Hiring the Perfect Nanny

When a family decides to hire someone to care for their child with special needs, they are making an important decision that could have lasting effects on the child and the family as a whole.  When a family engages PFC to assist in this process, we understand the monumental importance of this decision and do our very best to not only offer our support and guidance, but to provide each family with access to some of the best and the brightest special needs caregivers in the industry.  Through our collective experiences, we have learned some of the key aspects of hiring the perfect nanny. 

1.   Ask the Right Questions

Not only should a family ask general questions about the Candidate's past experiences, the family should also ask targeted questions about the family's current dynamics.  The goal of these behavior-specific interview questions is to ascertain how the Candidate will respond to the specific needs of the family.  During PFC's initial interview with the family, our team will help the family develop goals for the Candidate and create specific questions aimed at the family's needs. 

2.  Meet the Children!

Some families prefer to interview Candidates while the children are not around.  While we respect the family's decision, we advise against it.  It is vitally important for each Candidate to spend some quality time with each child and for the parents to observe the Candidate's interaction with the children.  Without having these moments, the parents are potentially setting the Candidate up for failure.  

3. Match the Specific Skills and Training 

Because families choose PFC to assist in their childcare needs, families will interview only candidates that have the specific skills and experiences that match the needs of the child.  If the child has autism, for example, PFC will send the family Candidates who have training in ABA therapy and other developmental modalities.  Even though all Candidates will be fully qualified, families are encouraged to inquire into the Candidates specific training to ensure their needs are met. 

Our Selective Screening Process - What Do We Look For?

When we advertise a position for one of our clients, we contact roughly 10% of the candidates that send us applications.  We are very selective in our screening process and closely scrutinize the qualifications and skills of the professionals that seek to work as a Specialized Nanny through our agency. 

Skills that Stand Out

Depending on the need of our client, we look for the following qualifications when evaluating Candidates:

  1.  Advanced Degrees  - Probably the first qualification we examine is the candidates educational background.  We seek candidates with bachelors and masters degrees in applicable fields such as social work, psychology, child and family development, special education, general education, mental and behavioral disorders, and other relevant fields.  It is our belief that candidates with the appropriate educational background have gained the requisite knowledge to work directly with children who have special needs. 

2. Direct One-On-One Experience  We also look for candidates who have direct experience working one-on-one with children who have special needs.  For example, if the client has a child with autism, we will look for candidates that have worked directly with children who have autism or other similar developmental disorders.  

3. Specialized Training  - Many of our clients have children that require specialized training to care for them. This includes ABA training for children with autism, behavioral intervention training, NVCPI (non-violent crisis prevention intervention training), American Sign Language, and other general behavioral and therapeutic strategies

4. Life Experience  - It is also important to us (and our clients) that candidates have some life experience, whether in the form of studying abroad, travelling, mission work, or some other form of cultural training.  We seek candidates that are well-rounded individuals and have a centered sense of purpose and a passion for working with children who have special needs. 

5. Passion for Working With Children Who Have Special Needs  - Lastly, we seek candidates who have a passion for working with children who have special needs.  We see our mission, and the candidates role as a professional opportunity for individuals with a passion for this kind of work to make a difference in the life of a special child and their family.  Through this passion, we seek to develop long-lasting relationships with all of our candidates and clients. 


Children With ADHD: Tips and Strategies

Caring for a child with ADHD means the Caregiver has to understand the challenges the child faces.  Children with ADHD struggle with executive functioning, which means they struggle with the ability to think and plan ahead, and to control their impulses.  They also are usually less organized and have trouble completing tasks.  As the Caregiver or parent for a child with ADHD, this means you must provide extra guidance for your child and essentially overcompensate for the lack of executive functioning by assisting with extra planning, providing structure, and a way to redirect impulsive choices.

Often times children with ADHD seem like they are just plain ignoring their parents' instruction when actually they haven't "heard" them.  It's important to remember that children with ADHD are very easily distracted.  Thus patients is vital when interacting with a child who has ADHD.  

The most important a Caregiver can do for their child with ADHD is to stay positive and healthy themselves and to keep things in perspective.  Try not to take things personally.  Not only are actions by a child with ADHD usually not intentional, because of their challenges, the children often have no other choice. 

Structure and consistency are of vital importance when caring for a child with ADHD.  Use rewards and consequences the children can understand and ensure the discipline is fair and consistent.  Many children with ADHD like to push boundaries and need to know exactly where they stand with their Caregiver.  If these boundaries and rules are not established, the child with respond negatively.  Don't forget to use positive reinforcement and praise when warranted.     

Caregivers should also schedule regular activities for the child with ADHD.  Encourage healthy play time where the child can use up all his or her energy appropriately.  Because children with ADHD may be susceptible to lower self-esteem, be sure to find an activity that suits their skill set.   

Finally, when winding down the night, we encourage all families to decrease, if not eliminate all electronic activity.  These just act as stimulus for the child and interrupt their sleep cycle. Along with their sleep schedule, we highly recommend Caregivers monitor the food intake of children with ADHD very closely. Get rid of fatty, sugary and junk food.  Offer fruits and veggies daily and you will see a big difference!