How to Find a Quality Nanny

Choosing the right childcare is an important and difficult decision to make. 

You need to be sure that you’re choosing someone who isn’t only in possession of the right qualifications and a wealth of experience, but you also need to make sure that whoever you choose will gel with your family and is also someone who your child will get along with. 

Your child is currently learning and developing their own personality, even at this very young age, and they need someone who will help them to continue developing their own individual traits in a safe and happy way. 

If you have a young child and you need extra help for whatever reason, a nanny is an ideal option. 

What Does a Nanny Do?

A nanny looks after young children in the safety of your own home. Nannies look after children from birth upwards, usually to around the age of 10 years, however this is a decision you make at the time in terms of when to stop using a nanny’s services. 

You can choose between a live in nanny, i.e. the nanny will live within your home and will have set working hours to ensure that there are no blurred lines between working hours and time off, or you can have a nanny who lives elsewhere. This means they will visit your home during working hours. 

Either option is available to you and it really depends on your circumstances as to which way of working fits into your lifestyle best. 

Nannies perform duties such as general childcare, feeding, changing and bathing your child, general first aid, development play and keeping you updated on milestone development, taking your child to appointments any play dates, etc, as well as any other duties around the house that form part of their contract of employment. Some nannies will help with preparing food for your child and cleaning the house, if necessary, but this is something you need to work out between yourselves and agree on together. 

How to Choose The Best Nanny 

When looking for the right nanny to look after your child, you need to take your time with the decision and think very carefully. Remember, this is the person who will take care of your child whilst you’re away, and that means you need to trust them completely, get along with them well, and that you have no qualms about leaving your child alone with them. 

As a result, finding the best nanny can be a long task, but do not rush the process if you want to find the right fit for you family. They’re out there, it just takes time!

Obviously the first thing to consider is the qualifications and type of training that a prospective nanny has. 

In the UK, nannies are not actually required by law to have any specific childcare qualifications, but it’s best to seek to a nanny who does have these, to give you the peace of mind you crave. Whilst some families might be fine with experience and no qualification, many families prefer a nanny who has taken the time to obtain the right qualification and then gain experience as a result of it. 

Again, this is a personal decision and something you need to think about carefully. A few high profile qualifications to look for are:

  • NNEB qualification (National Nursery Examination Board) at level 3 minimum
  • CACHE qualification in childcare (Council for Awards in Care, Health And Education) at level 3 minimum 
  • NVQ or BTC qualification in childcare (National Vocational Qualification/Business And Technology Education Council) – these can either be diplomas or certificates, depending upon the course taken, and should be at level 3 minimum

Similar to not necessarily having qualification, nannies don’t have to register with a professional board or authority, but they can choose to do so if they choose. Again, you might feel it more pertinent to choose a nanny who is registered, to give you more peace of mind in their professionalism. In that case, nannies will be registered with OFSTED, the Childcare at Home Approval Scheme, Social Care And Social Work Improvement Scotland or the Home Childcarer Approval Scheme, depending upon which part of the UK you are living in. 

The plus point of choosing a nanny who is registered is that in order to register they have to have to tick certain boxes, including a CRB check (criminal records check), emergency training, and they must also understand the needs of children.

The Personality Traits of a High Quality Nanny 

Every nanny has their own personality traits, and if you want to find someone who is going to fit easily into your family, gel well and get along with your child, you need to interview several candidates and find out which one fits best for you. 

You will want your ideal nanny to have the same kinds of values as you, as well as the same kind of ideas about childcare and any specifics on discipline. If you choose someone who doesn’t have the same values as you in this area, you’re probably going to find that you clash more than you get along, and your child may be subject to disciplinary measures that you’re not happy with. Being on the same lines as each other, and laying out your expectations very early on, will help to avoid this. 

You might also have other specifics that you need your nanny to have, perhaps you want them to be good at cooking, or maybe you want them to be able to play a musical instrument around your child. Every family is different and that means having your own specifics and finding a nanny who fits best. 

Despite the specifics, a high quality nanny should certainly fit the following mould:

  • Someone who enjoys the company of children. It’s not always necessary for your nanny to have children of their own, but you need someone who has a real love of children at heart.
  • Someone who is able to think on their feet. Children are rarely predictable and that means you need your nanny to be able to think quickly, solve problems creativity and use their initiate whenever necessary. 
  • Someone who is committed to helping your child develop to the best of their ability. Your child is going to be spending a lot of time with their nanny and as such you need to be sure in your own mind that they’re committed to the wellbeing of your child on all fronts. 
  • Someone who is creative and can use their imagination. Children learn from the moment they’re born and you need someone who is able to help them visualise and be creative in the activities and games they play with your child. This will give your child the best possible chance at developing not only on time, but also ahead of schedule.  
  • Someone with high quality communication skills. It’s vital that your nanny communicates any problems, concerns, and even any memorable moments with you from their time spend with your child. Your nanny also needs to be able to communicate effectively with your child in a way which they will respond to well. 
  • Someone who is able to be flexible. It might be that you need your nanny to work a little extra from time to time, or maybe go away with you on family trips. In that case you need your nanny to be as flexible as they can possibly be, within reason. 

On top of these elements, you also need to make sure that you choose someone who you genuinely get along with well. 

Take Your Time

When it comes to finding the ideal nanny you need to make sure that you don’t rush the process and you take the time to really get the decision right. By finding one nanny and then realising that you’ve made the wrong choice, you’re potentially causing your child to feel a little upheaval. That’s not something you want if at all possible, so take the time to try and get the decision correct the first time.

Of course, it might be that you give someone a trial and they really turn out to be the wrong person for the job. In that case, that’s fine, you can move on with no harm done. However, try and minimise the number of people who are introduced to your child, to avoid confusing him or her, and to avoid any anxiety which might occur as a result of being around many different people. 

There is no shame in taking your time in this decision, in fact it’s to be expected! Be as picky as you need to be and focus on making the right choice. If you need to be firm in your expectations, go for it. This is your child’s welfare we’re talking about and in that case you’re entitled to be as rigid in your needs as you need to be. 

By doing your research and taking your time, you’ll find the perfect nanny for the job.