Mama Stuff The Mothership

How to choose a nanny

Not all mamas can stay home after their little one’s birth. Having someone you can rely on when your are not there is super important – but where do you even start? We chatted to Tania from Village Nannies.



When looking for a nanny, you need to make sure that she is able to speak English or Afrikaans well, so that there won’t be any misunderstandings or miscommunication. Your child will also need to understand her as well as her understanding what he/she is trying to say. She also needs to be literate, so that she can read to your child, she can read messages, leave you messages and keep a diary of your baby’s routine. It is important to have a nanny that can stimulate your child, at whatever age he is. She should know some nursery rhymes and action songs, she should enjoy sitting and playing with your child and be happy to run around in the garden playing, when your child is a toddler. Common sense is very important and a basic knowledge of how to sterilize and heat a bottle, put a child to sleep, feed a baby and change a nappy etc. She should also know about hygiene, washing hands and some basic first aid. Most important is her personality. Will she fit into your home, is she loving and gentle with your child, does she have a sense of humour? Do you feel comfortable with her, or is she too loud/ too quiet? You must follow your instincts!


What are the most important questions to ask during the interview process?


You can see guidelines and  a full interview sheet on the Village Nannies website. It is recommended to cover the applicant’s travel costs when she is coming for an interview.


When discussing payment – what would be the going rate for a nanny? Would that include travel expenses? What would determine a higher salary?


We recommend a salary  of between R3500 and R5000 per month for a 40 to 45 hour week. The salary depends partly on what the nanny was earning in her previous job and partly on her experience and qualifications. Generally that does include travel expenses. You can also look at more salary ranges here.


Let’s chat contracts – is a contract necessary and why?


A contract is definitely necessary so that both the nanny and the employer know their rights as well as their obligations. A contract minimises misunderstandings and also makes the nanny feel more secure in her job.


In your experience – what would be the best classes or training for your nanny?


I recommend Sugar and Spice Nanny Training as it is a course that runs over a 4 week period, once a week, which gives the nanny a chance to go to work in between classes where she can practice what she has learnt that week, answer her homework questions  and see if she has any questions of her own to ask the following week. I think it is also easier for the employers to manage without their nanny one afternoon a week rather than 3 days in a row. The training course includes a module on First Aid.


Tell us about your services and what you offer your clients.


We speak to the nanny’s references first, and only then do we interview them if we are satisfied with their verbal reference. We also insist on a written reference so that we can cross check. We do an in depth interview so that we can get a good feel about the nanny. We do not keep any nannies on our books if we are not completely happy with them.

We are always available to talk to our clients on the phone, to reassure them and explain the process and answer any questions or concerns that they have. We send three nannies to their home for them to interview. If they are not happy with the first three, we then send more, until they find one lady that they really like. We then insist on a trial period of five days so that both the nanny and the employer can see if they get along and if everything works well. If they are both happy, then I go to the client’s home, where I sit for about 1 ½ hours with nanny and employer and go through the contract, explaining everything to both of them. I also give a little financial advice to the nanny and offer plenty of tips and suggestions to make the relationship work better. I explain how UIF works and provide the necessary forms as well as a template for a payslip. I also explain about Domesticare, which is a healthcare fund for domestics.


How does payment work – is it a monthly fee or a once-off fee when placed with your dream nanny?


It is only when both client and nanny are completely happy with each other that we ask for payment. We charge a once-off fee of 10% of the nanny’s annual salary. Once this is paid, the client gets a three month warranty period, during which we will replace the nanny, free of charge, if anything goes wrong.


Would you recommend hiring a nanny for a trial period and why?


I would definitely recommend that you start with a trial period when hiring a new nanny. It can be a week or a month, but it will give you time to see if she is good with your child, follows instructions, cleans well and generally has a pleasant disposition. It will also give the nanny time to see if she can easily get to work punctually, if she feels comfortable in your home and if she can cope with whatever you need her to do.


Any tips for parents looking for a nanny – where do you even start?


I would suggest to parents looking for a nanny, to start with their family and friends to see if anyone has an available nanny that they highly recommend. If that doesn’t work, definitely try an agency as that will save you weeks and weeks of interviewing and the agency can help with the contract as well and you should be able to discuss any concerns that you have and get advice.

Village Nannies is run by Tania Schrire and Jacky Amato. They opened their doors in 2003 and have been finding families the perfect nanny ever since!

Tania Schrire / Jacky Amato
Contact: 021 671 2249
Cell:       083 343 7580

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