Hiring a nanny or babysitter can be a daunting and overwhelming experience, especially if it's your first time.  After all, this is not just an ordinary job, it's a kind of job that involves an extension of yourself as the primary caregiver to your most prized gift, your child.  It's more complex than hiring for a position in your job and it's going to be based largely on trust and gut feel. 

Hiring a Nanny: Factors to Consider

1. Background and references check

The most important factor in hiring a nanny is ensuring the person you hire is a safe choice.  Get all the necessary background checks and references so that your potential nanny or babysitter passes the safety test.

  • You may request for VOG (Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag) or Certificate of Conduct.  This is a record to show that past behavior of potential candidate doesn't post any risk in their job application.
  • It is expected for candidates to include background references if they have previous babysitting experience.  Call their listed references to get a perspective on how well the nanny has performed in their previous work.  This gives insight into the nanny's workstyle. 

2. Ask for their credentials and certifications

While it is ideal if a nanny has a background in childcare, pscyhology or education, degrees don't necessarily need to be must-haves when evaluating credentials.

However, we recommend asking for EHBO First Aid Course for Babies and Children .  While no parent hopes a babysitter will have to use those skills, it gives peace of mind if a babysitter is adept at first aid in case of need.

  • Other trainings and certifications to look for may include: Water-safety instructions, Baby Care, Child Nutrition, Child Development Courses and Mindful Parenting Trainings.
  • During the interview, ask if there were incidents of emergencies they ecountered in their previous child care experience and how they dealt and responded to the situation.

3. Special Needs Training

If your child has special needs like any kind of disability or allergies, it is imperative to hire someone who is equipped to handle such particular need.  While it is not a requirement for a nanny to have an experience which is specific to the special need, it is crucial and wise to look for someone who has willingess and passion to learn about special care.

  • Get your doctor or special needs specialist in the team.  Ask how you can give instructions to the nanny for your child's needs.
  • If specific training is needed, we suggest that you pay for the courses or certifications. 

4. Caregiving principles or childcaring disciplines

There are lots of parenting methods these days.  If you are following a certain parenting approach, it is good to discuss it with the nanny or babysitter.  Ask specific questions about your preferences to get a good sense of your potential nanny's child caring principles and disciplines. Example, ask what is the nanny's take on handling tantrums, screen time (phones down) while doing babysitting, mindful parenting, etc.

  • Ask the nanny or babysitter's interests, skills and talents. What kid's activities can the babysitter offer for your little one and how will these activities enhance your child's development. In this way you will somehow gauge if the candidate is a good fit for your child. 
  • While it is likely to have some disconnects when it comes to parenting approach, it doesn't necessarily have to be a dealbreaker.  Parent-nanny relationships are essentially partnership and collaboration.  Differences can be discussed through open communication. Having clarity wherein the ultimate goal is caring for the child the best way helps in having a harmonious relationship. 

5. Ability and willingness to take on additional household responsibilities

While a nanny or babysitter's main responsibility is to take care of your child, it is best to discuss and ask potential candidates if they are willing to do some household chores as well.  Some ideas for additional household chores include doing children's laundry, wash dishes, and a basic cleanup of children's toys.  Extra compensation, if agreed upon, should be included in the work agreement. 

6. Personality similarities and differences

You will be able to get a glimpse of a potential nanny's personality during your interview.  We have an interview checklist for you to check out to ensure you get to ask the important questions.

  • We encourage you to have a trial day with your potential nanny and your child, with you in the background.  This way you will be able to monitor, give tips, and see firsthand how a nanny handles your little one.

7. Household rules and emergency contact information

This ties up perfectly with two factors we have discussed already: childcaring principles and personality differences.  Ultimately, a nanny or babysitter needs to be aware of house rules and it is expected they understand and follow it. 

Do not forget to give emergency contact information when leaving your child to a nanny.  Perhaps you can call a few times during the course of a nanny's schedule or maybe ask to send some photos of your child, especially if it's the first time your child is under her care, to check on things. 

8. Salary and compensation

Do not forget to discuss salary and compensation with your potential candidate.  She must also state the compensation range she is comfortable with and if she can work around your budget incase your offer do not match.  If agreed upon, it is important to make a contract .  State the expected salary rate, schedule of payment, holiday pay if any and duration of work.  You may also add in the contract details that have been agreed upon during your hiring interview such as household rules, special needs care, screen time policy and more. 

The Challenge in Finding the Perfect Babysitter for Your Child

With the cultural changes and the need for both parents to work in order to provide for the family, this impactful relationship has extended to childcarers -- nannies and babysitters.  The challenge these days is how to guarantee they also embody and reinforce the values you want to impart as loving parents to your child. 

While important activities such as feeding and changing diapers for infants or potty training, creative play and baby-led feeding for toddlers are expected duties for nannies or babysitters, how can parents feel confident and be rest assured that childcarers also give their full attention, affection and empathy to their children? 

This is where Tiny Steps comes in.  We go beyond providing a platform for babysitting jobs and nanny services for expats and local families.  In our community, we encourage parents and childcarers to practice mindful parenting, have an awareness with their child's growth and development and instill compassion, kindness, empathy and patience in their hearts.  Sign up and join the Tiny Steps community.



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