A New Mom’s Guide To Hiring A Nanny (By Busayomi Popoola)

A nanny is a person who provides child care. Typically, this care is given within the children’s family setting. Throughout history, nannies were usually servants in large households and reported directly to the lady of the house. This is usually someone who is fully invested in a child’s development and well-being. I know the word nanny is not new to us, we say it, we’ve heard it time over time, but you know getting a deep understanding of it is liberating.

Let me shed more light on this, I’ve seen people employ nannies without genuine reasons. I need you to note that a nanny work is similar to that of parent. It’s a nanny’s responsibility to create daily schedules and engage in activities to ensure healthy mental, physical and emotional growth in the children they care for. Typically, nannies have more responsibilities and duties than a babysitter does.

A nanny’s duties should be defined from the onset and not left to assume they already know what to do. No room for assumption and the nanny should not replace your job as a parent, she/he is just there to assist you.

Let me quickly run through the characteristics of a great nanny:

  • A great nanny genuinely loves the company of children. Nannies spend the majority of their day with little adult interaction and must truly enjoy spending their time with children.
  • A great nanny has a basic understanding of child development. Nannies are childcare specialists and are responsible for providing the children with developmentally appropriate experiences.
  • A great nanny has a reserve of patience. Nannies spend countless hours with children and must be able to handle children’s moods and behaviors without losing their temper or becoming outwardly irritated.
  • A great nanny is organized.
  • A great nanny is prepared to handle an emergency

What you should know and look out for before hiring a nanny

  • Interview candidates thoroughly. Ask them specific questions that relate to your family. Find out what their past job duties were and if they are willing to do the tasks you are looking for help with. Talk about your parenting and discipline styles, and find out if the prospective nanny will agree to follow your lead.
  • Trust your instinct. If you don’t have a good feeling about someone — regardless of how they appear on paper or what former employers have said — don’t hire him/her. Likewise, if the candidate is inconsistent in communication, e.g., not responding to texts or phone calls promptly, consider that a red flag.
  • Medical Check. Health screening should be considered a necessary step before hiring. This is not discrimination. The odds are that when you start a new office job you are required to undergo a physical examination right? Same thing here, there is nothing wrong with knowing the health status of staff that will be caring for a baby or cooking your food. This way you know if there is anything they need to see a doctor for. Some several labs and clinics would carry out a basic domestic staff health check in Lagos.
  • Arrange a trial day. If you’re not using a nanny agency, it may be a good idea to set up a playdate with the prospective nanny or have him/her shadow you for a day before you offer a position. It’s a good idea to see this person interact with your children to see if he or she is a good fit with your family.

Interview questions for nannies

Questions to ask a potential nanny about the position:

Why do you want this job? What are you looking for in your next position? Do you have any questions about the job description? Do you know your way around my town/city/neighbourhood?

Questions to ask a potential nanny about training, education and background

Why did you get involved in child care work? How long have you been a caregiver? Do you have (or are you willing to get) CPR or baby first-aid training? What is your education level? Have you taken classes in child care? Would you be willing to take classes if presented with the opportunity? Are you fluent in any other languages besides English? If so, would you be comfortable speaking in another language to the children?

Questions to ask a potential nanny about their work experience

Why did you leave your last job? What are the ages of the children you’ve cared for? What are your favourite ages to care for and why? What is your favourite part about being a nanny? What’s your least favourite part? What was the most challenging experience you had with a child you were taking care of? Have you ever had to handle an emergency or been witness to a life-threatening situation with a child? If yes, what happened and how did you react? Do you have experience with children who have medical needs? Are you comfortable administering medicine? Do you have experience preparing bottles? Do you have experience following dietary restrictions and avoiding food allergies? Do you have experience introducing a baby to solid food? Do you have experience navigating unusual or difficult family dynamics? Tell me about the work style of your past employers. Was it a casual environment, or was there a strict schedule? What additional duties did you perform in your previous jobs? Did you do any light cleaning or run household errands?

Questions to ask a potential nanny about lifestyle

What do you see yourself doing in the future? What do you like to do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies or do you pursue any interests outside of work? Do you have any dietary restrictions?

Interview Red Flags

  • Body language
  • Facial expression when asking them questions
  • Response to questions
  • Reasons why they need the job
  • Reason they left their later job

What if on the trial day, the person decides to fake it and puts up his/her best out? firstly you shouldn’t make it obvious that it is a trial day. Secondly, you can get feedback from your kids, I trust children won’t hold back words.


Busayomi Popoola is the Relationship manager of Ideal Staffing

Ideal Staffing Agency is a CORPORATE and DOMESTIC Staffing Agency that is established to introduce and optimize the importance of efficiency and character building in the work place.

Ideal Staffing Agency is in the business to rejuvenate and to create an enabling working environment to suit the employer and the employee.

Their services include:
*staff training
*Outsourcing
*Recruitment
*Sales of baby accessories

You can always reach out to her on Instagram IDEAL STAFFING to get more ideas and how to run the whole process and if you also feel, training will do for your nanny.

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