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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Finding the Best Nanny or Babysitter

A reader emailed me recently asking for any advice I might have regarding the hiring of nannies and babysitters. Here is what I said:

What I do is post an add looking for someone willing to learn (i.e. read). Qualifications and current knowledge are often cumbersome--I have found that training a blank slate is usually easier than retraining someone who thinks they know what they are doing. My only qualification is that the person is interested in learning and growth.

The first thing I have my potentials do is watch the 4-DVD set on caring for infants at I find the attitude of respect in those DVD's helpful even though my child is no longer an infant. Then I have my prospective nanny watch my 2 lectures on YouTube. After that we can have a real discussion about whether or not she/he would enjoy relating to children in the way I describe.

If the potential nanny or babysitter likes what (I will use "she" but it could be either) she has learned thus far and talks about being inspired, I continue with her. If she comments on the ideas being weird, I let her go and find someone else.

Then I begin training which involves her just coming to hang out and watch how I interact with my son. Then I watch her interact with him and give feedback. At the end of the first day, I pull out a stack of 5-10 books (most likely the ones from my recommended reading list) and show them to her and ask her which one she would like to read first. I loan her that book and tell her that when my son is busy, she can read. This is a double bonus: she is being "paid" for the time she spends reading and she ends up not "helicoptering" over my son all the time. Many of the girls I have trained have taken the books home and continued to read them in their free time. Some say they hate reading and never get through the first book--what I have found is that those people won't last long. It's a sign that the proper care of children is not interesting to them--and none of us will last that long or do that well at a job we are not interested in.

Recommended Reading List Link:

UPDATE: a reader wrote to me the following in regards to the above advice about how to hire a great nanny--

I wanted to thank you for your insight; we hired a nanny! I spoke with her on the phone and got the feeling that she was definitely open to finding out more about what I was talking about. Then when we met in person, SHE asked ME if I had any books or resources she could read. I gave her Baby Knows Best, as my MIL is currently borrowing my RIE DVD's. She's currently coming to shadow about once a week or so for the next month so she can see us interact with him, and she's very inquisitive.
I felt a lot more confident looking for someone who was willing to learn instead of scouring for someone who already knew what I was looking for. It's almost embarrassing that I hadn't considered the idea myself, haha. I saw that I prompted a blog post, so hopefully others find your ideas helpful as well.

1 comment:

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