Monthly Archives: October 2009

Finding your perfect caregiver: How to choose a good nanny service

Today’s modern family is busy, hardworking and spread pretty thin. Many of us need some extra help now and then, especially when it comes to childcare. Finding the right nanny is one of the most important choices a family can make. Choosing the right person will benefit your children, the dynamic of your house and your sanity. Choosing the right nanny service is a key first step toward finding the right person to add to your family.

If you are a busy family trying to make ends meet an online company is probably your best bet. Signing up on an employment website is relatively inexpensive (around $60) and will give you access to lots of people you wouldn’t have been able to find on free websites like Craigslist. Online employment databases also offer extensive profiles that give you way more information than Craigslist or Kijiji ads.

If your family has more money to work with you may be able to afford to hire a human resources specialist ($1000-$1500) to help you find the perfect employee. This option is more expensive but worth every penny if you would prefer to leave the work of sifting through hundreds of potential employers to a professional. Human resource professionals working for good nanny service will also have a “nanny network” to draw from when finding you a nanny. This is a super valuable resource that can’t be found on online.

But it’s about more than money. Remember to be patient. Don’t rush into a hasty agreement because you need childcare immediately. Hold out for the right fit and be clear about your expectations. Spending lots of time writing up your online profiles, or application forms for nanny services, will give your potential employees a clear idea about what you expect. It will also help you decide what role this person will play in your family.

Good luck and remember, be patient… the right person is just an email away.

Ethical Nanny – Vegetarian Recipes for Kids

Working as a nanny is a tough job and keeping your kids full and happy with healthy food is a big part of that job. Being a vegetarian myself, I’m always looking for healthy, quick and yummy recipes. I thought I would share some of my favourites with you.

Hummus

Hummus is a blended dip made with chickpeas. It is high in protein, low in fat and super yummy. It can be eaten with bread, pita or chopped vegetables. It’s also a great spread for sandwiches and toast that adds extra flavour and protein – which is super important for health conscience vegetarians. It’s also really easy to make. Just blend all the ingredients together.

2 cups of canned chickpeas

3 cloves of garlic (you can add less or more depending on how your kids feel about garlic)

3 tbsp of lemon juice

1/2 tbsp of olive oil

2 tbsp of water

1/2 tsp of paprika

1/2 tsp of cumin

Another challenge as a nanny is finding fun and healthy desserts to feed your kids. Here is a great recipe for healthy vegan cookies.

Apple Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are sugar and dairy free and make a great healthy and yummy dessert!

Preheat oven to 350F

In the order shown below, mix together the following ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp of cinnamon

1 cup rolled oats

1.25 cups of unsweetened apple sauce (add extra apple sauce for flatter cookies)

1.5 cups seedless raisins

Place cookies on lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Makes 12 cookies.

That’s all for today!

More healthy recipes to come…

From one nanny to another… Happy healthy baking!

Should I Use a Nanny Agency or Look For a Job Myself?

It is a common question of job hunters: should I try to find a job on my own, or should I apply with a placement agency? And with any job hunt, the answer seems to be the same: it depends on the quality of the agency. This is true of nanny agencies in particular. There are many great companies out there, with reputable and trustworthy employees. But there are also many agencies that will take advantage of your job hunt to make money, regardless of how it effects you or the family you will be caring for. Here are a few tips to remember when choosing a nanny agency:

1) Never pay an agency to find you a job.
In BC and Alberta it is illegal to charge someone to help them find employment. Do not agree to pay an agency fee under any condition. This is especially true of nannies coming from overseas.

2) Look up the agency online.
Enter in the name of the nanny agency to any online search engine and see what comes up. Many agencies have websites, which are worth looking at. Additionally, you will sometimes find news articles about agencies with particularly bad reputations.

3) Look for a referral to an agency from a friend.
If you know someone who works as a nanny ask them what agency helped them find their job. You can also ask former employers which agencies they have used to find nannies. If you don’t know anyone who has a relationship with an agency, ask the agency for a reference. A good nanny agency will have lots of nannies willing to attest to their quality.

4) Avoid nanny agencies that want to send you to several interviews at the same time, because it is likely they are offering the same opportunities to everyone who has applied and has the same availability as you. It is advisable to find an agency that sends you to interviews based on factors besides your weekly availability and this may result in you having less interviews, but you will have a better chance of getting hired. A good nanny agency will pair up nannies and families based on child care philosophy, personality congruence and even sense of humour. Keeping these factors in mind when pairing employer and employee will ensure a great match and a better chance that you will get hired.

Hopefully these tips will help you find a great nanny agency. Good luck job hunting!

Insights on your Internet nanny search

A Google search for “nannies” produces 16,500,000 results. It is, to say the least, quite an intimidating prospect to search for a nanny on the internet.

Most of the sites that result from this search are Agencies advertising their services.

They may offer valuable information but there are certain precautions that should be taken when navigating these sites . Work with sites run by professionals, people with Human Resources or Early Childhood Education training. Look for established companies that have been in existence for at least 5 years. Be cautious of sites with outdated information, like employment tax deduction charts.

You will find database websites that offer access to nanny applications for a fee. Use a site that allows access to the database before you pay a fee. If you are using a site to bring in a nanny from overseas be wary of agencies that claim to have branch offices overseas. Sometimes their agents only interview applicants over the phone or through email while charging them outrageous fees for representation. Local chat rooms are also a helpful place for parents to network and find childcare and other families to nanny share.

You can also try free job banks like BestJobs.com or free classified advertising services like craigslist.com. Be sure to include the ages and number of children to be cared for, start date, hours of work, salary range and a brief job description including any housework, meal preparation and driving required. Ask interested applicants to send resumes by Email.

As daunting as this may seem, it is only the first step towards finding the right caregiver for your family. In my next article I’ll cover resume review and assessment as well as initial telephone interviews.