Hiring a nanny, need info?
August 24, 2009 1:33 PM   Subscribe

I am hiring a nanny for my 7 year old, what to consider?

I am looking for a nanny/care-person for my 7 year old. I realized that the woman who cleans my house might be perfect for the job.

I have known her and her sister for many years and feel confident that she is a trustworthy person.

She is Hispanic and lives in Los Angeles. I feel the obvious things are her driving record, insurance and her immigration status.

But, I would like some guidance on what else I need to discover before committing to the offer to hire her.

Her duties will include picking up my son from school, possibly taking him to after school classes and general at home companionship.

Thanks for the hives thoughts.

posted by silsurf to Human Relations (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Nanny.org has a lot of helpful information for employers.

I would confirm whether or not she has a criminal record in addition to her driving record.

Ask questions. Give her hypothetical situations and ask her to explain how she might handle them. How does she feel about corporal punishment? Etc., etc.

In addition, it would be a good idea to plan out what her newly expanded responsibilities will be and discuss them with her. She should know what your expectations are. Tinies.com has an interesting checklist. Essentially, you want to address employment issues early -- and since this position would have a different dynamic than simply cleaning your home, it's important to that both sides be clear about them.

Discuss when she would be able to take vacation, (some families only offer it to their nannies when they take vacation,) time off for holidays, how you would handle illness or personal situations that might preclude her coming to work, as well as potential support and backup options if she's unexpectedly unavailable. You might also consider checking to see if she can be flexible about working late. Will being a nanny conflict with any other obligations (work or otherwise) that she might have?

If she's not already aware of any medical conditions or allergies your child may have, she will need to know them. This and any other information you would normally give a babysitter should be provided (caregiver / physician numbers, etc.)

Finally, think about whether you are interested in asking her to have a health screening, specifically for TB and Hepatitis C. My wife and I personally did not choose to do so with our nanny, but I have a friend who insisted on it with little girl.
posted by zarq at 2:14 PM on August 24, 2009

Oops. "...with his little girl."
posted by zarq at 2:14 PM on August 24, 2009

Hepatitis C is a little weird, imo. Blood to blood mixing should be pretty rare. There are a ton of Hep C positive nurses who are still working and as far as I've heard, they aren't limited in their duties.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:33 PM on August 24, 2009

Hepatitis C is a little weird, imo. Blood to blood mixing should be pretty rare. There are a ton of Hep C positive nurses who are still working and as far as I've heard, they aren't limited in their duties.

I don't understand the reasoning behind it, honestly. But IANAD, and so many parents mentioned it to us when my wife and I first began looking that I thought it worth mentioning.
posted by zarq at 2:57 PM on August 24, 2009

I would want a nanny to be able to deal with age-appropriate learning and interests - so a nanny for a seven year old ought to be able to support whatever reading/maths they're doign through school, as well as broader recreational stuff (sport/reading/TV/whatever).
posted by rodgerd at 3:13 PM on August 24, 2009

I think the responses so far have missed important things like... what are her values? When she picks him up from school and he complains about a bully, what type of advice is she going to give? Does she speak English well, i.e will your son and she be able to communicate? Do you know how well of a disciplinarian she is?

I think so much about a child's life at his age dictates who he becomes and while you will not be "out of the picture" you will be fooling yourself if you believe the person who cares for your child during the day and on a constant basis wont have an affect on him and his values / opinions / thoughts on life.

I am not saying this lady isn't what your looking for but I think its important to have that type of conversation with her.

On a side note I think having a Nanny of another culture can be amazingly beneficial but I also think you will need to make sure that it does not box in his perception of what people from that culture know / do / act like.

Good luck!
posted by crewshell at 3:19 PM on August 24, 2009

As someone who works with children I think that besides the wonderful advice given above, you can learn quite a bit about how someone will be with your child by the first interaction they have.

When you have the person meet your children, be sure to notice how they deal with the situation. Are they shy and tentative? Do they initiate contact? How do they greet the child? Do they talk down to them? Do they kneel down and talk to the child at eye-level? Do they suggest a game to play?

You should take your child's reaction into account far more than I bet you are planning on. If the child feels at ease immediately, this person will probably be a good candidate (though if she has been cleaning your house your children may already be aware of her / accustomed to her presence). Children, I feel, are pretty good at feeling out sketchy people & situations. Don't forget that there are criminal history-free, hepatitis C-free, well-vouched for people that simply cannot interact with children in a way that puts the children at ease.
posted by ejfox at 4:28 PM on August 24, 2009

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