What to Look for in a Nanny

Today I played I Spy, also known as going grocery shopping with a 2 and 4-year-old.  I pretended I was a dinosaur eating lunch (a fun way to get the same 2 and 4-year-old to eat their lunches) and then I spent 30 minutes rescuing frisbees from trees and rooftops in the “the most awesome windstorm ever”, to quote the 4-year-old.

Taking care of small kids requires a ton of creativity, a ton of energy and a lot of flexibility (sometimes even physical flexibility when reaching for that frisbee caught in the tree). Finding the right person to take care of your children can seem like a huge task as you consider what is important to you in a nanny.

What should you look for in a nanny or caregiver for your children?

First, there are the must-haves.

You must have a trustworthy nanny. This can be determined through an interview questionnaire and a in-person interview.
You must have a competent driver if they’ll be picking up your kids from school or going on outings. This can be checked through a background screening that includes a check of driving records.
You must have confidence in their childcare skills. This is determined through calling references and learning about their skills by talking to parents they have worked for as well as checking with supervisors from other jobs and volunteer positions.

Next, there are the want-to-haves.

You want to have a nanny that brings new craft ideas, imagination and creative play to the child’s playtime.
You want to have a caregiver that follows your model for the day’s structure, rules and behavior management.
You want to have a nanny that’s ready to invest fully in your kids during the time they have together. They need the energy and focus to make your kids their priority during their time together.
You want to have a nanny that’s ready to change her plans to best fit your kids mood and needs of the day. Today, for example, I didn’t plan to chase frisbees in the wind, but when I saw the fun it provided, the energy release and the great fresh air, it was time to change plans and seize the moment.
You want to have a nanny that sees the bigger picture – knowing how nice it is for a family to come home to a packed up house, swept floors and maybe even dinner started.

On top of all the above, you want someone that lives relatively close by and has a schedule that is open to meet your childcare needs.

It’s not a piece of cake finding that right nanny match. Northlight Nannies has given us the opportunity to help many Grand Rapids families take care of this special job of finding the right caregiver for their kids.  Taking on all those task to make sure the families “must-haves” and “want-to-haves” are met is what keeps us busy every day.

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