Author: Gauri Kshirsagar
One of the advantages of living in India is that we are blessed with ample amount of help and support we get from our domestic help. The deficiency of baby gear we have in India is very well compromised by the availability of good domestic help. In case of twins it becomes quite necessary to have at least one 24 hours or full time nanny. But getting the right one, is a huge task which requires a lot of patience. I suggest start looking for a nanny during the 7th or 8th month of your pregnancy. If you are living in a joint family a day time nanny will suffice.
I had the experience of employing loyal, understanding, good and loving nannies on one side and also arrogant, rash and badly behaved nannies on the other side. Always opt one, keeping in mind the welfare of the twins and hire analyzing both the pros and cons. Always remember no one is perfect and the same applies to the nanny. So try to be compromising in certain other things unrelated to the babies like pay, food etc.
Where to find the nanny?
- Maid Recruiting Agencies:
- Advantages: Replacement is quite quick if the nanny is found unsuitable.
- Very High salary about 17,000 – 18000/month
- Very unreliable, most of the agencies turn out to be a fraud. (Do check reviews & visit online discussion forums for this, you will always find a clue)
- Most of the cases I have read about the mistreatment of the child have been by the help hired from an agency.
- Ask around in friend circles, relatives
- Advantages: Since they are hired through a known reference, they are quite reliable
- Disadvantages:Takes a long time to find one
- Advertise in the newspaper: I have always preferred this method
- I got the maximum inquires for the advertisements in the local newspaper in vernacular language
- Lots of candidates to choose from according to your need and budget
- The salary is fixed by the employer
- Since I managed my twins alone I advertised on a 6 hours/ 12 hours/ 24 hours(full time) nanny and manage the combinations of timings of each one.
- A local newspaper AD costs about 800/day approximately
- Two weekend ADs garnered about 50 calls and 35 interviews in person
- No reference, hence before hiring check on the personal details
- Can leave anytime without notice
- Sometimes take days off without a notice
- ALWAYS CHECK THE CREDIBILITY BEFORE HIRING
If you have decided to advertise and hire the nanny based on interviews, I suggest make a list and note down the details of each regarding:
- Age: younger ladies work better (since the work is physically demanding), but older ladies are more responsible and experienced
- Phone numbers
- Address: Less distance from workplace, will save time
- Pros: e.g. experienced, lives nearby,
- Cons: habits, long distance, arrogant etc.
I have worked up the following questionnaire based on my experiences with the nannies, to be used during the interview:
- What work have you done in the past and where?
- Have you handled twin children in the past?
- What is your family back ground? (information about the spouse, children etc)
- Where are your kids and how old they are? (always prefer a nanny with older children)
- Is there any special responsibility that you need to handle? (like responsible for a sick family member etc)
- Will there be sudden leaves because of any emergency
- If suffering from any chronic illness like diabetes, epilepsy, herpes, etc.
- Are you ready to work at night as well as day? (any problem to wake up if the child is crying)
- You will have to sleep when babies sleep, eat when there is free time from babies. Are you ready for this arrangement?
- Can you stay in Air conditioned room (24 X 7)?
- Is the said pay ok to you?
- How many leaves will you require in a month?
These are some of the duties I gave to the nanny/nannies:
- Playing with kids, keep them entertained
- Changing diapers (Cleaning stools/urine with wet cotton)
- Putting them to sleep without shaking them/throwing or bouncing them in the air.
- Bathing the babies (I never allowed her to do it alone, always helped out)
- To wake up at night if the baby is awake (allowed to sleep in the afternoon when the babies are taking a nap)
- To always keep the play area clean.
- Examination and cleaning of the baby toys every alternate day/twice a week
- Hand washing and use of sterilium after use of the washroom
- If they come down with cold/infection (like herpes simplex) to inform immediately. Need to wear masks compulsory till the time you are infected.
- Inform if any child at their home is sick with cold, diarrhea, chicken pox etc
- Keep the diaper changing station clean and the diaper kit refilled.
Things to be avoided:
- Don’t keep the babies on bed, cot or sofa without supervision.
- Don’t chitchat with other maids/workers/family members & always keep an eye on the twins.
- Don’t feed the babies anything without permission.
- Don’t let babies put anything in mouth.
- Don’t hold the babies by their shoulders or arms
- Don’t excessively shake the babies while putting them to sleep.
- Long nails are strictly forbidden.
- Long hair to be tied in a neat bun. (kids tend to ingest hair lying around)
- Dress with embroidery. Any dress which can potentially cause scratches/injuries to babies to be avoided. Also I asked to avoid glass bangles and finger rings. I usually provided them with simple cotton salwar kameez.
- No Tobacco/’Misry”/any addictions allowed. If cant avoid then should not be done during working hours.
- Avoid indecent behavior/talking back/Anger, try to sort out any issue in a calm way. Assure them of any help required
- Try to hire a 24 hours nanny for the first two years with another one on hourly basis
- Always give the said amount and raise the salary every 3-4 months.
- Never loose your temper, deal patiently.
- Try to Have a CCTV camera in the kids room, it was of extreme help to me.
- Always remember, to train another nanny before the first one leaves.
- Be very firm and particular regarding hygiene, child safety.
- Be firm but not hurtful and offensive. You need them more than they need you
- Always simplify the work and don’t overburden her. Less work means she can concentrate more on the twins.
- Always help out, as much as possible. She should love the work and find it easy.
- ALWAYS ask for copy of a photo identity, an extra photo and contact number of next of kin.
- Do not depend on a single nanny, if you have a job, always prefer two in combination of timings.
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