Hiring a nanny

I have a confession to make. I am a stay at home mom (this still sounds funny to my ears) and yet I don’t think I can survive more than a day without Ciru. Who is Ciru you ask? She is the secretary of my daughter’s upbringing committee. In the few days she left my baby and I alone, I have seen how tasking it can be to take care of my daughter and still find time to eat and pee. So I wonder at times how mothers of two or three toddlers keep their sanity even with a nanny around.

Finding a good nanny to your children these days can be equated to winning a lottery. Most mothers I know are usually looking for one at any time. With the disturbing videos we see and the unfortunate news headlines we hear about bad incidents with nannies, a little paranoia is allowed while you are looking for one. But a well planned search and well executed hiring process with sufficient time period can land you a trustworthy nanny you can be pleased with.

The first step is to sit down and write what kind of nanny you need – live in or a day scholar?, how much is your budget? Strictly a nanny or will she help with the other housework? How many leave days in a month?… It is easier to look for someone when you have a a list of criteria. Once you have clearly described your need, you can now use different means to look for potential nannies – family and friends referrals, agencies, etc. If it is possible, it is advised to go with someone recommended by someone you know but even that has to be verified.

After you have secured candidates, dedicate some time to sit down and talk with them. You can ask them about their experience with children or what they will do in case of an emergency. Trust your mommy instincts as you make your assessment. This might sound far fetched but our little ones are the apple of our eyes who needs to be taken care of by the best available.

The next step after making your choice will be to do a thorough background check. If a nanny is recommended by a friend or family, look into the relationship and reputation. Check the authenticity of the national ID she presented or other identification documents. There are agencies who also check criminal records and it is best to use their services to do a full background check.

Once you have picked your nanny, have everything in writing, which can be used as her job description and personal file you can keep. Even if you are satisfied with your choice, have a trial period before hiring her permanently. Take some days off and take care of your baby together until everyone can get along.

Hiring a nanny is just the beginning. The real job comes later and it requires time. You will need to be keen with her day to day routines, and learn to compromise. She is the part of the family who cares for your greatest asset so treat her like the way you want to be treated but keep things professional. Every time you come across an issue you want to address with her, ask yourself would this be an issue if this happened at my workplace?

Good luck in finding the best nanny out there!

Did you know?

According to the law, the least amount of compensation for a house help is 12,000.00 Ksh.

This first appeared on The Standard on 7 May 2017

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