If you are a working parent and don’t know how to fill the time between your kids finishing school and you getting home from work, it might be time to think about hiring an after-school nanny. Here are a few things to consider when hiring an after-school nanny:
1. Stick to a schedule
It’s important that your nanny be timely and on schedule. When hiring an after-school sitter, it is important that they pick your kids up from school and any other activities on time. Therefore, choosing someone punctual is essential. Check your nanny’s references to see if punctuality was ever an issue.
Your work schedule may not always be as accommodating as you like, which means that your after-school sitter should have some flexibility. If they need to leave at exactly 6pm every evening and you’re sometimes home as late as 7pm, who is 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 find someone with a background in a specific subject. For example, if you have a child who struggles with math, find a nanny who excelled in and is enthusiastic about that subject. Ask your prospective nannies about their educational backgrounds. If you’re not usually home in time to assist with homework, having someone who can give the kids helpful pointers or get them ready for tests can be very beneficial.
4. Clean driving record
If your nanny will be driving your kids around, you should look into their 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 most kids get home from school, all they want to do is veg out in front of the TV. It is important that their sitter lays down the law and enforces your regular house rule, for example, 30 minutes of TV when they get home and then homework, etc. You don’t want to come home from work at in the evening 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 relax 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
After-school snacks can be an important part of your kids’ daily diet. After all, if they do sports or other activities after school, they’ll need the proper fuel. Be sure that you can rely on someone to make healthy snacks. And if you’re regularly late for dinner, find 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 finishes, they will be the first to notice your child’s mood and whether anything is “off”. Instruct your nanny to inform you of any behavioral issues. 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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