parents choose to focus on their gut feeling about a nanny and how they will feel having them in their home for long periods. As well as how you feel about them, it’s important to gauge how your kids respond to them – is the chemistry right? As parents it is your role to be watchful and make the ultimate judgement call.
If you have identified a nanny you feel is right, suggest having a trial run before making a long term commitment. This arrangement works in favour of both parties and allows you both to make an assessment of the situation. Either for a few days or a couple of weeks, make sure the trial is long enough for kids and nanny to have settled down with each other.
The nanny quest can be daunting at times, but finding the right candidate is possible with the right preparation and focused searching. Everyone wants the best for their kids and finding the perfect nanny is the next best thing to caring for them yourself…