Nanny Expert Reveals Top Items for Parents to Discuss Before Hiring a Nanny to Care for Their Children

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Nanny expert Steve Lampert recommends parents and nannies mutually agree to employment issues and expectations prior to hiring.

It is important to have all the information you need to confidently make the hiring and employment process smoother and more professional

The nation’s premier nanny expert Steve Lampert says surprisingly, child-related issues are a very small percentage of the problems that come up between nannies and families. Most of the issues that arise and result in either the nanny leaving, or the family letting her go has to do with problems between the adults.

“Many of these problems could be avoided if they had been discussed in advance,” says Lampert, who started an award-winning full-service nanny agency in 1994 and brought his professional nanny expertise online in 2001 with eNannySource.

Lampert says finding and hiring the right nanny for your family is one of the most serious undertakings you will ever face as a parent. “It is important to have all the information you need to confidently make the hiring and employment process smoother and more professional,” he says. “The fact is there are more regulations for hairdressers and manicurists than for nannies. Anyone can wake up in the morning and start calling herself a nanny.”

According to Lampert, you will know that you've found the right candidate when you speak with her on the phone and in person, and see how she responds to your children in a first meeting. “Whether you use a traditional agency or find a nanny online, your best tool is always your intuition. If you and the nanny instinctively feel comfortable around each other, you are likely to have the best fit for your family.”

The nanny expert cites five common mistakes parents make in dealing with a nanny and some pointers to help keep your nanny feeling secure and appreciated.

1. Problem: The parent does not take responsibility for laying out clearly the terms and conditions of employment.

Solution: Be straightforward and direct. Before the hiring process is complete provide a mutual nanny contract, outlining expectations about the job.

2. Problem: The parents make unexpected and unreasonable requests to the nanny in the form of extra hours or chores.

Solution: Lay down ground rules, and respect them. Good communication is the most important part of the parent-nanny relationship. She shouldn’t be asked to do errands unrelated to childcare, unless she agrees to certain duties ahead of time and is detailed in her contract.

3. Problem: The nanny attempts to impose house rules and the parent undermines her authority by reversing her decisions.

Solution: Back her up. Nannies take their job seriously and so should you. Don’t change your mind about house rules that you’ve approved as soon as your child complains to you. This kind of thing is confusing to a child and can make the nanny’s job much harder.

4. Problem: The nanny is unhappy with her salary and benefits.

Solution: Just as you wouldn’t be happy earning a below-average salary at your job, neither would your nanny. Pay a competitive rate depending on where you live, duties involved, how many children you have and the nanny’s experience and educational level. To ensure that your nanny stays, come up with an incentive package with days off, paid holidays, vacation time and possible perks such as chipping in for health or car insurance, classes or a gym membership.

5. Problem: Nanny needs more flexibility in her schedule.

Solution: The parent should allow for some changes in the nanny’s schedule for occasional doctor’s appointments or personal errands - as long as she doesn’t take advantage. As long as she gives you plenty of notice so you can find a substitute, or adjust your schedule so you’ll be home, try to accommodate her needs.

Visit eNannySource.com to read useful information for families including Nanny Background Checks and Interviewing Questions for Hiring a Nanny.

Since 2001, nanny expert Steve Lampert of eNannySource has helped more than 200,000 families & nannies communicate and manage the search process. Having a solid background in running a traditional award-winning nanny agency for more than 13 years, Lampert took his expertise and put it online to teach parents across the country what interview questions to ask, how to hire, how to check references (and identify phony ones), what type of contract is appropriate and what to offer as an acceptable salary rate. Most importantly he has given thousands of parents the confidence and tools to find and keep a quality nanny.

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Susan Weiss
SWPR
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