At the end of 2014, a heart-breaking video of an abusive nanny went viral. To this day, I can’t bring myself to watch it (I don’t have the emotional maturity to forgive people for such horrifying actions). As parents, our biggest fear is probably the safety of our children – their wellbeing is constantly on our minds. It’s almost worse when they’re smaller and aren’t able to speak and tell you what goes on behind closed doors at home and at school.Although we can’t control the actions of some very sick people out there, there are precautions we can take to boost the safety of our little angels.
When choosing a caregiver for your child:
First and foremost for me is prayer – I lay my hands on my sons head daily before I leave for work (don’t wake them up in the processJ) asking for divine protection over his life. I really believe in speaking blessings over a child. Expect that your words will be heard by whichever higher power you believe in.
Most of us get referrals from gogo’s-cousins-uncles-makoti; these referrals usually come from a reliable source and are cost-effective however, don’t let that stop you from doing your own homework:
-Do a thorough interview – find out why they’re looking for a new job, what their views on discipline are, if they have first aid or other certificates, why do they love children, etc.
-Visit their home so that you know them and their immediate family more personally.
-Obtain a copy of the nanny’s ID/passport for your own records.
-Get two to three references from their previous employers.
Source your nanny through a professional agency, it is more expensive, but you will have the peace of mind of knowing the relevant background checks and training have been done.
Do a trial run with your new nanny before committing. Get them to start while you’re still on maternity leave or a few weekends in advance if you’re back at work. This will create an opportunity for you and your family to get to know them before committing.
Try to keep your patterns as irregular as possible. Ask your boss if you can take one or two lunch hour breaks to pop home quickly or work from home from time to time if you’re flexible. If you work far away from home ask your partner, family or friends to do random stops at your house. It’s common to relax once your build the trust, but don’t ever get too comfortable.
If you can afford it, have a camera or two installed in your house. Watch them with your nanny over the first few days.
You could choose to put your child into a reputable day care, with professionally trained and seasoned care givers. I know however, that this doesn’t guarantee that your child will not be abused – this option may also put an extra strain on working and/or single parents over late working nights and weekends.
Grandparents / family:
If you’re lucky enough to have your parents or close family members around you, I think this option brings the most peace of mind in the first few months of your baby’s life. This also brings an opportunity for your family to enforce your mother tongue in the home. When I went back to work after having my first child, I had a nanny that stayed with my son and granny during the day. This worked very well for me because I never had to worry, but I understand that many of us work far away from family.
Then there’s the young vs older nanny debate – you can catch up on that post too.
In the end, it’s never an easy decision. Consider all the options and choose the one that will suit your budget and make you most comfortable.
Please share with me what worked best for you.
All the best,
Modern Zulu Mom