Interviewing a Nanny

Interviewing a Nanny

I am very fortunate to be able to work from home.  From a professional perspective, it most certainly has its benefits and drawbacks.  From a mommy perspective, it has allowed me to spend significantly more time with my kiddos.  After all, when I was commuting to an office, I was spending 3+ hours a day sitting in traffic.

When I returned to work after my youngest was born, I was very eager to keep him close so I could continue to breastfeed him rather than have to pump.  While I was able to successfully pump at work for a while with my first two, I ended up having to stop much sooner than I would have liked because I could never pump when I needed to.  If I could keep him at home with me, I wouldn’t have to bother pumping and could feed him when needed.

My job requires my full attention and can be demanding at times.  I also respect that the privilege of working from home does not mean that I can use it as an excuse to not put my children in childcare.  I’m sure that there are many people out there that watching their children while their work works for them, however, I am not one of them.  Because of my childcare needs and my desire to continue to breastfeed my son for as long as possible, my husband and I decided that hiring a nanny was the best option for us.

Interviewing a Nanny can be a daunting task.  It took us a few tries to finally find the right nanny that connected well with all of my children for a variety of reasons didn’t end up parting ways after a few weeks or months.  With each new nanny and subsequent nanny search, we learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way.  Take advantage of all of the lessons I’ve learned with the following guide on How to Hire a Nanny

Carefully Craft Your Nanny Help Wanted Ad

  1. Provide a brief description of your children and their ages
  2. Describe what you’re looking for and be specific about the help you want
  3. Explain what the hours will be.  Give a realistic picture of what you need
  4. Tell them you want a 6-month minimum commitment (this will help weed out the people just looking for a summer gig)
  5. Be up front about the wage

Select the Top Applicants

  1. Review all of the applications.  Mark those that seem like they could be a good fit
  2. Send them an email with additional details about your children and the specific help you need.  Reiterate the hours and wages.  Ask them to confirm that it seems like a good fit for them and to email you back with suggested times to schedule a phone interview.  This helps confirm their interest, sets expectations and demonstrates that they can follow through with a simple task.

Nanny Interview Questions

Nanny Interview QuestionsAsking the right questions during the interview process is critical to truly get to know your candidate and assessing if they are the right fit for your family.  It’s important to not get caught ending the conversation early because you can’t think of a good question to ask.

Enter your email address below and we’ll send you our Nanny Interview Questions Guide.  This comprehensive list is packed with questions that will help you ask the right questions to authentically evaluate your nanny candidates.

The Phone Interview

  1. Schedule 15-minute phone interviews with each one you are interested in
    1. Pay attention to how they interact with you during this scheduling process
    2. Download the Nanny Interview Questions Guide above, which is packed full of probing questions to help you really get to know the person you are hiring to care for your children.
    3. Begin laying the groundwork for setting your expectations
    4. Prepare the structure of the interview prior to your first meeting.  I recommend:
      1. Thank them for their interest and setting aside some time to meet with you.
      2. Lay out how the interview will go so that they know what to expect. (I’ll tell you about us, you’ll tell us about you, we’ll have some questions for you, we’ll leave time for any questions you have for us, finally we’ll discuss next steps)
      3. Begin by telling them about the position, yourself, and your children.  Provide a brief description about each of your children.
      4. Ask them to tell you about themselves (see Introductory Question on the Nanny Interview Guide).  *Bonus points if they incorporate anything that you have told them about your family into their introduction.
      5. Ask them a series of questions
      6. Invite them to ask any questions that they have for you
      7. Close the phone interview by providing them with a timeframe for when they can expect to hear from you.  It is a good practice to let them know one way or another.  Let them know how to reach you if they have any additional questions.

The In-Person Interview

Nanny Interview

  1. Select the top 2-3 candidates to interview in person
  2. Allow them to meet and interact with your children.  Pay attention to how they engage with them.  Do they get down to their level?  If the child is nervous, do they allow the child some time and space to become more comfortable?  Do they do anything to connect with the child(ren)?
  3. Re-review the Nanny Interview Questions Guide and ask additional questions
  4. Do not make an offer on the spot
  5. Determine your top candidate and Check References
  6. Decide on your new nanny
    1. Remember a yes is a yes, a no is a no and a maybe is a no.  These are your children.
  7. Call and make the offer and lay out your expectations so they are crystal clear from day 1
    1. Allow them time to consider your offer if they ask for it
    2. Arrange a starting day and time
    3. Ask them to bring any necessary paperwork.  Ex: driver’s license, insurance card, SS card

Starting Day

  1. Plan on spending an hour to several hours with them allowing everyone to get comfortable
    1. Tour of them home and important considerations
    2. Consider having them join you in your typical routine (ie school pickups, sports drop offs)
  2. Set the tone for your relationship
    1. Engage in friendly conversation – while they are your employee, you want them to develop a relationship with you and your children.
    2. Spell out how you will provide them feedback and make it abundantly clear that you want them to ask for guidance and expectations.

Your Ongoing Relationship

  1. Provide them with regular feedback on their performance and make suggestions for how they can improve
  2. If you are unhappy about something that they did or happened while your child(ren) were under his/her care, address it politely and professionally and clearly explain what you would have wanted to happen.

Selecting the right person to care for the most important people in your life is not an easy task.  While the above guide should help you considerably along the way, always remember to trust your gut.  While no single person will be 100% perfect, if something doesn’t feel quite right, they are probably not the right person for your family.

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When Your Breastfeeding Baby Bites

When Your Breastfeeding Baby Bites

So breastfeeding has been going wonderfully.  You and baby both seem to be getting the hang of it and have settled into a nice routine.  Then somewhere around 4-7 months, your baby gets their first tooth and the whole game changes.  I don’t know about you, but I have ZERO interest in my sweet little baby turning my nipples into a teething toy.  So what do you do?

I have been so fortunate to be able to breastfeed all three of my kiddos well into the teething stage.  In fact, I am still nursing my 1 1/2-year-old and he has a full mouth full of pearly whites.  I have employed one proven technique that has worked quite successfully with each of them.  This technique was so successful that baby one and baby two bit me exactly one time each and never repeated it.  Unfortunately baby three has taken his fair share of nips at me, but I’ll tell you more about why and what I did in a bit.

Breastfeeding Biting

The Stop Biting Technique

Fair warning, this technique can be a little heartbreaking, but as it usually works in one or two tries, it is not something that you should have to do often.  When the alternative is that you keep getting bitten or you give up breastfeeding altogether, I would argue that it is worth the temporary sadness you may experience.

So it goes something like this, you are peacefully nursing your little one and all of a sudden it happens…baby takes a nip at your nipple.

What happens next must be immediate, swift, and deliberate.

  1. Unlatch them from your breast
  2. Look directly into their eyes
  3. Loudly and sternly enough to startle your baby, say “No!  Do Not Bite!”
  4. Place your baby on the floor in a safe location and move out of their sight

More than likely your baby will cry.  Once the baby has settled down, go back to them, give him or her lots of cuddles and allow them to re-latch and finish eating.  The shock from that experience is typically enough for baby to understand that they do not want to bite you again.  As I mentioned, this was extremely successful for two of my children and only took once with each of them.  If for some reason, they try it again, then follow the exact same steps a second time.  This is nearly always effective and should allow you to successfully continue your breastfeeding relationship.

When It Doesn’t Work

In my experience, there has been one scenario in which my dear sweet baby turns into a chomping monster and even the above technique isn’t successful.  With my youngest, this happened multiple times when his nose was stuffy and he couldn’t breathe through his nose.  Think about it, typically when baby is breastfeeding, they are breathing exclusively through their nose.  Block their nose, and breastfeeding has got to feel like they are being suffocated.  It’s a miserable time for both mommy and baby and chances are, they may take a bite when they are taking a moment to try to catch their breath.  It isn’t intentional and will likely stop once they can breathe through their nose again.

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In the Meantime, Here are a Few Tips to get Through Those Times:

  • Before feeding your baby, use Pure Saltwater Nasal Drops (saline).  I like these because they are one-time use and are less likely to get contaminated from re-use.  They are also really easy to take a few on the go in your diaper bag.  Place 2-3 drops in each side of their nose and wait 30 – 60 seconds.
  • After using the saline, suction baby’s nose before you start feeding.  I know it seems awful and I swore I would never buy one, but after a night with a crying baby that couldn’t breathe, I finally gave in and bought this and now I can’t imagine life without one!  Run!  Do not walk, and buy one today!!
  • Use a humidifier near their crib to add moisture to the air.  Be sure to check and change the filter often to keep the air clean.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and have lots of success getting your sweet little one to stop biting as soon as it starts!  Be sure to stay connected to all of the great ideas from The Crafty Organized Mom by signing up for updates.  When you do, you’ll also grab a free copy of our Family Meeting Guide + Meeting Printable!