Yaya Quest

By Anna Garcia

Being a mom to a two-year old boy, I may not have much experience compared to other moms out there who’ve decade’s worth of stories to tell. I’ve had four yayas (nannies) in my two and a half years of being a mother, plus the few months prior to my giving birth. I must say, finding one and incorporating her to the family is a predicament that has given me a fair share of sleepless nights. Who could blame me? Looking after another’s child is undoubtedly a very weighty responsibility. And finding a yaya dependable enough to fulfill this significant task and coming across someone who works well with other members of the household is not a walk in the park. It takes a lot of energy and time to find someone who you know you can entrust your child to.

The Nanny: The Yaya or "Nanny" that you hire could be a big asset or an even bigger liability in the household. Hiring a trustworthy Nanny is essential to your family's security. (Photo by the author)
The Nanny: The Yaya or “Nanny” that you hire could be a big asset or an even bigger liability in the household. Hiring a trustworthy Nanny is essential to your whole family’s security. (Photo by the author)

There are so many factors to consider when choosing a yaya. Where do you find one? Are you getting her from an agency? Is the agency reputable enough and what are some feedbacks from past clients? Or are you getting her through referrals? Is the person referring her to you trustworthy? With the incidences of crime these days you would need to be very meticulous. Do some research before anything else. Take into consideration also the relationship of the one referring and the one being referred or the prospective yaya. For example, your driver is referring his sister to be yaya. You might trust your driver but do take into account the pros and cons of having them in one roof and whether or not you will be able to maintain check and balance in the household. When you’ve found some prospects and after securing their NBI and Police Clearance then do sit down with them for an interview. See how they present themselves to you. You won’t be able to tell if she will work diligently right then and there but at least you can see a glimpse of who she is. For instance, you will see how hygienic she is. There will be indications of her personality with the way they talk and move, as well. Is she willing to learn or seems close-minded when it comes to new ideas? She may not meet your expectations when it comes to work experience but if she is adjustable and eager to learn then you can train her along the way. With proper training and guidance, hopefully she will be able to adapt to your standards. You should also assess if she is confident enough. Do you see your child getting his/her way because the yaya is too timid to stand her ground?

Nowadays, some parents also ask for a resume which states the educational attainment of the possible yaya. This varies from household to household. In this day and age, the bar is set high for yayas who are expected to be with the children 24-7. Kids whose parents work full time have no other choice but be left home with their caretakers. These caretakers’ actions have great bearing on their ‘alaga.’ The way they speak, their actions, their manners are greatly influential on the child. I have a friend who, before accepting a yaya, expects her to sing nursery rhymes to her son and she expects the yaya to have memorized them. She also expects them to be able to teach her child good manners and right conduct when she is not around. On the same note, a yaya I once talked to shared that the reason she left her last employer was because she was over-fatigued. She imparted that she did everything since the parents were truly preoccupied, even help the children with their assignments on top of her other ‘yaya duties.’ This just attests to the fact that the yaya, nowadays, is not only a lady who feeds the child, bathes the child, but even one who works hand in hand with the parents to nurture the child and cultivate his/her mind. So see if your prospective yaya qualifies for these standards you’ve set and if she will be capable to accomplish undertakings you foresee she will encounter.

Health should also be an issue. Before I hire a yaya for my son I see to it that she has her medical check-up. This entails incurring additional expenses but that’s nothing compared to exposing your child to one who has a respiratory disease for example. Since she will be working closely with your child then there’s no harm in being extra cautious.

When you’ve found a possible candidate then make sure that you lay all your ground rules at the very start. I make certain that I enlist all my do’s and don’ts so I won’t fail to remember anything as I brief her on her responsibilities. This encompasses details like her salary, the duration of her vacation, her cellular phone usage, her disciplining the child (or you being the sole disciplinarian), her hygiene, and other expectations you have of her. I also make it a point that I ask her what she expects from me as an employer. In order for the employee-employer relationship to work then she also has to know that she can talk to you. There must be a harmonious relationship from the very start. Them knowing that you value their thoughts and their opinions would make them feel that you give importance to them as part of your family. After all, it is them who you leave your children to. Learn how to set boundaries and convey your thoughts and ideals to your child’s yaya. Have an open relationship with them because once they know they are trusted and cared for then they will treat your children with utmost love and concern. However, do not forget to be vigilant along the way keeping in mind that the security of your child is topmost priority.

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