Please attribute to Angelica Robison, Children’s Home-Care Expert and Nanny Trainer, Play:Date
According to a recent survey by rise, 95% of children are under care of a nanny and there are 750,000 nannies living and working in the UAE. With such a huge demand to find and hire a great caregiver, you would think the process would be simple and stress-free. Well, think again…
Hiring your first or next nanny can be a frustrating experience, especially when you don’t know where to start!
With 10 years of UK and UAE experience caring for children and training nannies, here are seven tips to consider when hiring a new nanny:
Define The Role
Sometimes, what we want and what we need in terms of childcare support can be very different, which is why we need to think before we employ. A degree of flexibility is required in any job but if you hire a nanny to look after your kids, then constantly change her hours and responsibilities, your nanny may feel unsettled and uncertain about her role and job. Be clear. Decide before you search and hire what exactly the role entails, how many hours are needed, salary, living arrangement and put together a job description which you can share with your nanny.
Where To Look
The best place to search is within your own community or friendship circle. Ask for recommendations or consider nannies who hail from your native country if you have a trusted source or family member who could help you with the process. Posting ads in community shopping centres or Facebook groups such as Mary Poppins Dubai may also help with your search. If time is not on your side, you can choose a reputable agency like Maidcc to do the hard work for you at a one-off fee of around 5,000AED and a monthly salary of 3,500AED+.
Start with a phone call and if you are happy, arrange a second interview in person. You can talk to the candidate about their previous experience, their strengths and why they believe they are the best choice for the role. Arranging the interview alone will give you a clear indication about the reliability and competency of a potential nanny, almost like a mini test. If the nanny is accommodating, keen and punctual, it is a good sign! You could also offer a paid trial for a few days or up to a week depending on the nanny’s visa status. It will give you an insight into their work and both an opportunity to assess whether it’s a suitable fit.
Be Flexible For The Right Person
You will encounter nannies with better experience than others. Some will have worked in the UAE longer, speak good English or Arabic, be able to cook, swim or drive, and even have qualifications. Ideally you will have a salary bracket in mind when hiring, so you have a maximum for the more advanced candidates. The best nannies are in demand, so try to be flexible in term of salary for the person who will care for your baby or children – this is a very important role!
It is not advisable to hire a nanny that doesn’t have previous experience working with babies or children. Ideally, a minimum of 3 references should be provided to you before you proceed to trial and hire. Should you choose a nanny from an agency, request for contact details of the previous employers. Double check, make phone calls and if possible do not accept written references from the selected nanny herself – make sure all written recommendations come directly from the source.
Put It In Writing
To avoid any potential conflicts or uncertainties down the line, a written contract or agreement will ensure you are both on the same page and is highly recommended. An agency should be able to provide one but if you hire independently, you can provide your own.
There are templates available online, but if the specifics of the role are written down, signed by both parties and dated, it should suffice. Read the updated federal laws (http://dubaiofw.com/domestic-workers-ph-uae/) first and make sure to include: working hours, day/s off, job responsibilities, living arrangement, salary, extras provided e.g. food, toiletries, mobile phone, 30 days annual leave, medical insurance, return flight every year, notice period and anything else you feel is important to mention given your requirements.
Train Your Nanny
“Christina came back and showed me all of the material and told me all of the new things she had learnt. Many things we will put into practice at home. She got so much out of the course and really enjoyed her morning” – Francesca, nanny employer and mother to a 19-month old little girl.
Once you’ve found and hired your new nanny, you need to evaluate her pre-existing skills and determine whether she needs a ‘top-up’ or training on specific areas of childcare and safety. For example, CloudNine Kids (www.cloudninekids.ae) are qualified trainers who run home-care courses for nannies including Pediatric First Aid, Health & Hygiene, Behaviour Management, Home Safety and Interaction & Development for caregivers of newborn – 6 years. Courses like these will not only help your nanny but help develop the relationship they have with you and most importantly, your children.