A Critical Decision: Tips on Choosing a Nanny or Babysitter
Gabriela Gerhart, Founder & President
My heart just broke over two stories that recently made headlines. A mother in New York City arrived home last week to find two of her young children stabbed to death. Police said their nanny was found nearby with self-inflicted stab wounds. Closer to home near Houston police arrested a Rosenberg woman in connection with the death of an infant in her care. These stories serve as an important reminder to parents how crucial it is to be careful and picky when choosing someone to watch your children.
In the old days, most parents relied on family to help with their children. I often talk about the importance of a village and how everyone chipped in to do their part in raising the next generation. With families spread across the country and the world, that village is either much smaller or practically non-existent. I created The Motherhood Center to help fill that void by offering families a place to not only meet and interact with other moms, dads and babies, but also to offer important resources to those families. A crucial resource, and one I am very passionate about, is our Nanny Agency and Babysitting Department.
Last Friday, shortly after the stories above broke, I did a phone interview with Channel 13 with tips on choosing a nanny or babysitter. While I highly recommend going through a professional agency, such as The Motherhood Center, I’d like to share nine important tips when choosing a nanny or babysitter.
9 tips when selecting a Nanny
Above all, always go with your gut. I am big believer in following your instincts and whenever you are interviewing sitter watch for any red flags. If there is anything at all that doesn’t sit right with you, do not choose that person.
It’s better to have the first interview with the prospective sitter or nanny at a neutral place and the second interview at your home with the children. Having the second interview at your home allows you to see how the nanny or sitter reacts to your children and how they respond to her or him.
Always do a background check. It’s important to note that just because someone gives you references doesn’t mean they are real. Call every reference and ask questions.
Do a trial where you are around the house while the sitter is there working with your children.
Establish rules from the very beginning, such as your policy on cell phone and TV use, visitors, trips to the park or outside, snacks and meal preparations, etc.
Once you choose a nanny or sitter, see how the first few days and weeks go to ensure it’s a good match for both the nanny or sitter and your children.
When you come home from work, if your children are able to talk, always ask your children how the day went and what they did. If your baby doesn’t talk yet, pay attention to their reactions and how they respond once you get home.
Do an unexpected visit to see how things are going when you are not home or expected home.
Finally, you are leaving your children in this person’s hands. Make sure you feel absolutely comfortable with them. Don’t be afraid to let them go if you feel things are not working out.
The Internet makes it easy and convenient for parents to find help with their children, but that search can be extremely overwhelming. Parents already have so much on their plates. Our Nanny and Babysitting expert knows exactly what to look for in a nanny or babysitter. She carefully interviews each candidate and does a thorough background check. Out of every 50 nannies who apply, we only accept about 10 of them into our program. That’s how selective we are in choosing qualified candidates. The Motherhood Center offers babysitting services as well as part-time or full-time nannies. Our nannies are available for temporary or permanent work. If you need to find a nanny or a babysitter, call our Nanny and Babysitting expert at 713-963-8880 ext. 107 for more information or to get started.