Finding a good nanny can seem tougher than giving birth itself. While there is no foolproof formula when it comes to finding a trustworthy nanny, here is a checklist made from my personal experience. Hope it comes handy...
No Compromise with Honesty and Integrity
Basic integrity in a nanny is non-negotiable. Whether it is a part time nanny or a live-in nanny, she will spend maximum time with your baby. You are hiring her for sharing your load, so you don’t want to add a ‘To-Do’ to your own list - of being constantly vigilant and suspicious. The integrity levels must evoke trust. For everything else, you can train her over time.
The right attitude helps win always!
If her attitude in the early conversations sounds negative or she puts too many conditions ahead of you even before getting started with work, it is surely not worth it. You need her as much as she needs you. If there’s a will to work, earn and learn, you can even train someone from a remote village to cook pasta! I’d rather go with ill-trained ones with a good attitude rather than a smart cookie with a ‘I know it all and you don’t tell me how to do it’ attitude.
How do you know she will stay back?
To bluntly put it, there are hardly any foolproof ways of checking the family background of a nanny you have newly met, unless you know her family before hand. Most women who earn their livelihood this way are typically the ones who don’t want to work outside their home, unless there is a dire socio-financial need. Check with her why she wants to work. Does she have an alcoholic husband who beats her up and doesn’t pay for the household expenses? Does she have young children too? Which will probably be the case. Not bad, if she is a part time nanny. If she’s a full time live-in nanny from a faraway place, check how frequently does she want to go home.
Security is key
Ask them for their identity cards - preferably Aadhar or PAN card (as ration card etc hardly has any value). God forbid, in case of a theft or alike, you can at least file a police complaint. If you are really anxious, install cameras at your home before she joins (Don’t attempt doing that once she is on board as that can cause a major trust deficit in her). More importantly, keep your valuables locked up always. Better Safe than Sorry.
Health and Hygiene are important
This is quintessential but what we have to understand is they have lived their life in places where there’s no concept of hygiene. So train her to trim her nails, use the hand wash frequently, use the jet spray in the loo and likewise. It is advisable to get a basic blood test and HIV done before you hire her, especially if you want her to deal with your infant or cook for your baby.
Age indicates agility
I have always preferred middle aged nannies (25 -40). Young girls can be either called home for marriage after being a few months into the job (there went your training efforts down the drain!) or might just decide to elope with your neighbor’s driver or the courier boy! A 18 -25 years old girl may not feel like cleaning up baby poop! On the other hand, nannies in their 40s, (by which they are already grandmothers, given the rural norms in India) who are experienced and skilled. But sometimes, their know-it-all attitude tends to make them a bit lazy. In case of nannies above 45, their health also acts up.
Where should I get a nanny from?
Honestly, there is no correct source. For some people, a nanny agency works as they offer replacements if one is gone. You must be careful even with selecting an agency as there are many with fraudulent backgrounds. You can check my experience here - Ideal maid and nanny agency. The more common but equally uncertain route is reference through word-of-mouth, a family member or a friend. Points 1-5 still remain valid however well known the person might be. It just determines how easy or hard it is to trust.
How deep will be the hole in my pocket?
Costs involved can be anywhere between INR 10-30 K depending on your location, need and who the nanny is. The hidden costs though, are the maintenance costs - their food, health, medication and hygiene, occasional perks, gifts and freebies and their cost of travel everywhere they go along with you! This can easily go upto another Rs 3000 - 5000 a month. If you hire through an agency, account for their annual brokerage as well (very varied). Do note that a full time, live-in housemaid who does household work, has a very different rate card from that of a live-in nanny who is expected to handle your baby and her chores with love and care!
Above all, remember to treat her as a family member once she is on board. A lot of it is about human relations. They have their own baggage in life, which we can’t relate to, so the least we can do as acknowledgment is treat them with respect. My housemaid used to melt every time my daughter called her ‘Maasi’ and was much better with her than she was with me.
Phew! This is all I can think of for now. Would love to hear from you about your nanny experiences in the comments box below!
Nanny or No Nanny, enjoy parenting. Take each day as it comes!! :-)
Source of banner image: kidspot.com.au
Also read: All nanny and daycare related articles Day care, nanny or grandparents? - A working mother's perfect decision making guide for her child's caregiver, Why should you make a Guilt free decision on daycare for your child?, The Ultimate Guide to selecting the Right DayCare for your child?
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