Hiring a new Nanny or Babysitter? Communication is Key


The key to any enduring relationship is good communication, a point worth remembering when you hire a nanny or babysitter. While it can be daunting to hand our children over to a relative stranger, there are steps you can take to help ensure everything goes smoothly, and that the ongoing relationship is a positive one for parents, children and carers.

Babysitter duties defined
Is your nanny or babysitter going to be doing sole childcare duties? Will you be at home and on hand? Are you expecting them to do some light housework or prepare a meal?

You’ll need to clarify their exact role, your expectations and your children’s routine. This process can help you get a clear picture of what you’re asking them to do, and if it’s feasible. Your investment in your duty definitely won’t go unrewarded as you can use this as a job description when you advertise.

Discipline discussed
Say your child is refusing to come to the table for lunch, or is having an enormous tantrum. What do you do? You no doubt have your own opinions when it comes to discipline. Maybe you’re a fan of time-out, or are strongly adverse to it.

Your nanny may also have firm ideas and may be used to children of a different age. Discuss how you approach discipline and then get it in writing so you both know where you’re at.

Payment made easy
Always be clear on salary and payment terms. How exactly are you going to pay them and will you pay them on a daily, weekly or monthly basis ?

Chat about this with your sitter to see what suits you both and make sure this is put down in writing.

Nanny behaviour
Sometimes looking after a child requires some inventiveness and a babysitter or nanny may not follow your plan. Before admonishing them, calmly discuss why they made a particular decision, and then consider if you have set realistic expectations.

Remember, open and honest communication will help you keep a great babysitter.

Contract matters
If you’re looking to hire a regular nanny or babysitter, then a contract can be a great idea. It’s easy to think you’re all on the same page when you talk something over. Writing everything down will help make sure you are and avoid problems down the track.

If a nanny accepts your job offer then make sure they ( and you ) read, discuss and sign the contract. It then becomes a legal document which both parties are obliged to follow. The last thing you want is to receive a message from your new nanny the day before you are due to go back to work that they are now unable to turn up tomorrow as they have received a better offer or have changed their minds.

A contract doesn’t have to be a complicated document. It should include a description of duties, goals, discipline strategy, salary, payment day, method of payment and even when a raise might be considered. You might also consider including a trial-period clause.

If you would like to know more about what should be included in a contract click here

Do speak to the Australian Tax Office or an accountant regarding any relevant tax issues that need to be set out.

A final word
Finally, while it doesn’t pay to expect the worst it will help to think through scenarios that could cause issues. You might for instance, be an hour later home one night after major traffic delays. Or your child might develop a sudden fever.

Be clear on payment for extra hours (regular or overtime rates) and an emergency plans you want them to follow.

With clear communication, hiring a nanny or babysitter can be a great experience for all of the family.


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2 thoughts on “Hiring a new Nanny or Babysitter? Communication is Key

  1. Pingback: Hire A Nanny | WeNeedaNanny.com.au blog

  2. Pingback: Nanny Services : Just What Is Involved ? | WeNeedaNanny.com.au blog

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