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Hiring a Nanny with Foreign Language Skills

According to The New York Times “Parents cite different reasons for hiring baby sitters and nannies to speak a second language with their children. Some struggled to pick up foreign languages and want to make life easier for their children. Some believe it makes them smarter. And naturally, this being the melting pot that is New York, many parents have a connection to another language and want to reinforce it.”

There are many reasons to hire a nanny with foreign language skills. 

  • Perhaps you have struggled or are struggling to learn a foreign language, and you want your child to learn at a time when it is believed that his/her brain is most able to absorb new language skills.
  • Perhaps you are living in an area in which your native language is not spoken, and you want your child to be exposed to your native language as much as possible. Or, you want your child to learn the local language as quickly as possible to minimize his/her integration time.
  • Perhaps you are living in an area characterized as a cultural melting pot, and you want your child to be able to communicate well with his/her peers of various language backgrounds.

Whether you are seeking to hire a nanny who speaks your language in a locale that does not, a nanny who speaks the language of your current locale (which is not your native language), or a nanny who speaks a language that is not native to you or your current locale, you will likely seek a bilingual nanny (a nanny who speaks your language and also the language of your current locale or some other locale).  Following are some tips for recruiting bilingual nannies:

  • Contact the local Embassies and other organizations that are affiliated with your culture and the culture of the language that you seek to instill in your child. Ask about referrals or publications in which you can advertise.
  • Register online at a site such as Nannies4hire.com; where you can sort for nannies by a preferred language.
  • Network with others in your locale who have the desired language skills. Ask about referrals.
  • Run a help-wanted advertisement in the local newspaper and specify the language skills sought. Or, you might place your advertisement written entirely in your desired language.

Once you have resumes in hand, you can review each candidate’s credentials.  Interviewees may then be chosen.  You may benefit from having a trusted advisor (who is bilingual in the language you seek) participate in interviews with you:  the advisor can observe each candidate’s language skills and can advise you on fluency.  Background checks and other screening and selection methods will not vary from hiring a nanny without foreign language skills.  When you are ready to make a job offer, make sure to include your language expectations in your nanny contract.

By following these simple steps, you can be well on your way to hiring a nanny who can teach your child a foreign language or who can reinforce your own culture and language when you are living abroad.

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