Your nanny will be a primary influence in your child's life.

Nanny Checklist

by Amanda Rumble

The decision to hire a nanny should not be made lightly because she will be caring for your child the majority of the day. She will be someone they run to for cuddles and comfort after scraping her knee and playing games with such as hide and seek. You will feel more comfortable leaving your child with a nanny if you consider certain criteria and are very selective during the hiring process.

1. Initial Selection

Anyone who applies for a nanny position for your child should be able to produce basic documents identifying who they are. Ask for proof of identity such as a driver's license, especially if she needs to drive your child to appointments or school, or a birth certificate. Ask for personal and professional references to get a basic overview of who she is and how she handles children. The International Nanny Association also recommends that you conduct a criminal background check.

2. Questions

Be prepared with a list of questions or concerns you'll want to ask prospective applicants before you decide to leave your bundle of energy with her for the day. Separate the qualifications into must haves and nice to have, but not absolutely required. If your child loves to dance or takes lessons, it's nice to have a nanny with an interest, but it's not absolutely required to do the job. Ask her questions such as what she uses for discipline techniques and how she will spend the day so you don't need to be concerned with her leaving him in front of the TV all day.

3. Explain the Job

If you feel the nanny is a good fit for your family, expand on the qualifications and specifics that apply to your family. Describe any medications your child takes, explain his personality in detail and how a typical day goes. Explain what you expect from her including the hours she needs to be there, how flexible the schedule is and other expectations you might have. Does she need to drive your toddler to karate classes or will she be expected to take him to doctor appointments? Don't leave out any details so you are able to select a nanny that goes with your family like peanut butter mixes with jelly.

4. Observation

The most important characteristic a nanny needs is having chemistry with your child. Allow her to interact freely with your child. Take note if he acts in a manner that doesn't fit with his personality. She should be comfortable tending to his needs and interacting with him on both a friendly and disciplinary manner.

5. Nanny Preparation

When your nanny starts, she should have certain information available such as important phone numbers and her own set of house keys. She also needs to know how to operate any appliances you expect her to use while on the job. Show her where you keep medications and first-aid supplies. Give her a list of any house rules your children are expected to follow or your toddler might have her convinced that it's perfectly acceptable to watch three hours of cartoons every day while she eats cookies for breakfast. Also ensure the doctor's office and school have your nanny listed as someone with permission to discuss, drop off and pick up your child.

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