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Why Parents Shouldn’t Settle for a Nanny

September 16, 2013

Making the decision to include a full-time childcare provider in your household is an important one. Unfortunately, the process of interviewing, vetting and finding the perfect nanny is rarely a walk in the park. When the clock is ticking and you simply have to find a childcare provider, it’s tempting to settle for the closest approximation to what you’re looking for in order to get things moving. This may save you a bit of time and effort from a short-term perspective, but the decision to settle for a nanny who doesn’t fit the bill you have in mind can lead to real trouble in the long run.


A Bad Fit Often Leads to Turnover

When you hire a nanny at the last minute and decide to turn a blind eye to her lack of requisite experience or references, you’re running the very real risk of bringing an unqualified, incompetent childcare provider into the mix. While there will be someone there to look after your children, you have no real way of ensuring that the kids are receiving the kind of care you expect or that they’re being attended to by a professional caregiver. Deciding to give an inexperienced nanny who’s eager to begin a career a chance is one thing; after all, everyone has to start somewhere. When you make a hasty decision to hire the least objectionable candidate, however, you’re effectively deciding to bring in an interim childcare provider who may or may not adhere to the guidelines you’ve put in place. In a worst-case scenario, your children could be neglected or even abused. More likely, however, is that they’ll just be disappointed and confused at yet another disruption in their routine and sense of stability when the nanny they’d just become accustomed to is either sent packing or decides to quit without notice. In the end, you’ll be scrambling for a replacement just as frantically as you searched for the original nanny, with little to show for your efforts aside from upset children and a disrupted home environment.

Patience is a Virtue

There’s a reason why this venerable proverb has been able to stand the test of time. When you take the time to find a quality childcare provider rather than settling for the first one who comes along, you’re more likely to find a childcare provider who is a good fit for your family and who works well with your children. Extending an offer to the first applicant you interview means you could miss out on the right nanny entirely or be faced with the difficulty of figuring out how to terminate a newly extended contract in favor of taking on the Mary Poppins clone that you found a week after hiring a sub-par childcare provider. It’s far better to start your search as early as possible and wait until you’ve found the right candidate than to hire one you’ll only let go of when a better candidate comes along or be miserable with until she chooses to quit.

Follow Your Instincts

Many parents find themselves settling for an applicant that they would not have hired under better circumstances, but others settle for an applicant who, on paper, is a perfect fit. In the process, however, they’re ignoring a niggling feeling or instinctual dislike of a childcare provider who comes highly recommended and passing over one they feel much more comfortable with, due to a lower level of professional experience or education. It’s important to have a strong idea of who you’re looking for and what qualities are important to you before you start the interview process, but it’s just as important to keep an open mind and follow your instincts. If your gut says that there’s something wrong with an applicant who, in theory, is perfect for your family, it’s far better to choose not to settle than to find out later on that she’s completely wrong.

You Know Your Child’s Needs

There’s a reason why parents build a list of characteristics, qualifications and qualities that their nannies must have: they know their children and they know what those children need. Settling for the first applicant through the door might net you a warm body, but she may not be the person to adequately meet your kids’ needs. This especially holds true if your child has special needs that a candidate isn’t particularly well versed in caring for or a behavioral issue that’s difficult for inexperienced childcare providers to manage. You may have to make some complicated interim arrangements until you find the nanny who will meet and exceed your expectations, but it’s a juggling act that will prove to be well worth it when your kids are healthy, happy and safe. The peace of mind that comes with knowing your children are well taken care of in your absence will also boost your own quality of life.

In the end, finding the ideal nanny may take more time than you expected. You may even have to adjust your expectations a bit if you find that they’re unrealistic. You should not, however, settle for a nanny who you know is just never going to be a comfortable fit within your household.


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