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hiring a nanny - questions & advice needed

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

We are in the process of finding a nanny for our 1 yr old and 2 yr old. Several of our applicants have a child they want to bring with them. I'm fine with that but I'm wondering what do I do about food? I will expect the nanny to prepare meals for the children but do I ask her to bring her own food for her and her child? Ideally I would just say don't worry about it and eat whatever you prepare for my kids but I'm concerned that it would be expensive in the long run feeding two additional people (we are a family of 6 so our food bill is quite big already). What is customary? Also, what do you do as far as day to day feedback about the children? At daycare I get a sheet each day that lets me know what my child did and what they ate. Is it too much to expect something similar (maybe not quite as formal)? I would also love to know some great interview questions that have helped you narrow down the playing field. I have been flooded with applicants and its a bit overwhelming. Any advice on these items and anything else would be greatly appreciated!!!

post #2 of 4

With a nanny, you write the contract, so you can make the rules about food whatever suits you. I'd figure a starting point for negotiation (e.g. you prepare meals for our child and your child eats too, in return, your salary will be $XX per week less than it would be if we were not feeding your child). And yes, if you'd like a formal filled out sheet each day, ask for it. 

 

We winnowed down candidates first by making a checklist of our "must haves" (years of experience, legal status, availability--whatever else is important to you). That gave us a short list who we interviewed by phone; we then met with the people who best fitted our criteria and who we felt we had the best communication with.

 

My biggest recommendation is to make sure everything is set down in writing in the contract: sick & vacation days for the nanny; what happens if you don't need the nanny on a regularly scheduled day; what happens if you are late for pick up; what happens if one kid is sick (we have a share, so this is an issue for us--less so for sibs, I imagine); notice periods for you and for the nanny if you decide to terminate the agreement. If it's all set out in writing at the beginning, you don't have to negotiate this stuff as you go and you're less likely to have hurt feelings.

 

For interview questions, my best ones were sort of open ended asking about how the nanny would handle challenging situations. For instance, when we interviewed for nannies for a share for my then 5-month old, I asked "what would you do if both babies were very fussy and crying at the same time?" For references, I asked them "Did this person ever do anything that was a real cause for concern?"

 

good luck!

post #3 of 4

Day to day feedback takes place when I walk in the door. Usually quick coverage about bottles/eating/naps/funny things/what park etc. We have a 18m and 3.5 and she has a first grader.

 

I make a point of asking about her and she usually picks her up from school and brings her to our house if she is going to babysit late. She also comes over on school holidays and usually for about half the time during spring break/winter holiday. During the summer, she joins us 2/d and has a program for the other 3/d. She is a nice girl and our kids like her a lot. Everyone plays well and the difference in ages makes play easy. The schedule still resolves around my kids though. All that being said, I wouldn't want her to be around every day during summer break and none of this was planned in advance. I wouldn't have considered it acutally. It happened organically and it works well for us. I wouldn't agree to it with a nanny/child that was untried in my home because basically you are hiring the nanny and the kids.

 

Our kids lunches are generally prepared by us with minimal nanny prep. She brings her own lunch to the extent that she ever eats anything. Depending on what we have planned, we will usually try and incorporate her daughter into the meal to avoid conflict.

 

I did two day trials with each person I was serious about. It was really telling. There was always one who jumped right in, was more physical, made the kids laugh. After she was hired, I spent a week at home with her. During transitions, the nanny got trained by the previous one but I was usually home for the first week, even I worked from home.

post #4 of 4
I would try for one with school age kids or older. When we hired ours, I was fine with one whose kids would be there during school breaks and/or after school, but I didn't want one with kids my children's ages. I wanted the nanny to be a mothering person for my children, not the boss of a daily playdate. I give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but it would be hard not to favor your own child during kid spats. Having the kids be different ages prevents that from being an issue.

Otherwise, just put everything you can in writing so that all issues are clear. We provide food for our nanny, although I think she prefers to bring her own. I just tell her to let me know what she wants and I pick it up during my normal shopping. I guess I figure if you are in my house then your consumtion of food is the bottom of my worries. At least the nanny let's me know when she eats something up, unlike my family!eyesroll.gif

Hiring is tricky. Hold out for someone you know will be great. Getting the right fit for your family is key.
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