The first thing I do when I’m interviewing a new nanny or babysitter is to give them a home tour. Why? Because the home tour helps establish my expectations, how I want our relationship to work and gives the nanny or babysitter a realistic preview of the job.
When people ask me how I always end up with the best babysitters, I always go back to the home tour I conducted during our very first meeting. In this post, I share my 3 compelling reasons to give nannies or babysitters a home tour.
3 Compelling Reasons to Give Nannies or Babysitters a Home Tour
First, showing all of your home is important because, after-all, it is the job site. Often, babysitters and nannies get hired without ever seeing the entire home. But consider this… if you don’t give them a tour of your house, the nanny or babysitter is just forced to navigate (or snoop) through it on their own anyway as they do their job and that never feels good.
Second, the home tour is not just a show – it is a show and tell. You are setting expectations.
Example: “Let me show you the laundry room. Now, let me tell you about how I handle laundry here and what I need you to do to help me“.
Often just walking in a room with a new nanny will trigger many thoughts you have about job expectations. Think about how you use each room and space in your home. To be effective, good nannies must get to know your home and master your systems.
If you do the show and the tell, you can leave the babysitter or nanny in charge of your home and children with confidence. They will know where the Shop-spot carpet cleaner is if the dog throws up. They will know where you want them to put a dirty diaper. They will know where you keep bed linens. They will know that the garage door button sticks and they have to press hard to get it to close. Knowing all the little details of your home equip them to be invaluable to your family.
Third, use the tour to verify that the nanny is up to the job. This means you are asking questions. See how the tour turns into the interview? Certain rooms of the house lend themselves perfectly to certain questions. Here are some examples:
In the mudroom: “I need you to make sure the kids put their shoes away. You don’t need to do it for them, but you need to make sure it gets done. How would you go about getting them to do it?”
In the kitchen: “I don’t like coming home to a sink full of dirty dishes. I need babysitters and nannies to tidy up especially after meals. Are you ok with washing dishes and starting the dishwasher as needed?” (At this time, I would show them how to use the dishwasher and where I keep the Cascade)
In the bathroom: “Worst case scenario in the bathroom is an overflowing toilet. Could you handle something like this if it happened?”
If you’ve covered these situations with your nanny, the chances are good that they will know the way you want them handled when/if they do occur. Plus, it’s a heck of a lot easier to ask for help with laundry or dishes or garbage right out of the gate, than to tack it onto the job description without a pay increase four weeks later. Which reminds me, don’t forget to watch their reactions as you verify their willingness to do each task.
In previous posts, I’ve talked about putting together a Job Preview Guide (JPG) for new babysitters and nannies. The bulk of that guide, is written instructions and information for every room in your house. Before I begin my home tour, I hand out the JPG and that helps to structure the tour and also jog my memory about the important things I want to review.
Even without a JPG, everyone should do a home tour with their babysitter or nanny as part of the interview process. Incidentally, have you ever gotten paid to interview for a job? I haven’t and I bet you haven’t either. Most good jobs require multiple interviews, job site tours, drug tests, etc. All these steps take time, but candidates are not paid for them.
When I have a nanny come to my house for the interview and I conduct the home tour, I do not pay them for that time. But, I do respect their time by being prepared, organized and keeping the whole thing to 40 – 60 minutes.
By conducting the home tour, you save money and time by not rushing through a home tour during their first day on the job. You know they have been informed of everything they need to be a great nanny in your home.