The ABCs of finding a good nanny

When I had my baby, the thought of having a stranger take care of my baby for the whole day made me just a little bit apprehensive. My first wish was to take a year off work and look after him. But this was just not possible.

I had many ideas on how I was going to find a good, reliable nanny and the only armour I had at that stage was my newly-formed mommy instincts. Needless to say my journey in finding a good nanny was not as smooth as I had anticipated. Qhamani was only 10 months old when I already let go of 2 nannies because of a number of reasons ranging from late coming to smoking.

The following points will help make your journey in finding a good nanny much easier than mine.

Know what you are looking for
Be quite clear about the skills you would like your nanny to have, for example: What language must they speak? Because your baby is developing his language skills at this point he will pick up on the language that his nanny speaks to him. A colleague of mine could remember how to speak isi-Zulu because her nanny was Zulu lady. She learned how to speak Zulu before she could speak her mother tongue, English.

How far away do they live?
It is important to know how far your nanny lives from you and how she travels to work. If she has problems with transport you can make suggestions and give advice where you can. There is nothing more frustrating that a nanny who comes late because it makes you late and this can create a fair amount of unwanted stress.

Do they have children of their own?
Women who have children of their own have more experience in raising children. Because of this they have a better sense of when children are sick. Make it clear what you expect her to do, and whether she is not allowed to give the baby medicine without checking with you first.

What is their employment history?
This is also quite important to know that they have worked before. There is nothing worse than finding out that this is her first job after being released from prison (this actually happened to someone I know).

What is their family situation?
Are they married or single? I find that even though these details might seem to be quite small but it does affect how people behave in terms of their lifestyles and their priorities. If you have something in common, it can help build understanding.

The next step is to advertise that you are looking for someone. Word of mouth is the best way to get hold of a good, competent person. Ask parents of grown-up children to recommend good people that have worked for them or their friends.

Babies are constantly developing and your nanny needs to be aware of these stages and be fully trained to deal with them all. Ask nanny agencies about a course for your new nanny, so she is up to date on first aid and other important basics.

Have you found a wonderful nanny? Or do you have horror stories?

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