I receive many requests from people who would like help finding a "RIE Nanny", and occasionally from a nanny looking for a great family. Someday, I will develop a brain of a high enough order to internally index all these requests and match people. While we are waiting for that evolution, here are some tips for finding a nanny that will suit your family.
It is often hard to find a nanny already trained in Magda Gerber's Educaring® Approach, but that doesn't mean you can't find an excellent nanny and train her yourself. You can stack the cards in your favor by being on the lookout for certain qualities during interviews.
1. A Peaceful Person
Does the nanny have a peaceful attitude and a positive outlook on life? The Educaring® Approach is built on the underlying assumption that people are inherently good. A caregiver with a negative view of humanity, instability in her lifestyle, or a frantic, high-energy attitude will be less suited to this Approach.
2. Meets Your Baby Gently Does the nanny put herself in the baby's face as soon as they meet, with overstimulating attention and adult-initiated games? Or does she patiently give the baby space to greet her and follow the baby's cues? This first moment says a lot about her personality and the way she shows respect for children.
If your baby seems comfortable enough, it's a good idea to give the potential nanny a chance to handle the baby during the first interview. A nanny well suited to this Approach will handle the baby with confidence, joy, mindful movement, and unusual gentleness.
3. Shares Your Values It's very helpful to make a list of the things about the way you parent that are most important to you before the first interview. This might include the aspects of the Educaring® Approach you resonate with the most. Which parts of the Approach are the most essential to you: free movement, following the child's cues for eating, empathetic listening, a specific way of setting limits...? When you interview the nanny, ask her how she would handle certain challenging situations. "What would you do if my baby was crying for a long time and you didn't know why?" is a great baseline question. The nanny you choose will become a member of your caregiving team, a member of your family. A high level of value alignment is essential for success.
Also be sure to check out more general guides for finding a qualified, safe nanny, like this one.
4. Willingness to Learn
It's not necessary for your nanny to already be familiar with the Educaring® Approach, but it is necessary that she be willing to learn. Help her know what to expect by bringing up the possibility of training her in this Approach in the interview. See how she responds to the idea of being trained. Some people with many years of experience caring for children are set in their ways. You are looking for someone who is flexible in her approach and excited to learn more about how to be a great caregiver.
Once you've found a nanny you adore, there are many ways to increase her skill set.
The RIE® website sells many books that are helpful for nannies, such as:
There are a few books on audiobook if that better suits her style of learning:
I also recommend watching some of the RIE® videos with your nanny and discussing them together.
3. One-on-One Training
There are some professionals, such as myself, that will help train your nanny in basic principles of respectful care as part of home visits and consultations. This training is individualized to your family's needs in terms of time spent and the topics discussed.
4. The RIE® Foundations Course
For a truly in-depth level of training, you can send your nanny to a RIE® Foundations Course. These courses are offered regularly in 2 week sessions in Los Angeles and periodically throughout the country and the world. The Foundations course provides a complete overview of Magda Gerber's Educaring Approach and is an excellent way to train a top-notch caregiver.
It is customary for you to pay your nanny's hourly wage during any training and to pay for any books or courses. These expenses can seem daunting for a person you are just getting to know, but they are worth it for the peace of mind that comes from knowing your nanny is on board with your style of raising your child.