With September just around the corner there is only one thing in the minds of most parents up and down the country – the new academic year. With the kids returning to school how will you plug the gap between the end of the school day and leaving work? You may need to consider hiring an after school nanny.
If you’re planning on hiring after school childcare then we’ve put together a guide on what to look when interviewing potential nannies.
1. Sticking to a Schedule
It’s important that your nanny be timely and on schedule. When hiring an after-school sitter its vitally important that they are picking your kids up from school or any other activities on time. Therefore someone punctual is really essential.
Even if your child doesn’t mind lateness, having a nanny who can stick to the family schedule is important. Your kids might not be paying attention to what time it is and when they need to be somewhere, but your nanny should be. Ask your nanny’s references to see if punctuality was ever an issue.
Be sure your nanny is a multi-tasker who knows how to budget everybody’s time. While the oldest child is at a piano lesson and the youngest is at a friend’s house, make sure that nobody will forget that the middle child is still at soccer!
Your work schedule may not always be as accommodating as you like, which means that your after-school sitter should have some flexibility. If she needs to leave at exactly 6 pm every night and you’re sometimes home as late as 7, who’s going to stay with your kids for that extra hour? Make sure you know you can count on your sitter to hang out a little longer than usual if the day doesn’t go exactly as planned.
And you should pay the sitter for that extra time. If being late becomes a common pattern, think about officially extending the hours.
3. Educational Background
Depending on your children’s academic interests, strengths and weaknesses, it might be a good idea to hire a nanny with some experience tutoring kids or helping them with homework. Or someone with a background in a particular subject. If you have a child who struggles with math, for example, look for a college student who is getting As in algebra.
Ask your prospective nannies about their educational backgrounds. If you’re usually not home in time to assist with homework, having someone who can give the kids helpful pointers or get them ready for tests can make all the difference.
4. Clean Driving Record
You can access background check options through Care.com, but if your nanny will be driving your kids around, you should also look into her driving record. It’s also a good idea to ask your nanny for a copy of their driver’s license and insurance details for you to keep on hand.
5. Someone Who Gets Things Get Done
When your kids get home from school, all they want to do is veg out in front of the TV,” says Lynda. “Their sitter lays down the law and enforces our house rule: 30 minutes of TV when they get home, and that’s it. Then she makes sure they get their homework done.”
You don’t want to come home from work at 7:00 and hear that the kids watched cartoons for three hours instead of starting their homework. Find someone who knows how to entice the kids to do something other than veg out all afternoon, and can enforce any house rules you set — just make sure you’re clear with the nanny about what those rules are.
6. Basic Cooking Skills
Many kids consider after-school snacks to be a fourth meal. After all, if they do sports or other activities after school, they’ll need the proper fuel!
If your kids are picky eaters, be sure that you can rely on someone to make their favorites, while getting them to try new things. And if you’re late for dinner, look for a nanny who knows how to cook at least five healthy meals.
Since your nanny is the one who sees your child the moment school gets out every day, she will be the first to notice mood and whether anything is “off” and she should communicate this to you. Make sure you’re working as a team to keep your kids happy and healthy.
Remember: while schedule flexibility is extremely important, don’t settle for the first nanny who fits your time constraints. Find someone you can trust to enrich your kids’ after-school hours and give them consistency and structure.
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