Finding a child minder

By Drum Digital
04 May 2014

Juggling home and work isn’t easy and mothers should never be ashamed to admit they need help. Finding a total stranger to trust with your child and home can be very challenging. How do you find someone who’ll not only set your mind at ease but also provide your child with the best possible care?

In a perfect world, the first child minder you interview will be the one ? she’s great with your little one and loves her job. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes you might need to have a sit-down with a few potentials before finding the perfect person, but that requires time and patience that busy mommies usually don’t have.

So, where do you start?

The best place to start is with a referral. This could be from family, friends, colleagues or parents from your child’s school. “Referrals from someone you trust are a great basis,” says project director Tintswalo Shikwambane, a mother of two boys, aged seven and six months old.

Boitumelo Mpete, a communications specialist from Pretoria, shares the same sentiment. “I prefer referrals from family members. I too found the best minder from a child minder who worked for my family. My daughter is now four years old and [our minder] has been with us since [my daughter] was nine months old,” she says.

Leave it with the experts

Alternatively, you can approach a placing agency; this might be costly but could save time. Agencies have a pool of applicants to choose from and assist with screening. However, not everyone likes using an agency. “I personally don’t like agencies, as I found their rules clash with mine. I made use of them previously but it didn’t work for me,” says Tintswalo.

What to do when funds and time are limited

Another helpful way to put word out is advertising online using free classifieds sites such as Gumtree or your local store noticeboard. When writing your advert remember to include the terms of employment and a negotiable salary amount which ranges from R3 000 to R5 000 depending on qualifications and experience. These should be clarified to help make sure only suitable candidates apply.

Nanny Placing consultant Ruth Sibanda suggests mothers make sure the person they employ can take care of children, has the right qualifications, references and personality to fit in with the family. “Preferably they should have a childcare qualification that covers aspects relating to childcare like potty training,” she says.

“Always ask for a CV with contactable references. The CV should include all their child-care experience and former employers,” says Sibanda. “Agencies like ours do screening tests but we also prefer that clients check and interview candidates themselves.”

It’s advised moms phone-screen candidates before the one-on-one interview. This can be done to limit the number of people you interview in person, thus saving time. You can use the telephonic interview to go through their résumé and to get an idea of the kind of person they are, that all terms of employment are covered and both of you are clear before proceeding.

The next step

Now you have a list of potential candidates to interview, but before you start scheduling the interviews, you need to decide where you want it to take place. Would you like to have the interview at home or in a public place? The advantage of having the interview at your home is your child has the opportunity to meet the potential child minder and you can assess whether the two bond or not. Sibanda suggests parents cover questions relating to the job, things such as administering medication or what to do should the child choke. Before making a decision contact previous employers or references. Also cover your bases and look into the legal aspects that come with the employer/employee relationships such as a signed contract of employment in line with the Department of Labour and registering your child minder for the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

Important points to consider:

  • How much the child minder earns;
  • Experience and training;
  • Working hours and leave;
  • A driver’s licence;
  • Main duties;
  • Additional duties such as the child’s laundry, meals; and
  • Language proficiency.

-Koketso Mashika

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