Nanny Jobs Archives - Find a Nanny

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Questions for a Nanny to Ask at an Interview

You are off to visit a family for a nanny's job interview, of course you will be feeling hopeful and perhaps a little nervous. You will already have a list of questions you will need to ask, and hopefully you have these written down so that if your nervousness makes you forget some, you can pull out your slip of paper to refer to.

There will be the typical questions regarding the hours of work, whether live-in or out, salary, the expectations the family has of you and the expectations you have of them - for example, if you need to pick up your own child at a certain time each day, it may mean it will be impossible to do any overtime and you must leave punctually at the appointed time.

  • What are the family's expectations regarding play dates? If their child's friend calls up and wants to come over, or to meet in the park, is this OK? Or does the family generally need to know more details, and make decision's case-by-case?
  • What activities do your children like to do? Do they enjoy an afternoon in the park? Or do they prefer indoor activities? Is there a play gym I can take them to? Is there a food court they sometimes like to go to for lunch?
  • Do your children have any special talents which I can try to cultivate? Music? Badminton? Swimming? Acting? Drawing?
    • One of our friends had a nanny who liked to organise the kids into producing a one-act play of a scene from a fairy story. They were loads of fun, and kids got really excited and enthusiastic about doing them, especially the dressing-up part!
  • What primary language should I speak to them in? Would you like me to also sprinkle in some phrases from my mother tongue?
  • Do any of your kids have any dietary restrictions? Are there some foods which anyone really hates to eat? Do you have rules about eating too much candy?
  • What are your kid's favourite foods? How often can they have them?
  • How much television, video gaming, Internet access do you allow each day?
  • Is any of your children struggling with a particular subject in school? Is there anything I can do to help?
  • Do you celebrate birthdays in a special way? Can I help you plan and prepare?

Being full of questions shows that you are a professional child-carer, and you take your job seriously and are keen to do the best you can. It will also mean, of course, that you will have as much information as possible to help you make a decision about working for a particular family, or not.

 

Keeping it Professional. Tips for Child Carers

Daily Diary or a Child Care Logbook
Daily Diary or a Child Care Logbook

Keep a Daily Diary or a Child Care Logbook

Whether you are a nanny or babysitter or a domestic worker who looks after children, all professional child carers should keep a daily logbook as a record of their activities. It sounds like a real pain, and it is. It also seems like a waste of time, but it isn't. It's the professional thing to do, and when parents notice that you keep a log, it will reflect positively on you.

It's a sad thing to say, but child abuse is found everywhere, in every culture and every country. The term "abuse" may be used for quite mild omissions, such as not changing nappies quickly enough, or leaving a child unattended for too long. To be accused of improper child care can be a real career killer, and you need to take every step which you can think of to make sure you are not a casualty.

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What are Some Reasons for Hiring a Nanny?

Cuddle Comfort

Cuddle ComfortYou are thinking of hiring a nanny, here are some reasons to consider:

  • If you are a working mum you may have support staff in your office. It's the same thing at home, you can't do everything yourself, so a nanny can pick up on the the things you can't get to, like helping with cooking, running the occasional last minute errand and doing a quick tidy-up at the end of the day.
  • Having a nanny can not only mean that your children get better and more focused care, it also can mean that you will get to spend more quality time with your kids. A nanny can get the meals prepared, some homework supervision done, get the kids in their jammies, their teeth brushed and their room tidied, so that when you come home, it is all about talking, bonding, reading, cuddling and winding down together.
  • Reinforcements! If you have more than two children, they can easily "gang up" on you and events can spiral out of control. Three rowdy children, a telephone ringing and something burning on the stove. A nanny can save these sort of situations and help bring things back into control. Who knows, an accident could have been averted.
  • A nanny can make disciplining a child much easier. You wouldn't buy that trinket that caught her eye in the shop, the one that you knew would be forgotten and uised as land-fill in less the 24 hours time. When she melts-down, cries and screams, you can be the cool disciplinarian while the nanny comforts and explains that mummy has some good reasons for not buying that tacky ridiculous cheapo piece of junk (she may explain it a bit more tactfully than that).
  • Your nanny maybe from another culture and this presents a wonderful opportunity to broaden your child's outlook. Many times our family have had an entertaining evening talking about life back home for the maid or nanny. Singapore is already a wonderful mix of cultures, but not many of us know the daily routine on a subsistence farm. And why not learn a new Tagalog word a day (or Indonesian, or Burmese).
  • Your first child? It is likely that your nanny has helped raise several families and so can bring all that experience to your own family and help reduce the uncertainty.

The Qualities You will Need to be a Nanny

Gorgeous Child

Where's my Nanny?

Where's my Nanny?


Surprisingly to most people, a nanny’s job is a particularly demanding one. If a person is attracted to nannying as a career because of the notion that it principally consists of humming lullabies to babies to send them off to dreamland, then they will be disillusioned when the reality sets in. Not everyone can be a nanny. It is physically and emotionally demanding, and as we are responsible for young lives, mistakes simply must not happen. Babies learning to crawl can tumble down steps, toddles can reach for and grasp a cup of hot coffee.

A nanny must not only see to, and provide physical care, but also set a good example for the developing children she is responsible for. Kids view the adults in their lives as the most important role models, and even when it seems they are lost in their own world, they are still quietly observing the adults around them and learning behaviour from them. That's everything from table manners to speech patterns to interaction with others.

A family who is looking for a nanny will have a list of the most important qualities that they expect her to have. New parents, even those who a familiar with hiring and firing in the corporate world, may have difficulties when thinking about the attributes they need in a nanny. A nanny should have intelligence, personal integrity, common sense and a cheerful positive attitude. Below are some more attributes which you may consider:

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About Being a Nanny

Working with children can be the most fulfilling and rewarding experience of your life. Although many people don't understand just how much emotional satisfaction can be gained from being a nanny, most good nannies are well-aware of it.

Raising children is a long term commitment from which you may not see the results in the short term, but it is life altering - for both the nanny and the child. A competent, effective nanny can have a profound and positive effect on the lives of the children she cares for. She will nurture them, and love them unconditionally. It is the exceptional nanny who realises just how important her role is in the lives of others and the importance of her job.

Occasionally a nanny will go through a crisis with the families they work for, and stick with them throughout. One often hears about a nanny who has been employed by the same family for many years, looking after consecutive of siblings from birth to late childhood. Of course, not all days are diamonds, but obviously she will share a commonality of purpose with the family which results in such successful partnerships.

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Tips for Interviewing Your Next Nanny

The thought of leaving your children alone with a stranger is particularly difficult one to come to terms with, yet many of us need to do it.

The best way to become comfortable with a new nanny is to interview her extensively, ask for testimonials, call her references,  check out her Facebook page or Linkedin profile and Google her name. A short, but focused interview will tell you a lot, but you need to ask some targeted questions. I have compiled a list of what could be described as behavioural questions  below.

As she gives her answer, try to gauge how good the candidate is at communication, how does she manage her time, her job duties and the various demands of looking after a child?  Then determine if it fits into what you are looking for in an employee working with your children.

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Training for New Maids in Singapore

maids in Singapore

 

maids in Singapore

Maids in Singapore

You can be sure of one thing about our government, when there is a problem it will take steps to address it. Now they have turned their attention to our domestic foreign workers.

Nine maids have died this year as a result of falling from high-rise buildings. That's 9, I mean N-I-N-E. To me that is an almost unbelievable number, and it is only early September. Let's hope there are no more for this year. Or ever.

Explanations given for this high rate are that most of the domestic foreign workers who end up in Singapore are from rural areas of their home countries and therefore don't have a good feel for working in a high-rise. It might be possible, I suppose, but it does seem pretty unlikely. Just 'cos you are from a farm means you are going to fall out of a high window when you hang out the laundry?

Nah. Not all nine of them.

I'll bet that at least some of them are so distraught by their circumstances of what must seem like an impossible amount of debt they racked up by just coming here, the loneliness of being being virtually locked up in an apartment all day without the chance to socialise with others from their own culture, the gruelling 14 hour workdays, and the sometimes less than humane treatment from their boss families, that jumping seemed easier than coping with their situation.

So thankfully there is now a compulsory course called Settling-In-Programme (SIP) which has replaced the previous entrance test after complaints that it was too hard to for non-English speakers.

The course is compulsory and takes one day to complete. You can see from the newspaper clipping to the left it is not about how to fold the laundry, but about real, serious, important, issues which will affect almost all new maids who come to Singapore to work.

As well as talking about safety in high-rise apartments the lecturers also inform the maids of their rights and what their employers are expected to provide, such as being present in the room and supervising a maid if she has been instructed to clean a window.

Whilst I am not absolutely sure of this, I believe the maids have also been instructed in how to get help if they need it. Occasionally it has been discovered that a maid has been abused, underpaid, underfed, locked up and made to work extraordinary long hours without rest, her passport taken away from her, and with a burdensome debt hanging over her, and she hasn't known how to get help, who to call or what to do.

The raison d'etre for the Find a Nanny web site is as much about preventing the exploitation of young women who are enticed to come here to solve their financial woes, as it is about giving local families a way to find local Singaporean women who want nannying and babysitting jobs.

Some Quick Tips on How to Hire a Maid, Nanny or Babysitter.

Happy Kids

Happy Kids

It's best to get organised before launching into the process of selecting a maid, nanny or babysitter. Here are some tips to think about.

Identifying Your Needs.

Firstly you should spend some time identifying your needs, and get them clear in your own mind. It's easy to come to the conclusion that you need help around the home, and then advertise for a maid, nanny or babysitter, with only a hazy idea of what that person would do for you.

Write down in a list what you need help with. Do you want a nanny to live-in, or live-out? What tasks will your nanny have to do? What hours will you want her to work? How many days off? Full time or part time? Who will she report to? You exclusively or you, your spouse and your mother-in-law?

Will there be travelling involved? What will be her roles and responsibilities? Baby care, toddler care and or childcare? What activities? House keeping? laundry, cooking, serving meals, driving, swimming, badninton, walking, shopping, gardening, time at the playground?

What kind of financial arrangement? Salary, hourly rate or daily rate? Can you offer you maid, nanny or babysitter any other benefits such as performance bonuses?

Interviewing Candidate Nannies

This process is crucial to obtaining the best maid or nanny. It is a bit different from interviewing candidates in the corporate world, for in addition to ensuring that the nanny's skill sets satisfy your needs, it is also very important that you feel comfortable with your new nanny, maid or babysitter, because they will be spending a great deal of time in your home.

Please do a face-to-face interview to try to learn as much as you can about her. Review her work experience, and responsibilites at their previous position. What did this nanny like and dislike about the families she work with before? What was their previous salary, and very importantly, what were her reasons for leaving.

Try also to find out her long-term goals and time commitments. If you think that a particular nanny might satisfy your needs, it is at that point in the interview that you can explain the roles and responsibilities of the position you are offering, and explain what your your expectations are as an employer.

If you feel that you have made a connextion with a particular candidate, and she might be the nanny or maid for you, it is important that you ask her for her references and telephone them. Once you have verified that the references are valid, the next step would be to do a second interview and then introduce the nanny to the other family members.

Making an offer

After you have interviewed, selected and screened the candidates for employment the next step to securing this person is making an offer. Most household employers prefer a Terms of Employment letter, or a guide as opposed to a contract. A guide is helpful in several ways.

There often are so many responsibilities for the typical nanny's job, it may be difficult to list them all. So a Terms of Employment letter creates a new way to communicate with your new employee. You can discuss this guide on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis, eliciting their thoughts and observations about their job. It also gives you an opportunity to constructively appraise your nanny in a non-threatening way. Remember communication is paramount.

Your guide should also include compensation or any additional salary for overtime or extra tasks not originally discussed. It is important to describe the compensation you are offering. Salry overtime, days off, vacation, sick days, public holidays, talk about everything including the start date.

So good luck when you conduct your first interview with your potential nannies and remember, if you fell you would like some advice from others, do make a post on the forum

More parents turning to nannies to care for kids

13/02/2012 child care, Nanny Jobs, Opinion

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It's a Nanny for the Ongs

MARRIED couple May Lee and Raymus Ong know they can rely on their nanny to take care of their two children while they are at work. More and more couples it seems, are relying on the services of nannies.

Madam Ng Ah Hoew has been caring for Cayenne, four, since she was 10 months old and for two-year-old Julian since he was a newborn.

The couple considered hiring a maid to look after the children and do the household chores. 'But with all the horrible maid stories we hear, and with no one to supervise the maid, we decided to stick with a nanny,' said Ms Lee, a 36-year-old assistant corporate communications manager.

Her husband, a senior engineer who is also 36, added that they could not rely on parental help as 'my parents live in Malaysia and my in-laws work'.

Madam Ng, 61, is the mother of Ms Lee's friend.

'She raised four children and has taken care of her three grandchildren, so we trust that she is experienced,' said Ms Lee.

Madam Ng is paid $750 a month and looks after the youngsters for two hours on weekdays at her flat in Sembawang.

'Helping take care of children allows me to work from home,' she said.

Full Text Here

Singapore Nannies and Inter-faith Families

11/02/2012 Nanny Jobs, Opinion

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Singapore Nannies and Inter-faith Families.

During your career as a nanny in singapore, you will probably be giving baby care and child care to children of many different faiths.

Although not common in Singapore, an interesting situation arises in a home where each spose follows a different faith.

We have learned in Singapore to be tolerant of different religions, to accept, and even participate in each others celebrations of holy days, and enjoy each others cuisines.

A Catholic nanny in a Singapore home with a Hindu father and a Buddhist mother would certainly find herself balancing precariously  on a highly strung tight rope! But it does happen often enough.

If the family is wise and tolerant, they will allow their children to learn, in equal measures, about each of their parent's religion, and give them the freedom choose which one to follow (if any at all).

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