This post is also available in: Čeština (Czech)
Finding a reliable nanny for long term cooperation in the Czech Republic is literally like searching a needle in a haystack. It cost me a lot of energy and time to find the right one. But, because I searched for one on my own, without agency, I saved quite a lot of money and I could choose the candidates myself. So, if you are trying to find a nanny yourself or you are thinking about it, continue reading.
So why did we decide on a nanny and not nursery or kindergarten?
Well, if you live in Prague, especially in Vinohrady/Vrsovice location you know that government nurseries are almost non-existent, so the only option is the private ones. Unfortunately, we didn’t get lucky, and the one we tried was just awful, and this experience just put me off of trying any other places.
Price-wise it doesn’t make any difference since with twins you pay any nursery tuition twice. If you are lucky, you might get 10-20% off for the second child. But, still – that’s not gonna save you.
You can choose the person that looks after your kids! And that person is fully dedicated just to them, no other kids, no other distractions. Also, it is much easier to agree on the basics like diet, activities and the general approach you want them to have (e.g. when the kids don’t listen, fight with each other etc. ).
If you are a more sensitive and worried parent, you can ask the nanny to send you pictures during the day or a short message to assure you everything is going just fine.
You don’t have to look for backup babysitting when kids get sick. Nanny just stays home with them on that day and make sure they rest as they should be. And you don’t have to cancel your work or other appointments.
And last but not least it is much easier for the kids to get used to someone new when it is in their natural environment. The “new family member” is coming to their home so at least not everything is brand new, and they are not that traumatized by the massive change which not spending most of the time with you is.
And I could probably go on and on and on. There are infinite reasons why to consider a nanny instead of nursery/kindergarten, especially for younger kids. But, there is a BUT. Finding someone reliable in the Czech Republic is not that easy, especially if you want someone regularly and speaking English on top of everything. While it is quite common in, preferably, western countries to get a nanny we are not there yet here in Czech republic. If you mention you have or you are looking for a nanny, you might get this judgy lifted eyebrow face, and you will be most probably considered to be a snob. And where is low demand, the supply is not high either.
You can find few agencies specialized in babysitting. They mostly offer full-time nannies (40 hours a week) some of them can even get you a Philipino live-in nanny. We were looking for someone for approximately 20 hours a week, so this was not an option for us. Plus I must say that from the few short phone calls and email conversations I had with some of the agencies I wasn’t impressed. After a while, I even got a CV of a potential candidate from one agency. That profile didn’t meet most of our basic requirements, such as intermediate English skills, which is quite crucial when your partner is English :).
So I have decided to search for a nanny on my own, and my first steps went to Facebook. I posted in a couple of groups, and I believed the magical Mary Poppins who’s gonna save my sanity would contact me immediately. And one, ideally looking, really replied. After meeting with the kids and us, I was so excited that I forgot about all my experience from professional recruiting and stopped looking for other candidates. I believed this one is The One and didn’t make any backup. We agreed on the trial, and I was waiting. In the evening before the trial day, I got a message that she had to take a shift at work for her sick colleague. Fair enough, I thought, that happens. And we agreed another day for the trial. And again, the evening before the next trial, I get a message. This time saying she has to cancel since she accepted another offer. Noooooo! How could she? We had a connection; kids loved her! After the first wave of disappointment, I realized I had been here already. The same situation happened to me at work so many times, so I have decided to tackle this more pragmatically and use my experience.
I decided to pay the monthly subscription on hlidacky.cz where you can not only search through the available nannies, but you can also put together your own ad based on which you get the reactions right into your email. If you are more interested in how to write an ad and search for the right candidates, please, check my other article here.
So long story short, I chose approximately five candidates with whom I met face to face in our place together with the kids, and after a week of interviews, the victory was ours.
In the end, I chose two nannies because they could come at different times each and combining it just suits us the best. Also, it gives us more flexibility in case one of them is sick or we need babysitting for evenings. One of them is an experienced nanny so I don’t have to worry she wouldn’t cope with our twins from hell. The second one is a medical student and a scout leader which gives me some sort of assurance too.
We work in this set up since November 2019, and I must say it is just awesome. Our nannies are just great with kids, and they totally love them too. When I am coming back home, I always find happy faces of our twins which is the best proof that our decision was right.
Would be really amazing if this would become a more conventional way of childcare here in Czech republic, especially for the younger ones. Would be nice if we had the system of shared nannies where two families pay one nanny together. This makes having a nanny less expensive and more accessible for almost everyone, not mentioning that in some countries, the government contributes to the nanny’s salary.
I am a realist so I know this is just a Utopia when it comes to CR but I believe that step by step, we will get there. Would be nice to see more mums who get the chance to go back to work before their kids turn 3 or who just have more time for themselves and their partners.