Whether your child has a medical condition like diabetes that requires careful monitoring, or is super intense and requires non-stop interaction, choosing the right childcare provider for your high needs child is essential to ensuring his happy and healthy development.
For parents of high needs children, daycare is usually out of the question. The idea of having to force their child to adapt to the schedule, routine and environment of center based care is a less than desirable one for many parents. Choosing a care provider whom parents can handpick to provide customized and individualized care in the family’s private home is almost always the best childcare option for high needs children.
But before you embark on your nanny search, it’s important to consider your child’s specific care needs and the type of provider you think would work best with your family. As you consider the qualifications, experience and personality type of your ideal nanny candidate, ask yourself these 10 questions.
1. Do I require the nanny to have previous experience caring for a high needs child?
Depending on your child’s needs, you’ll need to determine if you require your nanny candidate to have previous experience caring for children with similar needs or if you’re willing to educate and supply her with the information required to provide care for your child.
2. Does the nanny have to have a certain level of education or specialized training?
While all nannies should have current CPR and first aid certification, if your child has a medical condition you may prefer to look for a candidate who has a background in nursing or who has completed specialized training, like medication administration coursework.
3. How many years of childcare experience must the nanny have?
Your child’s care needs may determine how much experience you wish a nanny to have. When hiring a nanny for a high needs child, you want to be sure the nanny completely understands the general role and responsibilities and genuinely enjoys caring for children in their home environment, so that you are able to build a long-term employment relationship.
4. What special skills must the nanny have?
Depending on your child’s needs and interests, you may wish to consider if the nanny must have special skills. A child with autism who uses technology extensively would benefit from having a tech savvy nanny, for example.
5. What personality type does my child tend to gravitate towards?
Consider the type of people your child is generally attracted to. Does he enjoy being around the chatty, excitable type or does he feel safer when around those who are quiet and reserved? Choosing a caregiver who your high needs child will be compatible with is important.
6. Can I clearly articulate the needs of my child?
When it comes to your child’s needs, you don’t want to leave a nanny with any surprises. Consider what the day to day care of your child involves by mapping out what your day looks like. Be sure to include any tasks or duties that may not be typical nanny duties, like checking blood sugar after meals, in your job description.
7. Will the nanny be involved with my child’s medical care plan?
Will your nanny be responsible in executing any part of your child’s medical care plan? Does she need to supervise or assist with therapeutic exercises? Does she need to monitor food intake or test blood sugar levels? Consider the role your nanny would need to play in your child’s care plan and be sure to present the information to your candidate during the interview process.
8. Are there non childcare duties that would be required of my nanny?
Will your nanny be responsible for meeting with doctors or therapists? Does she need to do anything specific around the house outside of typical nanny duties? Is there a service pet your nanny needs to help care for? Be sure to paint a clear picture of any non childcare related duties your nanny would have to perform.
9. What would the nanny have to be cautious of around our child?
Is your child allergic to specific foods that your nanny would be required not to eat before coming to work? Are their detergent scents that irritate him and are banned from the household? Does your child have a behavioral issue your nanny will need to closely monitor? During the interview process you’ll want to disclose any special considerations that will help your nanny do her job well.
10. What is my ideal nanny candidate’s profile?
Write down a description of your ideal nanny candidate. Include her educational profile, how much experience you wish her to have, any special skills you hope she has and what her personality is like. Keep your candidate wish list handy and refer to it often as you screen potential nannies.
There’s a nanny for every family and a family for every nanny. Finding the right match in any nanny situation, especially one involving a high needs child, is crucial to having a successful long-term placement.