One of the most common questions among UAE families is: “How do I find a good nanny?” Not only does she help you take care of your family, but a nanny becomes part of it. So ensuring you’ve chosen the perfect one is essential.
According to a recent survey by rise, a social platform that helps low-income migrant workers manage their finances, 95 percent of kids in the UAE are under the care of a nanny and there are 750,000 nannies living and working here. With such huge demand to find and hire a great caregiver, the whole process can seem daunting and overwhelming.
Kids’ home care expert Angelica Robinson of Play:Date has ten years of experience in caring for children and training nannies in both the UK and the UAE. She says that when searching for the right fit, clarity is key. “Sometimes, what we want and what we need in terms of childcare support, can be very different. That’s is why we must make an informed decision. A degree of flexibility is required in any job, but if you hire a nanny to look after your kids, and then constantly change her hours and responsibilities, she may feel unsettled and uncertain about her role and job,” she says.
Consider the requirements
The first thing to keep in mind is to be clear. Consider what the role entails before you search and hire. Think of the number of hours that will be required, the salary and living arrangements. Only then should you start putting together a job description that you can later share with your nanny. “The best place to search is within your own community or friendship circle,” Robinson says. “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 shopping centres or Facebook groups may also help, but if time isn’t on your side, you can choose a reputable agency to do the hard work for you, for a one-off fee of around Dhs5,000 and a monthly salary of Dhs3,500.”
The interview process
So what do you talk about in the interview? Start with a phone call, and if you’re happy, arrange a second interview in person. You can chat with the candidate about their previous experience, strengths, and why they believe they’re the best choice for the role.
“You’ll 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 and drive. Ideally, you’ll 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 terms of salary for the person who will care for your kids,” Robinson advises.
The importance of experience
Words like “qualifications” make us wonder about references, as they’re certainly something that would make us feel even more comfortable. Experts say it’s not advisable to hire a nanny who doesn’t have previous experience working with babies or children. Ideally, a minimum of three references should be provided before you proceed to trial and hire. Should you choose a nanny from an agency, request the contact details of past employers. Once you’re happy, it’s contract time. “To avoid any potential conflicts or uncertainties down the line, a written contract or agreement will ensure you’re both on the same page and is highly recommended,” Robinson says.
Training your new nanny
Once you’ve hired your new nanny, you need to evaluate her pre-existing skills and determine whether she needs training on specific areas of childcare and safety. There are so many topics you may not even have considered, such as courses to develop the relationship they have with you and, most importantly, your kids. Enrolling them into a programme could benefit you, your family and your nanny’s future.
Agencies to try: Savoir Vivre, www.elite-housekeeping.com; Nannies Dubai, www.nanniesdubai.com; Service Market, www.servicemarket.com; Urban Housekeeping, www.urbanhousekeeping.com.
THREE TOP NANNY TRAINING AGENCIES
The one-day Paediatric Emergency First Aid course has been designed to teach basic life support for child and infants.
Dhs472.50 per person. Group rates available. www.firstaid.ae (04 343 3799).
Health & Safety Solutions
There’s a Paediatric First Aid course developed for nannies and Emergency Paediatric Response training.
Dhs360 per course, Dhs650 both courses. www.hss-me.com (04 368 9980).
Qualified trainers run home-care courses, which cover everything from paediatric first aid to home safety and interaction with newborns.
Dhs2,000 (class-based), Dhs3,000 (home-based). www.cloudninekids.ae (055 321 5437).