Seven Potential Pitfalls To Avoid When Hiring a Nanny

1. Lack of Communication – Setting a precedent for open and honest communication from the start is paramount in ensuring a happy and successful relationship is built with your Nanny. Any concerns that crop up at the beginning, particularly in the handover/trial period, need to be discussed so that a solution can be found and everyone starts off the position on the right foot. If this does not happen, concerns from either the Nanny or parent may grow and grow until one party wants to terminate the contract.

2. Inadequate reference and background checking – Thoroughly screening your nanny can take some time but it is not a step that should be missed out. It is very important to contact referees and discuss with them what type of Nanny the candidate is in order to understand whether she will fit with your family. Completing DBS checks is also very important to ensure you are not putting your children at risk. Completing this step thoroughly can help to ease your anxiety around leaving your child with someone new.

3. Inadequate Contract of employment– Having a contract ensures that both the family and the Nanny are completely clear from the start what the terms of employment are which can reduce any confusion and crossed wires in the future. The contract should include details covering job description/duties, hourly wage, exact hours and whether you will require the Nanny to have some flexibility around these, sickness and holiday allowance, termination and maternity pay. Reading through the contract with your Nanny ensures that any uncertainties can be discussed and if your Nanny does not agree with any of the points, now is the time to discuss this and deal with the issue.

4. Failure to write a relevant job advert – Writing a job advert that is succinct and contains all of the relevant information is an important step in beginning your Nanny recruitment. If the correct information is in the advert, the Nanny can get an idea as to whether this sounds like a job she would be interested in. This therefore saves time in the interviewing process as you are less likely to interview a candidate who realises halfway through the interview that the post is not for them.

5. Not asking the right questions during the interview – While it’s extremely important to discuss with your Nanny in the interview her availability, hours expected to work, job role and duties that are expected of her, hourly wage and holiday allowance, it’s also necessary to ask questions which help you get a better picture of who she is. For instance, asking the Nanny a little bit about her background and what made her choose this career pathway, as well as some examples from her previous jobs of how she has tackled difficult situations.

6. Unfair increase in workload and hours – Once duties and hours have been agreed in the contract, these should not be changed unless a review has been scheduled and discussion around a pay rise takes place. If on the odd occasion you are home late from work this is understandable and most Nannies would not have a problem with this. However, if the workload slowly increases and if coming home late from work becomes a regular occurrence, most Nannies will start to feel under paid and undervalued and consequently will seek employment elsewhere.

7. Lack of discussion around parenting styles – It is important right from the start to have the discussion with a Nanny around child rearing techniques. Being consistent with the child around such things as boundaries avoids feelings of uncertainty and confusion for both the child and the Nanny. It is also important to strike a balance between the child rearing philosophies held by the parents and the Nanny feeling comfortable carrying out certain strategies e.g time out.

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