Seeking a Nanny? How to Find Your Own Personal Mary Poppins

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Hiring that special someone to help out with the little ones or even around the house? Mary Poppins sets the bar high in the nanny universe, but hopefully with some of these helpful tips, you, too, can find your very own Mary!

The definition of a nanny often varies from parent to parent, and there are many interpretations of what a nanny should juggle on a daily basis. Despite the difference of opinions, there is one common ground that all parents share. Each and every parent wants the absolute best care for their child.

Tip #1: Prioritize your expectations

It is impossible for someone to give you what you want, if you don’t even know exactly what you want. What is possible, is helping provide your soon-to-be nanny with the proper tools in order to make this happen on a smooth and consistent basis. Create a list of basic daily tasks you would like your nanny to accomplish, which can include getting the kids dressed, mealtime, laundry, etc. Listing each task out will help create a routine or flow for your caregiver that is tailored exactly to your family. Prioritize your tasks from most important to least important. This allows time-sensitive tasks to be accomplished on a daily basis versus tasks that may be able to run over into the next day. Realistically, there will be the occasional spill or accident because this is what kids do, so it is  always important to leave a little wiggle room for those non-time-sensitive tasks.

Tip #2: Be Upfront from the start

Save yourself the stress of hiring someone who may not be able to meet your expectations by simply being upfront. In the very first interview, lay all the cards out on the table. It may seem forward, but that’s mainly because it is. This includes scheduling, salary, transportation and daily tasks. Prepare a few hypothetical situations and ask your potential nanny how she/he would handle the situation. Remind yourself, This person may not handle the situation exactly like I would. However, asking these questions allows you to walk through a hypothetical situation and redirect your nanny to a solution you find best suitable for your family.

Tip #3: Form an open line of communication

Trust is key when hiring a nanny. Not only are you allowing someone in your home, but you are trusting that individual with the most precious possession(s) in your life — your children. Creating an open line of communication will help establish trust in this relationship. There are a few ways you can do this and still keep a professional boundary:

  • Share a paper calendar or planner with your nanny. Amazon has an amazing selection of caregiver planners that allow you to create your own columns for daily and weekly tasks. If you have a little one, create columns for feeding times, feeding amounts, bowel movements and nap times. This really helps keep everyone on the same page concerning the care for your child. Having all of these items recorded each day also creates a fantastic reference point for you to be able to look back on or even bring to the doctor if need be.
  • Share a digital calendar with your nanny. We live in a world where sharing information can be done with the click of a button. Why not share a “family” calendar with your nanny? You can easily share and access his/her working hours, important dates and even grocery lists. (This is also super helpful in a marriage!) If you have an iPhone, simply share a calendar that is created just for your nanny. This way any extra tasks or personal dates can be left out. If you do not have any iPhone, you can use an app called FAMCAL. The free version gives you access to the basic options which is all you need to share dates and times.

I know there are many more fantastic tips for finding your own personal Mary Poppins; these are just a few I learned as a former nanny. I was so fortunate to be able to nanny for a wonderful, kind and loving family over the course of almost four years. They made me feel welcomed in their home as well as in their family, and the most rewarding part of my job was helping her grow into a fantastic, outgoing kindergartener.

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