I know I’ve been AWOL for a while. Work has been crazy, and between that and the baby and visiting family, it’s been nearly impossible to fit writing time in. As such, I’m back today with a vengeance (and a strategy to keep myself consistent): I am going to start two specific bi-weekly posting themes: How-To Tuesdays (for how-to lists and DIYs), and Fit Fridays (for recipes/workouts/etc). I think that’ll help also keep me accountable to my own personal goals outside of writing. So. There you have it. Now moving on to today’s little post, I just thought it’d be useful to share a How-To on hiring nannies. I get asked about this often these days, so finally decided to just create a quick list of things that worked for me.
I should start this entry by saying that my advice will be mainly relevant to people employed outside of their home countries (or people without a network of fellow moms who employ nannies who can hand in referrals, etc), and even more particularly relevant to those living in Jakarta. However, I’ll try to keep the list practical so as to ensure it is still useful to most of y’all who have me on your Reader. So here is my guide to finding a good nanny:
- Look in the right places. You need to kick off your search right by looking in the best possible places from the start. If you are part of a church or have a solid group of friends, ask them. If you don’t, look online. In most cities there are support groups for moms (like the Jakarta Moms Support Group) and mailing lists for expats (like Upper Crust). Join these groups/sign up for these lists to make sure you are exposing yourself to as many classified ads, referrals, etc as possible.
- Have in mind a good and fair offer (for pay, benefits, and working hours/living arrangements). If you have it in your head to spend less/save on a nanny, then perhaps you should consider other alternatives instead (family members who would volunteer to care for your baby if within the realm of possibility, for example). This is because, just like any other job, a good nanny will be an investment. Most good nannies will have years of experience, a comprehensive CV, and fantastic references. And just like with any other job, nannies who do tick those boxes will also demand commensurate pay.
- Keep an eye out for at least 2 strong references. Ideally, if you are looking for a nanny for an infant, you should have someone with plenty experience who is confident, strong, and competent at infant-handling. For us, we agreed that at least 2 reliable, positive references was important. The reason for this is to prove a basic track record of having handled more than one infant — every infant is different, so it’s important for caregivers to understand the potential for variance and have a patience and flexibility to deal with different babies in equally positive ways. The nanny we ended up hiring has had 15 years of experience with babies and children ages 2 months to 5 years, had 3 strong references, and 3 daughters of her own. These things, together, were compelling enough for me to trust that she had a positive track record dealing with young children.
- Interview beforehand. This might seem obvious, but it’s an important step: arrange to meet somewhere, ask her to bring references (and a CV if she has one), and spend 30 minutes to an hour just asking her questions, and allowing her to ask you questions too. With our nanny, I even let her hold our little one to observe for myself how she would do it; and the interview was a great way to also gauge how well she and I might get along.
If you are an expat mommy in Jakarta and need some help sourcing your nanny don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d be happy to assist in any way! (Whether it’s to link you to mailing lists, or connect you with friends.)