Choosing the right nanny for your family is a very personal process. There are lots of factors to consider, such as the nanny’s education, experience and caregiving philosophy, along with how she connects with your family. Your ideas about nannies in general also come into play. Many nanny employers have ideas about certain types of nannies based on their own experiences with previous caregivers or stories they’ve heard from friends and colleagues. Sometimes this type casting turns out to be true. Most often, though, it turns out to be false, and it can end up keeping you from considering a nanny that may be a wonderful match to your family. When choosing your next nanny, make sure you don’t fall victim to these stereotypes.
Young nannies are immature and can’t be counted on to stay in a job for the agreed upon commitment period. There have been lots of young nannies entering the field in recent years. Many are starting a career after graduating from a vocational high school or a community college childcare program, or are moving into nanny care after losing a daycare or preschool job due to the economic downturn. This is a different breed of young nanny than our industry has seen in the past. They often have a solid foundation of childcare education, a lot of hands-on experience and a clear understanding of what working with children on a daily basis means. Although they’re young, they’ve thought through their choices and want a long term job just as much as families want a long term nanny. When choosing nannies to interview, you should take a serious look at any young candidates that have applied for the position. You might find several that bring the maturity and commitment you’re looking for.
Older nannies can’t keep up with my child. Senior nannies are another growing group within nanny care. These nannies are sometimes called Granny Nannies and are often seen as a grandmother figure for the child. In this day and age when so many families have no extended family close by, this can be a comforting view of a nanny. Unfortunately it also invokes the image of an elderly woman sitting in a rocking chair or teetering around the house. Most of today’s senior nannies don’t fit into that picture at all. Yes, if you peeked in on a senior nanny during the day you might find her in a rocking chair soothing a baby to sleep or reading a book to a child. But it’s just as likely that you’d find her playing tag with an active toddler at the playground or taking a preschooler on a field trip to the firehouse. Older nannies are often full of energy and can easily juggle the demands of a nanny job.
Overweight nannies are couch potatoes. The last thing a parent wants is to hire a nanny that’s going to plop their child down in front of the TV all day. Unfortunately this is the image that comes to mind when many parents think of overweight nannies. Because being overweight is associated with a sedentary lifestyle, it’s hard to imagine an overweight caregiver doing much of anything during the day. In most cases, however, that’s simply not the case. Although an overweight nanny may not be able to run a marathon or take an all day bike trek, chances are she won’t have any problems keeping up with your active toddler at the park, spending the day at the zoo, or playing a game of basketball at the local court. A quality nanny, regardless of how much she weighs, is active and engaged throughout the day.
Career nannies are set in their ways and won’t let me parent my way. Nannies that have extensive experience bring a lot of ideas, approaches and strategies to their jobs. Chances are whatever challenge comes up, an experienced nanny has dealt with something similar before. Although she may have seen the situation previously, an experienced nanny also knows that every situation, every child and every parent is different. She understands that while she can offer tricks of the trade and guidance, she’s ultimately there to follow the parents’ lead. As a nanny, it’s her job to support the parents and help them in whatever ways they find most useful. Hiring a career nanny can give you an on-site expert to answer your questions, offer suggestions, and provide experience based solutions to challenging behaviors, all while fully supporting your parenting choices.
Many times the image we have in our minds of a certain type of person doesn’t line up with what that person’s like in real life. When hiring a nanny, those misconceptions can cause you to pass over fitting candidates. Take the time to get to know prospective nannies that you have reservations about because of a common stereotype. You could be very pleasantly surprised.