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need advice re finding a nanny

(28 Posts)
LaSchtroumpfette Sun 30-Aug-09 03:32:33

We have been looking for a part time nanny mainly to help our 2 years old son with his English (he is bilingual but his English is not developing well as we do not speak English at home). 2 different agencies (each has good reputation in Hampshire, where we live) are looking for someone for us at the moment but we have interviewed only 4 nannies yet. They haven't been able to find us a suitable person for months now. Isn't that a long time to find a nanny? One of the agencies said a nanny with their own child would be a better option to improve his language skills but we have don't feel comfortable with that. The other one said mother's help might be better but I won't feel comfortable with a not fully qualified person either I believe.
I just need ideas and advice re what to do. Please help .

LaSchtroumpfette Sun 30-Aug-09 10:05:45


nannynick Sun 30-Aug-09 11:27:22

I had thought there were more nannies looking for jobs, than there were jobs. So I'm surprised the agencies haven't been of much help.

Hampshire - where about in Hampshire, it is a big county and some areas are well populated, whereas other parts are rural. Could it be your location that is making finding a nanny hard?

Times/Days - you say it is a part-time job... what exactly do you mean by that? Is it say 3 days a week, 8am-6pm... or is it a few hours everyday Mon-Fri?

You have interviewed 4 nannies, which isn't that bad actually. Some families only interview two nannies. You only want to be interviewing the highly possible candidates... you don't want to interview every nanny that applies. That is where the agencies come in, helping to screen the applicants providing you with just the ones who meet the job specification as best as possible.

What was wrong with those 4 nannies that you have interviewed?

nbee84 Sun 30-Aug-09 11:48:46

Will you be at home - so the job is not sole charge? To be honest, that will put off a lot of qualified nannies as most will want sole charge positions. The reason the agency will have mentioned Mother's Help is beacause when Mum is at home most nannies will view it as a Mother's Help job even if there isn't any housework involved.

BonsoirAnna Sun 30-Aug-09 11:53:15

Do you speak French at home? If you want your son to learn to speak English well, you are absolutely right to get in an English MT child carer as it is one-on-one conversation with an adult that will help him develop his language skills. Forget the agency's "advice" about another child - at this age, children do not learn language from their peers at all.

Maybe you don't need a proper nanny but an au pair or mother's help? I don't think you need anyone "qualified" so much as chatty and child-loving who wants to play endless games with your DS, take him to the park, swimming etc.

limonchik Sun 30-Aug-09 13:31:56

I agree with nannynick that there may be a mismatch between the role you're offering and the person you want. If you can offer two or three full days a week while you are out of the house, then a qualified nanny may be interested. If you want someone for a few hours every morning while you are at home, most nannies won't want to take it - although in that situation I think the agency might be right that a compromise on a nanny with her own child or children, maybe fitting round school hours, would make you more attractive.

LaSchtroumpfette Sun 30-Aug-09 22:50:25

Hmmm. I understand the reasons better now. Yes we are at home either my husband or me time to time (randomly). We cannot guarantie that nobody will be at home when she starts, maybe this puts them off. We are offering 4 hours 3 times a week and maybe this is another negative factor.
Yes you are quite right, it seems we do not need someone that qualified. However, is there something like english speaking au pair? I was thinking that they come to UK to learn English, isn't that right?
Mother's help is a good idea I think. Would they accept being with the child only (rather than doing housework sometime) for 4 hours 3 times a week.
By the way, nannynick, we live close to Fleet which is in northern part of Hampshire.
Actually we have not been picky in the 4 interviews but we really did not like 2 of them, one of them changed her mind at the last minute and the last one insisted on 16 hours (I think this was agency's mistake not informing the nanny well)

nannynick Sun 30-Aug-09 23:15:50

I know Fleet well, I went to Calthorpe Park School, used to live in Tavistock Road (and Dukes Mead) - have also just driven back from there this evening, as my mum still lives there.

12 hours a week isn't enough for many people to pay their bills. They would probably be needing to match that with another part-time job. It will make it a lot harder to find someone as it isn't going to appeal to that many people.

Where have you tried advertising? Have you put an ad in Martins (I think it's called - or was called years back) - the newsagents near Boots on the High Street?

Calling it a Mothers Help job may be better than calling it a nanny job - due to it not being sole charge. You could emphasise in the ad what some of the duties are, to help get suitable applicants.

LaSchtroumpfette Sun 30-Aug-09 23:26:42

I haven't advertised it yet but planning to do so as nanny agencies have not been very helpful. I'll try putting an add in Martins, thanks for the idea.
Where else can i advertise it to increase our chances?

limonchik Sun 30-Aug-09 23:39:02

I think you can get English speaking au pairs from New Zealand, Australia and Canada, so maybe that's an option.

Would you consider a sixth former or a childcare student from the local college? They might want the extra pocket money and hands-on experience. Something like 3 days after college til bedtime, and a Saturday morning?

nannynick Mon 31-Aug-09 00:16:27 - popular nanny recruitment website. Ads do cost... about £20 I think.

Gumtree in our area is free... but there isn't a gumtree specifically for the area, so you will need to post on both of these:

A college student as Limonchik suggests sounds a good idea, if you are not picky about the time of day that someone is coming. Are you flexible on the timings though, or are you wanting someone for specific times and to do more than teach your son English?

Can I ask why you don't speak English at home? I know some bilingual families who have decided that mum will speak English, dad will speak French/German/Dutch etc.

nannynick Mon 31-Aug-09 00:23:00

Sometimes you will come across adverts on Gumtree which are in the wrong section - such as Work Wanted ads on the Nanny Jobs section.
Spotted someone wanting a Mothers Help position in the Fleet area.

LaSchtroumpfette Mon 31-Aug-09 01:51:12

These are great ideas, thanks very much.
I will phone that lady you spotted nannynick. Actually a college student is a perfect idea too. Do you know how I can reach those students? By advertising in a noticeboard type of thing local college?
We tried but found it very difficult to speak English with him and unnatural. I still do it sometimes but feel uncomfortable.

BonsoirAnna Mon 31-Aug-09 09:53:25

Why don't you look for a mother who wants a part-time job while her children are at school, and actually specify that it is a English language learning job rather than general domestic help? I would have thought that lots of mothers looking for a part-time income would like that!

BonsoirAnna Mon 31-Aug-09 09:54:14

nannynick - it is not good practice to speak anything other than your own mother-tongue with your child smile

loobylu3 Mon 31-Aug-09 10:10:23

I was going to suggest gumtree as well, local newsagents and also advertising on the notice boards at the local primary schools. Asking neighbours/ colleagues in the area is also worthwhile as they might know someone suitable. I don't think an agency is the best place to search (as well as being very expensive) as they will mainly be approached by qualified nannies wanting full time jobs! You probably just want a caring mother or college student looking for part time work. I think it would be a dream job for a mum! Good luck.

BonsoirAnna Mon 31-Aug-09 10:12:04

The more I think about this, the more I think you are really barking up the wrong tree by trying to recruit a nanny or mother's help.

If you want someone to help your DS learn English, that is another job description and will appeal to quite different candidates.

LaSchtroumpfette Mon 31-Aug-09 10:42:12

I think you are right, and at the moment I feel a college student would be the best as DS loves young girls and gets along with them very well.
BTW what should I call job's name? "English teacher for a toddler" sounds funny

limonchik Mon 31-Aug-09 11:04:28

I would contact your nearest college that does childcare courses (Farnborough?) and ask to speak to the person who runs those courses directly - they might even be able to suggest a couple of students who live near you.

nannynick Mon 31-Aug-09 11:20:10

FCOT (Farnborough) runs Childcare courses.
You could try getting in touch with the Careers Advisor / Connexions Advisor at the Learning Resource Centre - 01252 407445 or email:

Thinking out-of-the-box a bit... what is the other language your DS knows? I wonder if someone who is a native English speaker who is studying that language could work... as they could teach your DS English, and your DS could still revert to the other language at times if needed and you could talk to them in the language. Court Moor Adult Education run language courses... they may know of a language student who wants to practice a bit of the language by interacting with you, while teaching your son English.

nannynick Mon 31-Aug-09 11:26:51

~~~ Example Advert For Newsagents Window ~~~

E n g l i s h S p e a k e r W a n t e d

Can You Teach My Toddler Some Basic English?
Can You Take My Toddler to the park?

Hours: 4pm-6pm, Tue, Wed, Thurs
(or let me know what days/times you could do... we are quite flexible)

Pay: £20 per session.

Call LaSchtroumpfette on 01252 xxxxxx or
email - LaSchtroumpfette@email.address


Could be worth a try. Modify to suit your requirements.

LaSchtroumpfette Mon 31-Aug-09 12:39:54

nannynick, thank you very much this is so helpful. I will put the ad tomorrow.
Also, I have just written to LRC at FC to ask help.
I am now preparing a similar ad for gumtree.
Hopefully we'll find someone soon. I want this happen asap because I want him at least to understand English better before he starts nursery or preschool. He'll learn the rest there I think.

nannynick Mon 31-Aug-09 14:15:21

I could do it on Sat/Sun/Mon - if that is of any help.

LaSchtroumpfette Mon 31-Aug-09 16:28:25

nannynick, that would be lovely but during the weekends we really want to spend all our time with him uninterrupted. Thanks for your offer anyway.

nannynick Mon 31-Aug-09 16:35:11

That's what I had thought... I've seen your Gumtree advert, you've worded that well so with luck you will get some interest from locals.

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