Finding Your Nanny

Common Traits To Look For In A Nanny

There are many different qualities Australian parents look for in a nanny, and for a variety of reasons. The ideal caregiver for any one family can depend on the family dynamic, the ages of the children, or your special requirements (like housework!). Often it simply comes down to location, and wanting to engage a nanny who lives nearby. 

So what are Australian parents really looking for in a nanny?

We asked over one hundred parents in the We Need A Nanny community for the most common traits they looked for in a nanny, and the job requirements were only one part of the consideration.

While every nanny search is unique, there are some features common to all families. With that in mind, know that you aren’t alone. We aim to guide you on your nanny journey with confidence, so that you will find the right person to join your family.

Guided by intuition #

Not surprisingly, many of them were heavily influenced by emotions when seeking a caregiver for their beautiful family. Nannies promise to become a part of your everyday lives, so the pressure to make the right choice can feel intense.  Several parents responded that although they had met several nannies who fit what they needed on a day to day basis, the feeling just wasn’t right.

It’s understandable that emotions run high, especially if it’s the first time you’re engaging a nanny. Leaving your babies with a stranger is a big step. So in striving to understand what parents really look for in a nanny, we’ll hopefully alleviate some of those big emotions you are feeling and help simplify your search for the perfect caregiver.

The right fit #

What personal qualities do parents look for in a nanny? We saw many different responses. However three qualities resonated loudly with most of our respondents:

  • Trustworthy
  • Caring
  • Fun

Reliable, kind, honest, and responsible were featured, too.

We had some very specific responses such as having the ability to help with homework, being able to drive the kids to swimming practice, having specific musical instrument experience, or speaking other languages. But more on that later.

1. Being trustworthy #

Being trustworthy means being relied on to be honest and truthful. But how do you trust someone you don’t know? For some, trust comes with experience; maturity, and good referees. For others, it’s having the correct qualifications (first aid, for example), or having proven experience in a similar family situation to your own.

Some of our parent community recommended that a nanny’s referees were the best way to ensuring that the nanny was reliable and honest. Getting first hand information from someone who already knows your nanny will give you confidence to ask the right questions during interview, especially about their strengths and weaknesses; some of which could seal (or break!) the deal.

2. Being caring #

A caring person is empathetic, understanding, patient, kind, mindful, attentive, considerate, protective, and nurturing. The list goes on. BIG shoes to fill, but it makes sense that your nanny should possess all of these traits. You have feel you can trust them with your children, after all.

It’s clear from parents’ feedback that you want your nanny to treat your children the way you do. You want them to be guided by the same principles, and exhibit a level of care in line with your own.

Parents want a nanny who genuinely wants to be involved with the family, to contribute to the child’s needs and development; and who is committed to ensuring your children feel happy, safe, and loved.

3. Being Fun! #

Friendly and happy, energetic and upbeat are just some of the words that came up when ‘fun’ was mentioned in our feedback. Many of you want your nanny to be able to engage with your child, stimulate their imagination, and keep up with your children’s interests and extracurricular activities, and still keep them entertained during downtime.

Because ‘fun’ may come with elevated risk in some cases, safety was also a consideration. For instance, if you live near the beach, do your children love (or even know how?) to swim? Can your nanny swim? Is it safe for them to take your child to the beach after school? We know how important taking calculated risks are for a child’s development. So parents want to feel safe in the knowledge that their nanny is in control, while the kids are having fun!

Practically speaking… #

We had many other responses that extend beyond the common ones mentioned above, of course; all unique to our respondents.

Some of those surveyed mentioned in particular:

  • Household help. Help with cooking, laundry, and/or cleaning to lighten your load are a big plus for many of you seeking a nanny, so when you come home there is more time and space for you to be present with your child.
  • Flexibility. The ability to help in a crisis, or the willingness to be available at short notice was consistently mentioned by many of you.
  • Skills. The ability to understand and/or play sports with the child, or help them the child with their music practice are seen as positive attributes.
  • Languages. Many parents mentioned that they’d like their nanny to be bi-lingual to spark or develop their child’s interest in another (or their heritage) language.
  • Education. Many of you wanted your nanny to have the understanding and ability to assist your child with their homework, or even act as a part time tutor.

You’re not alone #

While we can’t help with regulating your emotions (sorry!), we do hope that by illustrating that you are not alone in the apprehension, nerves, and fear in selecting the right person to be your nanny, you’ll now have more confidence in moving ahead.

It’s normal to feel everything you feel when hiring someone to take care of your precious children. Your wish list, and deal breakers, should be clearly articulated (and documented) before you move ahead. Then, by systematically moving through the process – and your checklist – you can ensure all your needs are met.

It may take time, and be challenging, but when you find your dream nanny it can be a rewarding and even life-changing experience for your family and your child.

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