How to keep your Caregiver (Nanny)
We also would like to point out to you 10 ways of successfully keeping your caregiver happy! Having a caregiver living in your home can be a change for many families and often requires some adjustments by everyone in the household. Keeping a caregiver happy is in your best interest, as it keeps your kids happy and therefore you as well. The following is a list to keep in mind when you are hiring a caregiver. This will help you avoid common pitfalls that could send your caregiver packing her bags to move on with her life!
1. Be punctual! Caregivers are people too. They have a life besides caring for your children. This is made more difficult by the fact that your caregiver lives in your home.
2. Pay her overtime! It’s her job to care for your kids and she should be compensated when you cannot care for your kids. Resist the temptation to give gifts or other material objects, just give her plain cash. Many caregivers support their families back home and welcome the extra cash to send back home.
3. Don’t expect your caregiver to be a servant. Part of her job is to clean up after you, but don’t make it too difficult for her by not cleaning up after yourself first. This breeds resentment and is a guaranteed way to put you on the path of having to find a new caregiver. A caregiver is not your servant. She is an employee.
4. Pay your caregiver on time. She also has bills to pay and often a family to support.
5. Allow your caregiver to have sick leave and arrange for surrogate child care while she is ill. It is difficult to be ill at the place of your work, so your caregiver needs special consideration.
6. Respect her free time, privacy and listen to any concerns she may have.
7. Keep in close contact with your caregiver at all times, it helps her and keeps you involved in the care of your children. Ask her for feedback about her job and the kids, and don’t undermine or criticize her efforts when you are at home, especially in front of other family members.
8. Keep her out of family arguments. It reduces her stress and your stress.
9. Accommodate her needs to see a doctor or to visit the immigration department for Visa-related issues. These things can often take a considerable amount of time and you must budget accordingly. They cannot be avoided and are important in keeping your caregiver legally employed. It is important that you guide her along through the process.
10. Provide regular raises for a job well done and be consistent with your expectations.
How to conduct an interview
Begin the conversation by asking if this is a convenient time to discuss your family’s individual child care needs. If not, schedule a mutually convenient time. Prepare yourself by having a set of questions related to your family’s needs ready for you to draw from.
Describe each member of your family. Tell the caregiver what a typical day is like in your family. This will put her at ease and make her more comfortable in telling you about herself, her background, and her experience. If you have her application form in front of you, go through it and ask questions regarding the information she has provided. Ask about her formal training, schooling etc.
In addition, here are some more sample questions you may want to ask your prospective caregiver:
1. Tell me about yourself (where you live; went to school; what are you currently doing; etc.)
2. Please describe your usual day as a caregiver.
3. Why do you want to be a caregiver?
4. What do you like most about working with children or the elderly?
5. When the caregiver was involved in an emergency situation, and what she did to resolve it.
6. When looking after a child in the age group x-y, what kind of activities do you engage? The same applies to elderly. Ask questions about how their care would be handled.
7. How did she set limits with children she has cared for in the past? Have there been situations where she had conflicting views with her employer over the care of a child?
8. What would a typical day be like with your age x-y child(ren)?
9. Tell me about your child-care or related care-giving experiences. (ask for specific age groups, activities, etc.)
10. What would be the caregiver’s approach to discipline children who talked back?
11. Ask how she would handle a screaming two year old in a grocery store or any other related questions that may apply to your family.
12. What types of food would she serve? If your caregiver likes to cook, ask what type of cooking she does. If she cooks Italian meals for example, ask which ones she likes.
13. Have you helped any children in the past with potty training?
14. Ask the caregiver to tell you about her own family. (Are they supportive of her living far from home, if applicable?)
15. What do you like to do in your spare time? What would you do when the children (or elderly) are napping for example?
16. Are you comfortable driving (or not driving) my children? If you do not have a Driver’s License, are you willing to learn?
17. Are you comfortable with a one-year commitment?
18. Does my family sound like the kind of job in which you are interested in?
19. When are you available to begin the position?