Advice when hiring a new nanny

August 30, 2010

Over the years, I have personally hired all my nannies and babysitters for my daughters, Sophie (11), and Charlotte (8). I do all the interviewing and checking of references before they come over for the first time. Even though I prepare myself, I still get butterflies in my stomach when I leave them with someone new for the first time. I now know this is so normal.

My daughters are much better at adjusting to a new caregiver than I am. They don’t tell me, but I’m sure that they actually look forward to it. They’re older now, and I think they look forward to some change in their scheduled lives that a new babysitter brings.

But, when they were younger there were things that I did ahead of time to prepare everyone for the new friend. As we have many parents preparing for a new nanny or babysitter in September, here is some advice I can pass along.

  • Prep the nanny – take them on a house tour, showing them where the medical kit, house rules, emergency phone numbers, etc. When the nanny knows this, it will make both her and your children feel more confident and safe that the nanny is prepared for any situation that may arise (and may help you too!)
  • Have the nanny over for a few play dates for shorter periods of time before they actually start full-time care. Give them some one-on-one time with your children so that the nanny can focus on your children during that time.
  • The first day the nanny is coming over, engage in a fun activity with the kids beforehand. Then, when the nanny arrives, invite her to join in as a transition.
  • When it’s time for you to leave, let your child know that you’re going – don’t sneak out. Kisses, smiles, and hugs help them feel better. Say goodbye to both the nanny and your children – then leave, don’t linger. Your children may get upset, but this is totally normal! Don’t try to fix it, you may make it worse for everyone. An experienced nanny will have seen this before, and will know what to do.
  • Your children may be upset for days. If so, continue the routine of leaving confidently and lovingly. Your children will learn that you always come back and will learn to trust you.
  • At the end of the day, talk to the nanny about what they did during the day. If your children are old enough, ask them about it too.

Within a short period of time, you will all adjust to the new person. In time, maybe your children will look forward to it, just as my daughters do!

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