If you’re looking for a dedicated professional who can provide individualized, hands-on care for your children, nannies are a great option. Like with any profession, there can be varying levels of qualifications and qualities a nanny holds. Before you launch your search for a nanny, it’s helpful to have an idea of what you’re looking for in a candidate. Start by asking yourself these questions:
Once you have a sense of what you want in a nanny, it’ll make the search and hiring process that much easier. To find a nanny, parents often turn to two popular resources: job-posting websites and nanny-placement agencies. Job websites are usually more affordable, but some parents prefer the full-service that a nanny agency offers, such as finding and screening candidates, guiding parents during the hiring process and offering support after placement. Of course, you can tap into your network, too, to find a caregiver — whether that’s asking your friends and family, or posting on social networks like Facebook.
However you go about looking for a nanny, it’s important to start your search knowing what’s important to you in a caregiver.
Interviewing nanny candidates to find the right fit for your family can be the most challenging part of finding and hiring a caregiver. But fear not: There are many things you can do to draw out the right information, so that you can make an informed decision.
When interviewing potential nannies, it’s important to be thorough. Your questions should touch on the nanny’s:
The interview is also when you should inform the candidate of specific expectations of the job, such as driving children to activities or doing light household work, and make sure they are up to the tasks.
After an initial interview, you can further vet your top candidate by calling their professional references, running a background check and having a trial period. Trial periods, or working interviews, allow you to see how the nanny interacts with your child when she’s in her professional element. Of course, the best attributes of any experienced nanny will shine through when she’s doing what she’s trained to do: care for your child.
You’ve completed the interviewing process and found your ideal nanny — you’re feeling good! But there are still a few things to do before your nanny starts work to ensure a smooth start for all parties. These include aligning on things like payment, vacation time, benefits and performance reviews. And it’s best to have all of these agreements in writing — preferably in contract form.
Having the terms of your working relationship specified in a nanny contract is critical for long-term success: When issues arise, as they are bound to, you can then point to what you had previously agreed on. Nanny contracts should include:
In addition to setting up a working contract, you’ll also need to agree on how and when you will pay your nanny. If you’ll be paying your nanny more than $2,100 in a calendar year, you’ll need to pay nanny taxes. (It’s beneficial to familiarize yourself with child care tax breaks, too!) This is also the time to put into place any professional benefits and protections for your nanny that you want to offer.
Congrats, you’ve found your perfect nanny! Now what? Preparing your nanny for a smooth first day of work will help kick off a strong working relationship. To do this, provide her with a first-day checklist that covers emergency contact and safety information, house rules, medications, food restrictions and schedules.
You’ll also want to prepare your child for the nanny’s start date. Before her first day on the job, set up time to introduce the new nanny to the kids, and talk to your children about her coming to care for them. The more prepared the kids are, the better the first day will go.
Communication is key for ongoing success, and you’ll want to schedule regular check-ins with your nanny where you can both provide each other with feedback. You may also want to monitor the caregiving. This may include installing a nanny cam, planning drop-in visits and having a formal performance review process.