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The Nanny Search

A holistic approach to finding the perfect caregiver for your family.

The Nanny Search

Trusting someone to care for your child is not easy. Between the horror stories you hear from friends or on the news, and your own personal struggles to separate from your little ones, the process of finding the right nanny is complex to say the least.

My own nanny search began when my grandmother, who watched my son twice a week, headed south this winter. After much consideration (and anxiety, fear and finally acceptance), I realized I needed a nanny. This would be the first time an outsider would be caring for him, and although I could read every how-to-pick-a-nanny article out there, I preferred a holistic approach to find that one person who would offer support, empathy and compassion for me and my baby. It turned out that all I had to do in order to be most comfortable was simply trust my instincts.

FEATURED VIDEO

Here’s a few tips to guide your own nanny search.

  1. Think about what you want. When it came to what I was looking for, the long list of adjectives continued to grow, priorities jumbled in my mind. When I was able to focus and go within, the drive to be comforted by her smile started to resonate. Since I was searching for a nanny online, I had solved the first step – look only at profiles that had a picture. Yes, I started my nanny selection based on what she looked like. It felt as if I was on a match.com hunt to finding my spouse, (which coincidentally was a much easier task than this nanny thing), but if I didn’t have a visceral reaction to her smile, I wasn’t interested. Next!

  1. Set priorities and let them guide you. My son is 17 months old. He is in everything. He is running before he can walk straight. He is lifting heavy objects; he is falling, he is shoveling handfuls of food into his mouth. He is a (delicious) wildman! I needed to feel confident that whoever came into our home had the ability to handle an emergency situation, safely and calmly. I clearly noted on my profile I was looking for someone who has, or is willing to receive, CPR/First Aide training. This was a non-negotiable.

  1. Be selective! Since I was searching online, I paid attention to grammar and how much effort it appeared they had taken on creating their profile, if their words exuded passion. I wasn’t looking for a kid to babysit. I was looking for someone to have a vested interest in the growth of my child.

  1. Create an interview strategy that just…feels…right. My strategy wasn’t something I constructed, rather something that revealed itself along the way. Those that made the cut went through the following process:
    1. Email correspondence. Once she passed this test there was the…
    2. Phone interview. I dominated this to see how she would react. This wasn’t a part of the process for her to shine; it was a part that allowed me to see how she could handle an overwhelming mama and to get a sense of her responses to my childrearing philosophies.
    3. In-person interview. This was her moment. I wanted to see that smile in person. I wanted to feel the immediate response it invoked in me. I wanted to hear about who she was outside of watching children (which more times than not completely threw them off guard). I wanted to get a sense that we could coexist since I am a very attentive mama who works from home. I needed to feel her energy, her comfort, her radiance and ultimately her security. If all of these things passed that very strong mama intuition, she went on to the fourth step of…
    4. Meeting my child. At the end of the day, the nannies I invited to meet him had passed all of my tests; it would be he who would have the ultimate decision. He is his own person, he is very intuitive, and I knew I would get a sense not only from him, but also from my mama gut, who would be the right nanny to join our family.

Only two nannies made it through every step. I called the references, more so to be able to say I did. Watching these young ladies interact with my child, and in turn my child interact with them was all the proof I needed. My grandmother stayed in the room as I intermittently left to deal with “work” as I wanted to see his reaction to me not being there, and subsequently their reaction to his potential meltdown. Seeing them engaged, watching how the possible nanny worked with him, followed his cues, stayed in tune with him, delivered me the comfort that only watching my child with his new nanny could provide.

Once both final interviews concluded, it was very clear who we were to hire. My child responded strongly to both, but one stood out. Luckily for me, it was the same nanny that had set everything immediately inside me at ease.

If there's one thing I learned along the way, it's that just because an expert offers a suggestion, I do not need to conform myself into doing it their way. And same goes for you! If there's one thing you can take from me, it's to trust yourself, listen to your heart, and set that mama intuition free!

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In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

    Our Partners

    This post is brought to you by Staples. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

    One of the biggest changes in my household once my daughter started homeschooling was that, suddenly, everything and everyone in our home had to start pulling double duty. While I was used to wearing a lot of hats (mom, wife and WFH employee, to name a few), suddenly our dining room was also pulling shifts as a classroom. My laptop was also a virtual teacher. Our living room hutch was also a school supply closet.

    If I didn't want my home to be overrun with an abundance of clutter, I had to find products that could multitask. Here are 10 products that are saving this WFH + homeschooling mama right now.

    Stylish storage cabinet

    Whether I need a place to keep the printer or just want to keep crayons and colored pencils organized, this pretty cabinet provides a mixture of exposed and hidden storage without clashing with my living room decor.

    White board calendar + bulletin board

    With so much on our plates these days, I need a visual reminder of our daily schedule or I'll forget everything. This dry erase version makes it easy to keep track of Zoom meetings and virtual classes—and I also love using the corkboard to display my daughter's latest work from art class.

    Natural Recycled 3-Ring Binder

    From tracking our curriculum progress to organizing my family's paperwork, I can never have enough binders. Even better, this neutral version is pretty enough that I can display them on the bookshelf.

    Bamboo storage drawers

    The instant you start homeschooling, it can feel like you're suddenly drowning in papers, craft supplies and more. Fortunately, these simple bamboo drawers can be tucked into the cabinet or even displayed on top (seriously, they're that cute!) to keep what we need organized and close at hand.

    Laminated world map

    I love this dry-erase map for our geography lessons, but the real secret? It also makes a cute piece of wall decor for my work space.

    Rolling 7-drawer cabinet

    When you're doing it all from home, you sometimes have to roll with the punches—I strongly recommend getting an organizational system that rolls with you. On days when both my husband and I are working from home and I need to move my daughter's classes to another room, this 7-drawer cabinet makes it easy to bring the classroom with us.

    Letterboard

    From our first day of school photo to displaying favorite quotes to keep myself motivated, this 12"x18" letterboard is my favorite thing to display in our home.

    Expandable tablet stand

    Word to the wise: Get a pretty tablet stand you won't mind seeing out every day. (Because between virtual playdates, my daughter's screen time and my own personal use, this thing never gets put away.)

    Neutral pocket chart

    Between organizing my daughter's chore chart, displaying our weekly sight words and providing a fits-anywhere place to keep supplies on hand, this handy little pocket chart is a must-have for homeschooling families.

    Totable fabric bins

    My ultimate hack for getting my family to clean up after themselves? These fabric bins. I can use them to organize my desk, store my oldest's books and even keep a bin of toys on hand for the baby to play with while we do school. And when playtime is over, it's easy for everyone to simply put everything back in the bin and pop it in the cabinet.

    Looking for study solutions for older children? Hop over to Grown & Flown for their top picks for Back to School.

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