As a single mom, I have been blessed with wonderful nannies who went above and beyond; however, one incident changed the course of my life. I hired an experienced live-in nanny, but on my first business trip, I experienced every mother’s nightmare. When I called the daycare to check on my son, I learned he wasn’t there. I couldn’t reach the Nanny, so I called the police. The police found the nanny and my son safe and sound at home – the nanny had decided to keep my son home but didn’t call me or the daycare. After hearing my son’s voice and knowing he was safe, my initial sense of relief quickly passed. I became frustrated – how did the nanny and I have such a big communication gap?

After sharing this experience with other moms, I realized I wasn’t alone. Families have amazing nanny stories where the nanny helped them be better parents and these same families have times when they struggled with in-home childcare. “I hired someone to help care for my twins, but she kept putting the diapers on backward” shared Amanda Collins, a mother of four in Sarasota, Florida. “I spent more time trying to teach her than getting help with my sons.” Amanda’s not alone as an American Red Cross survey found that 55% of parents decided to stay home because they couldn’t find a trusted nanny or sitter.

Why Parents Struggle to Find Great Nannies

A good friend of mine is a human resource professional who hired hundreds of employees to a fortune 100 global company. When it came time to hire her first nanny, she called me and ask for support. How should resumes and applicants be screened? What questions should be asked? What criteria can help her make the right hiring decision? She has over 15 years of hiring experience in the corporate world and admitted that hiring her first nanny was the most stressful.

Matching the family needs to childcare job titles and levels of responsibility is vital to find the best fit. Families can’t realistically hire Mary Poppins at a babysitter rate so it’s important to help families understand the different types of sitters, nannies, and family assistants. Babysitters provide for the safety of children for several hours, often with the family members nearby and available by phone. Nannies’ responsibilities include preparing meals and supervising activities for the children, but also include scheduling outings and providing additional support such as transporting children to and from school, sports practices, play-dates, and other activities while parents are at their places of employment. While Nannies focus solely on the childcare, Family Assistants perform childcare duties with additional family responsibilities.

Clear Qualifications Benefit Nannies and Families

While there are training programs and state requirements for daycare workers and teachers, no qualifications are required for nannies and sitters. “Licensed childcare certification programs for nannies are vital to help families ensure their children are cared for by qualified persons” shared Dr. Lauren Formy-Duval, a child psychologist and a mom who hires Nannies to help care for her children. “Nannies and Sitters should have access to affordable and high-quality training that not only provide practical skills but also enable a career path, just like teachers and other professionals.”

After a lot of research and meeting with nannies, I discovered an opportunity to provide affordable, college-level training so nannies can learn valuable skills and communication qualifications for premium jobs and higher wages. I founded Amslee Institute, working with over 30 college faculty members including child psychologists, teachers, lawyers, nutritionists, and other experts including professional nannies. Together, we created the first online trade school where nannies earn specialized childcare diplomas and certifications by complete programs licensed by the Department of Education.

All nannies, whether part or full time, should have CPR and First Aid certification and invest in childcare training that teaches age-appropriate growth, development, and activities from newborn through primary years. Nutrition, fitness, health, art, music, and communication courses provide practical skills to help nannies excel as in-home childcare providers. The Professional Childcare Diploma from Amslee Institute provides 45 hours of courses and requires at least 2 years of paid childcare experience. Nannies can also benefit from continuing education programs offered by international Nanny Training Day, the International Nanny Association annual conference, and Nannypalooza.

There are several options for childcare certifications that include in-person and online programs. When looking for a childcare certification program, check the organization is licensed as a post-secondary school. It’s also important to know who authored the training. If needed, see if the program offers job training or placement support.

If you are a parent seeking certified childcare, join our network at www.amsleeinstitute.com/hire-graduates.