Tips to find the perfect nanny

5 tips to find the perfect nanny

The nanny. Aka Second Mom. The person you choose to look after your child gets to know him just about as well as you do, and your child will become attached to his nanny too. As South Africans, most of us were carried on someone’s back when we were little, and truth be told, that person probably helped shaped who we are today. So the importance of choosing the right person for the job and training them to do it properly is right up there with voting for president and washing your conditioner out properly.

It’s quite difficult to choose the right person to look after your child. You need to be able to trust that person with the most important thing in your life, so hiring a stranger to come in and take over should be treated as a serious matter. Here are some tips on where to start:

Use an agency

Using a placement agency is a great way to help you find the right person to hire. Most of them pre-interview the candidates and check their references before placing them in someone’s home. The nice thing about using an agency is that you’ll have an opportunity to meet quite a few potential nannies – interview a few candidates until you find a fit. Visit for some insight on how these services work.

Keep it in the family

If you have a family member who is willing to look after your child while you work, you should consider this option. But be warned – this might seem easier and more cost effective, but can be tricky as well. When you hire someone, you’re the boss, and whatever the boss says, goes. With a family member, this isn’t the case. If you decide to ask a family member to look after your child, be prepared to be more sensitive and diplomatic than ever.

Love what you know

It can be a great idea if you already have a domestic worker and would like her to take over the responsibility of nanny as well. Just remember that a higher salary should accompany the increased amount of responsibility. Also, cleaning a household while trying to look after a little one is almost impossible, so it may help to employ someone to help her with the washing and ironing once a week. This way, she can also dedicate more time to your child.

Questions to ask

Whether you’re interviewing an outsider, your domestic worker or a family member, you will need to ask certain questions, but make sure you’re making the right decision. Don’t read their CVs only, but take the time to check that their references are legitimate. With someone you know, it’s important that you’re both on the same page when it comes to what you expect from them, and what they’re willing to do for you.

House rules

Once you’ve chosen someone to help you raise your little one, the hard work begins. Make sure that any routines you’ve set up for your child are stuck to while you’re not around. And if you haven’t got a routine, now might be the time to introduce one – even a flexible one will do. A routine is important because it will give your nanny some guidance as to how you bring up your child.

Introduce the nanny to your child before you leave the scene completely. Take two weeks or so to share the responsibility of looking after your child during the day. You can then monitor how your child and nanny interact, and your nanny can see how you go about things. This also allows your child to get used to the new nanny, and you won’t be leaving him with a stranger.

Here are some things to let your nanny know:
  • The basics – when your child eats, sleeps and baths.
  • What kind of entertainment and play time your child likes. And no, teaching the nanny the Barney song is not below you!
  • Your child’s likes and dislikes.
  • Stick a list of emergency numbers on the fridge, including yours, other relatives’ numbers and emergency services. A poison guide that tells you what to do according to what the child has ingested is also a must.
  • Even if your child isn’t crawling yet, show your nanny some child-proofing essentials, and they’ll turn into habits.
  • Your nanny needs to know what to do if your child gets sick. Either show her what medication to give in certain situations, or let her know that she should call you for your advice.
  • Have an open conversation about safety in the house. She shouldn’t let anyone in the house unless they’re expected, and you should say whether or not you mind the nanny having visitors over.
  • If you want the nanny to be able to properly stimulate your child and play age appropriate games for educational purposes, consider sending them on a course in your area that specialises in these things – edubabe offer a great Advanced Childcare, Stimulation, First Aid and CPR course – for more details.
  • Personal hygiene is important. If you’re adamant on washing your hands before you wash a bottle, let her know that she must too.
  • There should be a guideline on what to do and what not to do when accidents happen and there’s blood involved.
Easy does it

Sharing the responsibility of raising a child doesn’t make the job any less strenuous, but there are things you can use to make both your lives easier, and free up more time to spend with the little one:

  • A decent baby monitor. This is especially a must if you ask your domestic worker to look after your child. She can listen out for any cries while moving around the house.
  • A bottle sterilizer that works quickly. This saves a lot of time and ensures that everything is as clean as it needs to be.
  • Different play areas around the house. Keep a few different toys in different places. This ensures that your child won’t get bored by being stuck in the same room all day.
  • Pre-made food. Whether you make it yourself or buy it in a jar, make sure it’s ready and available so that Nanny has the right tools to give good nutrition.
  • Sending your nanny on a child rearing course is a great idea that will put your mind at ease. She’ll learn so many useful things, including CPR and child care.
  • The Nanny Notebook  is a compilation of everything you and your nanny need to know about what’s going on in your child’s life. The Nanny Notebook has great features, like a space for the nanny to fill in information about what your child ate during the day, how many dirty nappies were changed, nap times, and even a shopping list so you know what to buy next time you’re at the shops. Check out Or ask an Edubabe Franchisee for more info.
Important notes to remember
  • Hiring a nanny isn’t just about employing someone; it’s choosing someone to help raise your child.
  • Open communication is the only way to make it work. Both parties should have an input as to what could work for your child. Be open to suggestions.
  • If there are products you can use to make your nanny’s life easier – then use them! The more efficient they are, the better off your child is.
  • Don’t be scared to look around before deciding on who to employ.
  • If you choose someone you know make sure you’re both in agreement on what’s expected from each of you.
  • Remember, just as you’re learning the right way to do things as you go along, so is your nanny.
  • Don’t overreact if your child is as happy to see the nanny as he is to see you. This is a good thing.
    The more people who love your child, the better.
6 reasons why you should use a childcare recruitment agency

Edubabe have been placing staff in homes to take care of children for 21 years now, often asked by new parents why they should make use of an agency rather than sourcing someone on their own.

It is a lot cheaper to hire a nanny from an ad in the local newspaper or on Facebook, a referral from a friend, your local community centre or church. While there are success stories of these searches, you also hear about parents’ frustrations and difficult situations when they are looking for a caregiver.

Why choose an agency?

You are paying an agency to provide you with a service and while you may not have walked into a store and bought an item and taken it home, you have made a very important decision about who you will be entrusting with your most precious being, your child. The nanny will be responsible for the daily care and wellbeing of your child and you want to know that when you leave home in the morning you do it feeling “I have made the right decision for both my child and myself”.

The agency’s expertise come into play with being able to wade through the candidates and identify the most experienced, honest and reliable person for you from the influx of jobseekers that try anything to secure a position.

Here’s why you should use a childcare recruitment agency:

1. You’ll save time

When you get home from work, the last thing you want to do is sit and read through streams of applicants and call possible candidates. It’s easier to submit an application form to an agency with your requirements and have them send you only three of the best candidates suited to your requirements.

2. You don’t always know exactly what you are looking for

It’s up to the agency to find out the family dynamics and make suggestions on what type of candidate they think will work best for you. Sometimes the agency will send different types of candidates for the parents to interview, so the agency can get a better feel for what the parents are looking for.

3. Candidates are screened

Any candidate who the agency arranges for you to see has been interviewed in person already. The agency would have confirmed that they are literate; they have a copy of their ID, passport or, work permit; and have an up-to-date CV with all the relevant information and copies of certificates and references.

4. Candidates can be properly trained

While childminders and au pairs in South Africa don’t require any formal qualifications, there are many courses that train candidates to equip them with the necessary skills to perform their job to the best of their ability. An agency will have the knowledge and understanding of which courses are best suited for which position.

5. Confidentiality

By using an agency you don’t need to place an advert yourself, so nobody will know that you are looking for staff. You may have a current childminder or au pair and you don’t want her to know that you are looking for a new person, or you may not want your contact information available on the internet. Whatever your reasons may be, by using an agency your privacy is respected.

6. Access to a large pool of candidates

Any agency that has been in operation for a long time should have a large pool of candidates.

Most families don’t think about this when they are in the process of recruiting someone.

It takes a fair amount of time for an agency to build up a good database but once they have one this is a great asset to a family who needs a candidate to start urgently.


Living And Loving Staff

Our experienced editors work with trained journalists and qualified experts to compile accurate, insightful and helpful information about pregnancy, birth, early childhood development and parenting. Our content is reviewed regularly by our panel of advisors, which include medical doctors and healthcare professionals.

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