Five Fatal Pitfalls to Avoid When Hiring a Nanny: Pitfall # 2
Pitfall #2. Neglecting to look at the job from the nanny’s point of view. To attract and keep a great nanny long term, the family needs to consider her needs as well as the family’s.
Although the economy is not as strong as it used to be, good nannies are still in high demand. Parents are more concerned than ever about securing reliable, quality childcare, and many moms have returned to the workplace full time out of economic necessity.
Families sometimes call me with unrealistic schedules, unrealistic pay, or other job characteristics that would not interest the kind of stable, qualified nanny they’d like to hire. Those jobs may interest a nanny who is inexperienced or who is struggling to find a good job, but the best nannies will look for a job that fulfills their needs so they can relax and make a solid commitment. Families often forget to look at the job from a nanny’s viewpoint. An example of some unrealistic demands:
• requiring that the nanny have a college education but paying an hourly rate that is well below market.
• asking a nanny to work a “split shift” where she’ll come to the house for an hour or two in the morning during rush hour, and then drive home and return for a few hours in the afternoon. With the price of gas, and the time spent in traffic, unless a nanny lives very close by, most qualified nannies probably won’t be interested in this position.
• asking for a nanny who will take care of a toddler and an infant and also do all of the heavy cleaning in a large home. There simply is not enough time in a day for a nanny to give quality attention to small children and clean a large home. Very few nannies will stay long term in a job requiring this much work, and the children won’t receive the level of care they need. Also, people who love to clean tend to have different personalities and skill sets than people who excel at caring for children. Childcare and cleaning are two different skill sets. Most people are not exceptionally good at both. A reasonable expectation is for the nanny to do “light, child-related housekeeping” including laundry.
• offering an inconsistent, part-time schedule that requires a nanny to keep her schedule completely open. The family may only need 20 hours per week, but their schedule is such that the nanny is unable to take another part-time job to supplement her income. Nannies who work part-time usually have other obligations when they’re not working and need a consistent schedule. Unfortunately, a nanny who takes a part-time position with an inconsistent, changing schedule may leave when she finds a job with a more consistent schedule.
To get more tips on hiring and retaining a nanny go to: www.safeandsoundnannies.com
Dr. Ann Wycoff is founder of Safe and Sound Nannies, a full service agency, and The Nanny Answer, an online, do-it-yourself nanny screening service.