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25 Rules for Hiring a Nanny by Tasha Blaine, author of Just Like Family. The Babble List on Babble.com.

DON’T skimp on the Christmas bonus. If there is one time of year the streets in your neighborhood are buzzing, it’s post-Christmas. Nannies will ask other nannies about bonuses and if you cheap out, she will feel embarrassed in front of peers and unappreciated by you.

DO evaluate the interview later. Did it feel like a question-and-answer session or a conversation? You need to have natural, easy interactions with your nanny. If she held back or only said what you think she wanted you to hear, she’s probably not right. If she was blunt, had a sense of humor and asked to meet your child, she might be just who you’re looking for.

DO set up regular performance reviews. A review once or twice a year is a great idea for nannies. Working inside a home can be isolating and frustrating. Nannies appreciate being taken seriously, and a review is a good way to emphasize that they are professionals doing a job.

DO accept this is a learning process. Expect to make mistakes when you hire a nanny. You might discover the relationship is too intense for you and look for day care instead. You might realize experience is more important to you than education and you made the wrong choice. It’s not worth beating yourself up. Take it as a lesson learned.

DO over-prepare for the interview. You can’t have too many questions. Read everything you can get your hands on about nannies and interviews. Clarify what is important to you and consider your style of parenting. There are lots of questions you can find online covering everything from discipline to handling emergencies to whether the nanny prefers spending time inside playing or keeping busy with outside activities.

DON’T micromanage. Nobody likes a boss breathing down her neck, and nannies are no exception. Check in with her and ask your children questions. But as your trust in your nanny builds, step back and let her do her job. She might not do everything as you would, but if your child is happy and healthy and safe, that’s just fine.

DO praise her. Being a nanny is a tough job that carries very little status. Some encouragement and praise will go a long way toward boosting her morale. If you think that your life couldn’t run as smoothly without your nanny, or that she’s done a great job handling your son’s tantrums, make sure to let her know.

DO assume the nanny is observant. If there is one thing nannies hate, it’s when people think they’re too stupid to pick up on clues. Your nanny is fully aware of everything going on in your home. She knows you’re pregnant again, that you’re moving to the suburbs, or that your child is having trouble in school. Try not to keep secrets for too long especially ones that affect her job.

DON’T expect Superwoman. Yes, the nanny is paid to do a job, but don’t have unreasonable expectations. If you have trouble shopping with your two children and lugging the groceries into your home, so will she. If you want her to play with your child, read to him and go to the playground, don’t be surprised when the laundry isn’t folded at the end of the day.

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