Before finding a nanny, parents will often make a checklist of nanny duties and responsibilities, as well as qualities they would like their ideal candidate to have. However, one thing that tends to go unnoticed is a nanny’s ability to help children work through the emotional stresses of growing up.
As adults, we tend to look back on childhood as an idyllic time, even though it rarely feels that way for the child currently making his or her way through it. It’s easy to forget how easily children get stressed; after all, the pressures of adult life are much greater, especially when you’re juggling a career and a growing family. It is important, though, to remember that children encounter new and troubling aspects of the world each day, and their brains do not fully develop until well past their teen years. Most children lack the emotional intelligence required to easily navigate stress in their daily lives.
Parents, of course, want to be there for their children for any emotional trials they may go through. But it’s also essential that the nanny, while fulfilling the rest of her duties, be able to emotionally connect with her charges and help them process any difficult situations that may arise throughout the day. It might be wise to think of the nanny as the first line of defense in your child’s emotional well-being. Oftentimes, finding a nanny with the right balance, experience and temperament can prove to be a difficult task.
As a trusted adult who is not a parent, nannies often have a unique insight into the workings of a child’s mind. Your child may come to your nanny with things he or she is uncomfortable telling you, and your nanny can then relay that information back to you. Your nanny can also help your child sort through his or her emotions through games, crafts, or fun teaching activities.
Finding a nanny who connects with your children
When you’re trying to find a part-time nanny who connects with your children, it’s a good idea to have your top candidates also do a trial with your kids. A trial is the best way to find out how a prospective nanny interacts with and relates to your children. You’ll be able to observe her performance in a professional setting—in this case, in your home. You should be sure to take note of how hands-on she is with your children, as well as what kinds of activities she suggests to keep the kids entertained.
It’s also smart to look for candidates who are career nannies and have worked long-term with a family before. These nannies have valuable experience taking care of children through different developmental stages and have remained a constant presence in children’s lives for years at a time. They tend to be very skilled at connecting with children right off the bat as well as maintaining that connection as the kids mature. Career nannies tend to have plenty of experience with children of all ages; this (among other things) can make them an incredible asset to first-time moms in particular.
Another quality parents should keep an eye out for in prospective nannies is an educational background in child development or education. Nannies who have previously worked as teachers are often able to connect with children of different temperaments and have learned strategies for diffusing potentially difficult situations. Because they’ve worked with large groups of children in the past, nannies who have been teachers usually have unique insights into the child’s perspective. They also tend to know how to walk the line between confidant and authority figure—a crucial skill for any good nanny!
When embarking upon your nanny search, it can be helpful to partner with a reputable nanny agency to help you sift through prospective nanny candidates. At the Nanny Authority, we work with many college-educated, highly experienced nannies. Our placement specialists have spent many years working with both nannies and families and are experts at helping families find the best caregivers to meet their needs. Finding a nanny doesn’t have to be stressful. Browse our available nannies or contact us today to find out more!