Since Dean and I have had a total of three nannies, one of whom we fired, I feel keenly aware of what is important when looking for a caregiver, which is this: trust.
- Do you trust this person to care for your child?
- Does this person have the maturity and intelligence to make decisions in an emergency?
- Will this person put the care and interests of your child over her own?
- Is this person loving?
- Will she love your child?
Unfortunately, these are not questions that you can ask during an interview! You have to rely on references and your own gut. Here is what I have learned.
1. Stalk the caregiver online.
This seems creepy, but it’s not. This is someone who will be taking care of your child! From my stealth sleuthing, I discovered how involved our former nanny was in our community and specifically, the planning of the neighborhood playground. SCORE!
2. Ask the uncomfortable questions.
- Everyone swears by their nanny / babysitter / caregiver. Dig deeper. Ask references:
- What could the caregiver have improved on?
- What would have made them the super nanny?
- Have they ever been fired?
- Tell me about a time when the nanny didn’t follow your directions.
- Tell me about a time you had to confront the nanny about a concern.
3. Look for clues of validation.
I think one of the best indicators of a good caregiver is that they continue to provide care even after kids go to school. Families have them booked solid for babysitting because they’re in such high demand.
4. Catch them off-guard.
Drop in on the nanny unexpectedly. Tell them you’re going to be home at 5pm, then make a surprise appearance at 3pm. I’m all for nanny cams. Whatever you need to do to ensure your child is in good hands.
5. Trust your gut.
The nanny that we fired wasn’t horrible. She just wasn’t great. When she had Franco solo (because the other kid was sick), she insisted that she take him to the museum (she had a regular meetup there with her other nanny friends). Dean commented that Franco was only 4 months old and she could instead stay home, but she refused, saying that Franco loved the museum. Uhh, yeah sure, lady.
Not too long after that, she sent us a video of Franco baking in the hot sun. He wasn’t in the shade and he didn’t have a hat on. Dean and I both came home from work and we said simultaneously, “We’ve got to get rid of her.”
And that’s when we found our next nanny who was so friggin amazing that people called her the unicorn nanny, as if there was no way she existed. We had to give her up when we moved out of the city, but to this day, we try to see her or bring her flowers when we’re in the neighborhood.
I would love to hear some good caregiver stories! Good and bad. Please share with me 🙂