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  1. Article
    There is a lot to consider when hiring a nanny. Interviewing, screening and selecting potential nanny candidates can be a daunting task, but it is an important part of finding a nanny that is a good fit with your family. Try to use open-ended questions that will prompt for informative answers, such as questions starting with: What? When? Why? How? Where? Or tell me about… This will avoid getting yes and no answers. Experience and background: Look for a nanny who has experience working in a position similar to what you are hiring them for. Finding someone who has experience working with multiple families will ensure they are familiar with adjusting to the needs of your family. Ask for a resume and have them include at least three family references. Sample questions should include: Tell me about your educational background. Do you have any formal early childhood development or childcare training? How long have you been a nanny? 2. Nanny and philosophy/approach: Make sure a nanny’s philosophy about childcare is in line with yours. Discipline is an area that needs to be discussed up front to avoid any differences of opinion on how children should be disciplined. You need to know your candidate is in the field for all the right reasons, and enjoys children. Important questions to ask are: Why did you choose a nanny career? Why do you like being a nanny? What do you think are the qualities needed to be a good nanny? 3. Your requirements: Make sure the nanny’s approach to work lines up with your own requirements. Your ideal candidate should be someone who has similar values, goals and work ethic to your own. Key questions should include: Are you familiar with the neighborhood? What is your philosophy on food and snacks? What is your flexibility with scheduling? 4. Additional considerations: Give the candidates some time to spend with your child in home. We also suggest families schedule a working interview with finalist candidates. Are they attentive? Do they keep your children engaged? Your observations matter a great deal when you finally make decision. A few good questions are: Are they comfortable holding and/or speaking to your child? Was the nanny pleasant and have a positive and upbeat personality? Are you able to communicate easily and effectively with each other? Doing your homework and asking questions that are important to you and your family will make selecting the nanny that much easier. If you allow these questions to guide your interview process, you will find a great match in no time at all.
  2. Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, a work-at-home mom or dad, or even a full-time working one with regular childcare, with holidays and conference season upon us, we all need extra help from time to time. Here’s a quick list of places in the city that offer last-minute and/or part-time services. The Nook (Bucktown and South Loop) This full-service daycare allows non-member parents to book absent children’s open spots via an online app, which is regularly updated until 6 a.m. day-of. There is currently no smartphone app, but rumor has it that could soon become available as interest in the program grows. Pros: Easy-to-use online app for scheduling; half- and full-day options; reasonable prices Cons: Limited availability for last-minute drop-ins; better to book well in advance if you know you’ll need the help K Grace Specializing in part-time childcare, K Grace serves many nurses, artists, photographers and others with non-traditional and/or flexible work schedules. Parents also use the service for last-minute sitters to run errands, finish some work or otherwise fill in the gaps. Bookings are made through an online calendar system up to 48 hours in advance (although K Grace staffers try to honor last-minute requests via an after-hours phone number), and the sitter is matched based on availability, experience and ability to meet special needs. Pros: Highly vetted, CPR-certified sitters (over 1,000 on file) available same-day for last-minute needs; nights and weekend help available; high success rate for last-minute requests within a few hours Cons: Complex pricing structure, which becomes more affordable the more you use the service; must pay sitter separately Bright Horizons (various locations) This nationwide daycare offers employer-subsidized backup childcare, including both drop-offs at the various centers or in-home help. Many clients take advantage of their own or their spouse’s benefits when they know schools will be closed or need someone at the last minute. Pros: Subsidized last-minute care year-round; facilities across the country for use while traveling with children Cons: Only available for those with employer-provided backup-care benefits; limit on number of days available for the services

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