logo AyiConnect Staff, Jun 25, 2021
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Finding the right nanny for your family is an important decision. You will want someone who is caring, trustworthy, and good with your children. 

But how do you know if a nanny is a good fit for your family? One way to check is to ask for references. References are people who have worked with the nanny before and can tell you about their experience. 

References can be helpful in making this decision, but what if the nanny you like doesn't have any?

A few reasons why a nanny might not have traditional references. They may be new to nannying, or their previous employer may have moved away. The nanny is from a different country and their references are not readily available. This can happen to some Chinese or Spanish speaking nannies.

If you want to work with a nanny without professional references from families they have worked with, probably because you like them. Don't panic or worry! Here are some ways you can use to assess if the nanny is a good match for your family. 
 

  • Interview the nanny carefully. Ask them about their experience, how they handle different situations with kids, and what their childcare philosophy is.
  • Ask the nanny's friends and family.
    • This is more of a characteristic reference. Ask them about the nanny's work ethic, and how they interact with kids. 
    • Request contact information for a sponsor who can attest to the nanny's character and qualifications. Immigrant nannies can provide references from relatives or family members to show their credibility and expertise.
  • Ask neighbors for recommendations. They may have had the nanny babysit their children before. Listen carefully to their experience and observe the nanny's interactions with their kids. This can give you valuable insights into the nanny's personality and fit for long term of the job.
  • Ask for other professional references outside child care.
    • Even if a nanny is new to childcare, ask for references from previous employers in other fields. Ask for references from a formal boss, supervisor, or colleague. This can give you good insights into their communication skills, work ethic, dedication, and integrity.
    • References from other fields can reveal transferable skills that suggest the nanny can handle your kids. For example, a team player, patient, and good communicator can likely adapt to childcare.

  • Consider volunteers experience. Inquire about the nanny's involvement in volunteer or charity work related to childcare. If they have volunteered at a church or children's organization, you may contact someone from that organization. Ask about the nanny's enthusiasm, work ethic, and personal qualities as a volunteer. Positive feedback from their volunteer work can be a valuable consideration.

  • Consider doing a background and ID check. Verify the nanny's background to ensure they have a clean record and can legally work. Ask them to show their ID and confirm the details from the relevant office.

  • Speak to academic authorities
    • One such thing is finding out whether they ever took a child care course in school or after. They should have a teacher or trainer who will vouch that they learned and excelled in training related to child care. A teacher can tell you what it was like teaching the candidate and whether they are nanny material.  
    • You can also speak to their academic counselor or advisor who spent some time with the candidate to see what they can say about their growth or career.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind:

  • Be clear about your expectations. Be upfront with the nanny what you expect from them. This includes their work hours, rate, responsibilities, and how you want them to communicate with you.
  • Have a trial period. This will give you a chance to see how the nanny works with your family and make sure they are a good fit. A new nanny will likely take the job and work hard to prove that they can take good care of your children/family. This also allows them to see if your family aligns with their expectations.
    • If you can set aside a few days to watch them work with the children, this will help you decide if they are up to the task. You can check if they seem patient, caring, and able to engage your kids? Does your kids reciprocate?

Conclusion

Lack of references doesn't need to be a dealbreaker when hiring a nanny. Just be sure to you make other checks as appropriate to compensate it. Sometimes it can lead to a great fit for your family.

Remember, trust your gut feeling. If you're not comfortable hiring a nanny without references, don't feel pressured to do so. Find those ones with references.

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AyiConnect is a platform to connect families with helpers who have a language specialty in addition to care. You can engage with them directly through self service or concierge service. Our concierge service can help busy families who don’t have time to search or need language assistance. Schedule a free consultation here for our concierge service, or download our app.

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