Being a parent is an exhilarating journey, but can also be met with lots of trepidation at the responsibility that accompanies this role. Navigating nappies, midnight feeds and inoculations in the early years, followed by homework and sport in the latter can be stressful. Add to that the pressure of finding someone to take care of your most precious asset whilst you at work and you can be left completely overwhelmed.
Tiffiny Thomas Owner and Founder of Blue Bird Aupair Agency is no new-comer to matching the right caregivers to the right families and she offers these key tips to help parents as they seek to find the right caregiver for their child:
Be clear on your needs: Are you looking for someone to just fetch and carry children after school or do you need someone full-time to take care of your baby/toddler? Knowing exactly what your child minder’s role will entail will help you to put out an advert that attracts the right candidates. For example, the former example would require the person to have a car and a driver’s license whereas the latter example would possibly require a first-aid qualification in addition to suitable experience.
Do relevant checks: Never forgo the opportunity to do background and reference checks, no matter how ‘nice’ or ‘trustworthy’ the person seems. First prize is if the person is a referral of a friend or family member. In the absence of a personal reference, be sure to phone each reference and, if you have the money, get an agency to do the necessary background checks for you.
Ask lots of questions: Ideally you want someone who will compliment your parenting style, not contradict it. So, make sure that you ask lots of questions, give scenarios and ask how they would deal with it. Whatever you do, don’t ‘lead’ the candidate to the answer you would give. Remain partial and you will quickly see if they are right for your family.
Introduce your child: It is important that your child meets your candidate before the hiring takes place however DON’T be discouraged if sparks don’t fly immediately. All relationships take time to form. Instead, watch how they interact with one another and if old enough, ask your child’s opinion once the individual has left.
Trust your instinct:A parent’s intuition is more powerful than any background check. Don’t be afraid to trust your gut.
Enrol help: If you would prefer not to walk this road alone, consider partnering with a professional aupair agency. They will not only help eliminate time-consuming admin of sifting through CVs and sitting through hours of interviews, they will also help you with background checks, payments and more!