Few days back morning national daily carried a headline about a brave Nanny in Bangalore who saved an 18 month baby from stray dogs putting her own safety behind. In contrast, there has been an incident in Pune where a Nanny was caught on CCTV beating up a 11 months old baby just because he couldn’t stop crying.
The contrast of both news items is astonishing. While many argue that it is best not to leave a baby alone with a babysitter yet, in today’s modern society some couples prefer to try this option rather than considering quitting job by one of the parent. And if there are bad people in this world then so there are good people too. We just need to find the right ones.
In such scenario, I would suggest young parents to follow these :
1. Background check: It is very basic and important step to have a complete background check before hiring. Ask for id, address proofs and previous employers and get her registered at the nearest police station. Always prefer referenced person over a non-referenced one. You can also use local community/apartment groups for cross-verifications.
2. Hire by your instinct: Interview the person properly and without hesitation. This is about your baby. Set your expectations clearly like working hours, personal hygiene etc. Also, try to understand the other party’s expectations. Do some casual chit-chat and notice the body language as well as patience level. It needs hell lot of patience to deal with babies. If other jobs can have probation period, this one too can have some trial days.
3. Personal life and habits: Not to stereotype the job but most likely the Nanny will be a woman. Be empathetic towards her but at the same time ask everything that can inform you about her habits and intelligence. Get familiar with her personal life and family. My girl’s nanny was a wonderful lady but sometime later she had issues in her family. She would leave early and took frequent leaves but I adjusted with her and gave her my support. She never vent out her frustrations on my daughter.
4. Observe your child: If you notice any difference in your kid’s behavior, howsoever slight, don’t ignore it. If the child doesn’t look happy or comfortable in front of Nanny then something maybe wrong and needs your attention.
5. Pay competitive: Parity is very important so be aware of the going rates. Good pay will also make the caretaker happy and sincere about her job.
6. Keep changing your schedule: Although having extended family especially grandparents looking over Nanny is the best combination but if that is not possible due to some reasons and you go to office leaving kid with only nanny then apart from CCTV recordings etc. have unpredictable schedule of leaving and arriving. Drop in by surprise sometimes.
7. Always be nice to nanny: She is your employee and not a family. At the same time, she is not your slave either. Treat her respectfully as you should to every human. And this one is even more special. She is the caretaker of the treasure of your life. Being assertive does not mean to be rude so be always polite to her. Remember that your child is watching and learning how you are behaving with another person.
8. Do not overburden Nanny with work: Even a mother gets frustrated sometimes with all the cries, tantrums and plays of a baby. Keep in mind that and accordingly assign work to Nanny. If she looks stressed out give her a break. She has a right to vacation. You know it’s not an easy job that’s why you have hired a Nanny and always remember that she too is a fellow human being.
9. If something is still wrong, don’t drag the agreement for even a single day. Nothing is more precious than your little one. I asked one lady to leave as her behavior looked suspicious. I paid her justifiably to make for her loss but I didn’t let her stay and look after my darling.
10. Say no to Child Labor: It is a great responsibility to look after a kid. Only a mature adult person should be hired for the job. My maid offered her daughter’s services for my baby. Upon asking her age, she said she looks like an adult. Shocked, I still insisted on knowing her age. She was just 14. Child labor is a crime and punishable offense even if you claim to look after the child. Poor kid carrying school bag for richer kid does not make a pleasant sight.
Last but not the least; the activities that you can do with your kid are like virtual umbilical cord. Don’t cut it off completely howsoever busy you are or how good is the Nanny. I made it a point to own certain activities myself like giving bath to my daughter every day in the morning. It’s fun to watch her play with water and I would not trade it for anything in this world. After all, why should Nannies have all the fun!
Roohi Bhatnagar is a passionate writer and an artist who also works for IT industry to earn her living. She is a doting mom of a cute daughter. Her stories have been published in “Chicken soup for Indian Souls” series and her paintings have been part of local exhibitions. These days her life’s mantra is to clutter the platter. Apart from the dream world where she often wanders you can also find her at her blog “Soulful“. Her twitter handle is @roohibhatnagar.