A Nanny

Picking A Nanny

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-Finding the right caregiver for your kids isn't easy, you need somebody responsible, who you can trust completely and feel comfortable living your kids with. So, where do you start? Well, that's where the Nanny Doctor, Dr. Lindsay Heller can help. She's a former nanny who is now a clinical psychologist. Thank you so much for coming in. -Thanks for having me. -So, the first thing we need to figure out is our family's needs. Do we need a live-in or a live-out and what the nanny schedule would be? -Right. The first step in finding the right nanny for your family is to identify those specific needs for your family. Those beyond logistical, practical things like hours and days, what you're gonna wanna think about are you specific needs such as, you know, are you an outdoorsy family, very active, you go hiking on the weekends or do you like to sit around and play board games and watch movies. -So, how do you figure out what nannies are out there that are available. Should you go through an agency because I know a lot of people don't want to pay the fee? -Well, fees can be high for agencies however an agency can offer you a lot of security and that they can handle the background check and do a lot of pre-screening beforehand and they are professionals in this business. However, you can go through the internet and do some other things; the important piece is getting them checked out. -So, let's talk about checking them about because once you figured out who is available you really need to screen them and you say should start before you even meet the candidate. -Absolutely. What you should do is you should check out the resumes, whether you get them through the internet or you get them from the agency. What you're gonna wanna do is screen those first and foremost, after that you're going to place a call to the candidate, don't do an interview over the phone but just a sort of, you know, get the feel for them, and then following that you're gonna wanna do some personal reference checks. And I would even go as far to say go for a third-party reference which is when you talk to maybe a former employer of that nanny and you find out if there's any other adults maybe at a party or a birthday party [unk] around this nanny who could also speak to this nanny's abilities. -So, then when you've done that and you narrow it down to that one person, you actually wanna bring them in and you wanna-- after you've met them and you think you really like them, you wanna have them work a typical day or even a typical week. -Right. Yes. If they are a weekend nanny, what you're gonna wanna do is have them work a weekend day, and you're gonna wanna be present for that whole phase, don't' run the show but educate them about your family. Model appropriate behavior to your children, pay attention to how the children are responding to the candidate. -And then you definitely have to do a background check? -Absolutely. Background check is absolutely essential, if you're going with an agency this is going to be built-in, if you are gonna do it on your own, in California we have Trust Line Registry, however if you go on the internet and look at different, you know, different organizations that do this thing, they usually start about $50 and you can even pay a little bit extra to have them do the sex offender registry. -Okay, and then once that's check comes back clean you can offer the position. What do you need to know before you offer this job and how should you go about doing that? -Well, you're gonna want to look through their resume and you're gonna think about your original-- the needs that you identified early on in this phase or in this process, and those needs are going to direct you to kind of what this job description looks like and how you're gonna negotiate salary and how you're gonna talk about what the job description looks like with the candidate. -And Dr. Heller, I know there's always an adjustment period when the nanny and the family are getting to know each other. How do you make that go more smoothly especially for the kids? -Well, the first three weeks or three months is a very critical adjustment period, and it's also a time when a lot of early firings occur and it's usually due to poor communication. This is a time period when you're gonna want to educate your nanny about you and the nanny is learning about your family and they're telling you how they are nannies. -And we want to make sure our nanny stay for a long time. How can you make sure? What can you do to help that process allowed and make sure you have a long term nanny? -Communication is key. Good communication, being open when there's a conflict and really discussing that, benefits are also, you know, if you could offer them things in addition to medical, dental or vision, if you offer them things such as use of a car or cellphone or trips, or something, people are gonna stay around a lot longer. -And giving them raises I would imagine. -Raises, absolutely. -Okay. And what are some of the good questions-- going back to the interview because that's the most important part when you actually bring them in when you meet them. What are some of the most important questions you can ask a nanny? -Some of the most important questions you can ask, first of all you're gonna really wanna know about safety so you're gonna wanna know if-- you might want to ask them a question about in other situations, have you ever had a situation where there was an emergency, and then listen to how they responded to that, you know, do they contact the parents first, did they go straight to the emergency room, did they have that information on them to know what to do. That's definitely a big point. Also, you're gonna wanna know about things such as the transportation, do they have, you know, some other, in additional to background check you can wanna look at their driving record, do they have a driving record. Again for me that relates to safety again in your child. Their knowledge of the ages of your children going back to identifying your needs with your-- you know, in order to find the right nanny you're gonna want to think about the ages of your children and has this nanny had experienced working with these ages. You know, you might want a nanny who has a lot of experience working with babies or older, but those are some questions you're gonna-- and also food, kind of nutrition, you know, that's something you don't want your nanny driving through a drive-through every-- -Exactly. -Everyday for lunch. If it's really important to you that your children are receiving good nutrition then they need to know that. -Okay, finally, how about red flags? What things should you be aware of when you're looking at a resume or you're in that interview that should make you go, "Okay, this is not the right person." -Well, as a mom I think you really should trust your gut feeling in a lot of situations. These are your children; if you are feeling uneasy about it you should really pay attention to that. Secondly, if you're looking at a resume and you see a break in employment, I would wonder what that's about and if, you know, sometimes people would say oh those are family emergency while sometimes it's not a family emergency and that's a key word for getting through the interview. -All right. Dr. Heller, thank you so much, great advice, and if you'd like more information about Dr. Heller you can go to her website Thanks for watching Parents TV, your source for the best information for your growing family. -Thank you for watching Parents TV. Our families, our lives.