“The naïve believes everything, but the prudent man considers his steps.” – Proverbs 14:15
It’s really hard to find a good yaya (nanny) nowadays.
I see many parents today destroy themselves in the effort to find one. I understand because my husband, TJ, and I used to be one. Scarcity and desperation had driven us to clumsily adopt the wrong way to find a caregiver for our son. We have been influenced more by our limitations and pressing jobs rather than by God’s Word and dumbed down to accept far less than the best for our child.
Historically, and sadly, the only criteria we had used before were referral and availability. Whoever’s there and knows at least one person from our friends or relatives, we hire. But this route only lead us to disappointments and inconvenience. As a consequence, my son, Kage, had been babysat by eight people (5 hired and 3 fillers) already within just 20 months!
We are thankful, nonetheless, for each of those yayas we hired. From them, we learned how to receive God’s best and pay closer attention to His instructions on how to hire and manage people.
The decision for hiring our children’s yaya is one of the most crucial things we should not take for granted and we should prioritize as mothers. I wish saying that is actually as easy as finding a good one.
But as Christians, we have to trust that His timing is best and that He has everything under control.
Before anything, seek for God’s help to direct you to the person who will be the perfect fit for your child. It must be made on a spiritual basis before it’s made on a logical one. We must allow God to do the picking.
After spiritual assessment, use your own reason and intelligence. Ask for a month of trial. Then don’t waste every minute, observe and listen to your intuition. Does she look at you in the eye? Does she make you feel safe. Could you imagine your child going to her if she needs comfort or could she handle cases of emergency?
Keep in mind that you won’t find a perfect yaya. There will always be something you won’t like about her, or that would drive you nuts, but if you are serious about inviting Jesus inside your home, you can overlook the little things. I would suggest that you and your husband take a moment to sit down and make a list of non-negotiable skills and qualities you want in a yaya. A list of eight or below should be good enough.
Here are a 3 samples from our own list:
- She should be a mother. Or at least someone who has qualified experience taking care of babies or toddlers.
Mothers are amazing in time management. And by hiring a mother, I know I’m getting someone who can think through logistics of child management and pull things together in a strict military-like record time. I can rest a bit assured that she can anticipate the emotional and physical needs of my child intuitively. Also, as much as possible, I prefer hiring mothers whose children are already independent. As a personal advocacy, I pray that I won’t pave way to some mother’s decision to leave home and relinquish the care of a very young baby to her partner.
- She should be able to talk and play well with my baby.
We all know that yayas spend significant amount of time with their alagas. For this reason, my husband and I find it important to hire someone who doesn’t get bored hanging around with children. Because she can’t just sit quietly while monitoring our son or just turn to TV to entertain him. Our child’s speech and language development is important to us. And we require caregivers to talk to our son or at least read something to him at lull times. Also, we need someone who can keep up with the energy level of our toddler. Someone who genuinely enjoys playing with kids. Because we believe that play is more than just fun. It’s how our baby will learn, and how he’ll work out who he is, how the world works and where he fits into it.
- She should have some sense of cleanliness and tidiness.
I’m a Daiso, Japan Home Center kind of mom. For me, everything has its own place. Put a red ball in a blue toy basket and I freak out. Since I had a baby, I also developed this compulsion to clean nooks and corners of any space I live in. My pet peeves are wet bathroom floors and tooth paste spills. Sometimes, I get to my husband’s nerves. But at the end of the day, he understands that I just want a healthier home environment for our baby. I don’t really need a kasambahay (househelp) to go as neat freak as I can (sometimes) get, or go crazy in cleaning. But she has to have a common sense for my baby’s safety and good basic hygiene.
Our list also includes the more common yet important traits, such as patience, attentiveness, dependability and trustworthiness. We know that if we find these traits in a yaya, we will know that our precious one is in pretty good hands. There are many other personal preferences you could include in your own list but be sure to stick to the most crucial ones.
Hire for attitude and not for skills.
Remember that you can always train for whatever yaya skills you need but you can’t train for attitude. There are many questions you can ask in the interview to give you a picture of her personality and determine if she already shares your family’s value system. I usually assess this by giving situations and asking open-ended questions about how she would handle or resolve certain situations. The answers proved to be really valuable! You’ll be surprised.
Share the core values of your family.
If you don’t have these defined yet, grab your journal now and talk about it with your husband. I promise you, It won’t just help you in hiring yayas but in child-rearing, most especially. I always communicate my views in my yaya interviews, and I like throwing in verses from the Bible to explain them. After my part, I ask if we are the type of family that matches her set of values and beliefs. And I find that they usually pay lip service for this question. But, I try to dig for more honest response until my intuition kicks in.
Ultimately, look for a yaya who matches the culture of your family. And if your family culture reflects your Christian values, it is highly likely that you are on your way to hiring someone for long haul.
I hope my tips helped! Share with us in the comments what other things you do that lead you to the right yayas for your kids!
Here’s the rest of my 5-part Yaya blog series, which you might also find helpful!
- Where Do I Start? Godly Solutions for Yaya Problems
- God Help Me! My Baby’s Yaya Is Driving Me Nuts!
- How To Curb Your Kasambahay’s Chronic Cash Advances
- When A Yaya Quits and You Didn’t See It Coming