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How to find a nanny: 5 expert recommendations for where to look 

Learn how to find a nanny, as well as the pros and cons of each platform or resource, according to experts and parents.

How to find a nanny: 5 expert recommendations for where to look 

Finding a nanny for your child is an undertaking, to say the least. And while options can be a good thing, the numerous resources available to help with the search can feel overwhelming, not to mention time-consuming or even cost-prohibitive.

“From conducting a do-it-yourself search to hiring a reputable, experienced nanny agency to do a search for you, there are a number of ways to find a nanny,” notes Michelle LaRowe, lead educator at Global Nanny Training. And while there’s not a one-size-fits-all way to search, ultimately, LaRowe notes, you, as the parent, “need to know and feel comfortable with who will be caring for your kids.” 

5 best options for finding a nanny

Here, experts share several great options for how to find a nanny and offer pros and cons for each resource. 

1. Online platforms and websites

For many families, particularly those new to an area (or parenthood, in general), child care websites, such as, are a go-to. The reason being, notes Kristen Szapka, president and founder of A Nanny Match in New York City, they’re “ideal for a cost-effective introduction to a wide selection of candidates.” Put another way: You get bang for your buck. 

Through Care, you can access local nanny profiles and post a job. You can also enjoy peace of mind during your search because all caregivers on the site are required to complete a CareCheck background check in order to interact with families.

That being said, Szapka notes, “parents should still expect to thoroughly interview candidates and check references.”

Best for: Saving money while loading up on options. “For parents who want a do-it-themselves approach and to cast a wide net when searching for a nanny, using a website to source applicants may make sense,” LaRowe says. “What costs you in time to sort through dozens of caregivers in your area saves you in financial investment.” 

Considerations: In order to access all the features on, there may be an additional cost. Also, you need to take on the overall task of searching, which can be time-consuming.

“For parents who want a do-it-themselves approach and to cast a wide net when searching for a nanny, using a website to source applicants may make sense.”

— Michelle LaRowe, lead educator at Global Nanny Training

2. Nanny agencies

Unlike child care platforms, nanny placement agencies do the searching for you via their network of pre-screened nannies. “Reputable nanny agencies source and recruit professional full-time or part-time caregivers and have established networks of vetted candidates,” explains Szapka. “Agencies come with higher costs but offer expertise and save time.”

 “Agencies come with higher costs but offer expertise and save time.”

— Kristen Szapka, president and founder of A Nanny Match

For parents who want to leave the searching to the experts, LaRowe recommends using an agency that is a member of the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies (APNA) or International Nanny Association (INA) to ensure quality. 

Best for: Parents who have the money, but not necessarily the time. “What you save in time and energy, costs you in financial investment,” notes LaRowe. “Quality agencies vet applicants so parents can focus on fit and ensure they find the right match.” Additionally, she adds, agencies typically “offer some type of replacement policy should things not work out, serving as a way to protect your investment.”

Considerations: The cost. “Parents have to be willing to spend thousands of dollars to hire a candidate through an agency,” notes LaRowe.

Another thing to consider when going the agency route, says LaRowe, is the level of formality. She notes: “Some agency nannies may be more professional than you’re seeking and require more formal arrangements with benefits and other perks you may be unfamiliar with as industry standards.”

3. Social media parenting groups

Practically every area has local parenting groups on social sites like Facebook and Nextdoor. These spaces can be a great place to go for nanny leads, suggestions and ideas. 

“These spaces can be good for community recommendations,” Szapka notes. “But exercise caution and conduct thorough vetting, as these are informal networks.”

For Rebecca Alwine, a mom of three from Augusta, Georgia, Facebook wound up being the perfect child care resource for her unique situation of time requirements, location and pay. She didn’t need full-time care, and she needed a nanny who could watch her children in the nanny’s own home — and none of the major child care sites turned up viable options.

Then she turned to a local Facebook mom’s group — and that’s where she found her family’s first two nannies. She interviewed the nannies, both with and without her children present. She also made sure to tour the nannies’ homes and observe any other children, pets and adults who were around. Lastly, she checked in with all of the candidate references

Alwine feels that “working through a network is the most efficient way to find someone you can trust.”

Best for: Parents who want to utilize social connections and connect with caregivers in their community. 

Considerations: You need to be wildly vigilant. “Social media groups are home to numerous scammers and even the most careful parent can fall victim to connecting with someone who isn’t who they appear to be,” states LaRowe. 

4. Colleges and universities

Colleges and universities can be a “resource for finding educated, part-time help,” Szapka says. You can find students looking for work through local Facebook groups, search for college nannies through a site like Care or post directly to university job boards. 

“When using a college student, make sure you run proper checks and ensure clear communication about schedules and commitments,” Szapka says. Many college students are in need of work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re qualified to care for kids. 

“When using a college student, make sure you run proper checks and ensure clear communication about schedules and commitments.”

— Kristen Szapka, president and founder of A Nanny Match

Melina Zahalka, a single mom of two from Bellingham, Washington, encountered this issue when she started her search using a student, off-campus employment page at the university where she worked. She deemed the results OK, but ultimately unsatisfactory.

“Most were desperate for employment, and while they had kid experience, I was unsure of how much because it had often come in the form of short-term internships and volunteer work,” Zahalka says. Eventually, she found a nanny through the recommendation of a friend. 

Best for: College students are best for parents “seeking a casual or short-term nanny who is flexible and affordable,” LaRowe notes. In other words: University students may be better suited for babysitting or after school a few days a week, if it works with their schedule.

Considerations: The schedule. In addition to the experience piece, it’s important for families to keep student schedules in mind — not only can they be unpredictable, they’re best-suited for short-term commitments. “With the changing schedule of a college student,” LaRowe says, “it’s not ideal for finding long-term care.”

5. Friends

For many families wondering how to find a nanny, going through friends is the first option that comes to mind. (Who hasn’t sent a group text when in need of … just about anything?). 

“Friends and word of mouth are one way to find nannies,” Szapka says. “And there’s trust in personal endorsements. However, the pool of candidates may be limited, and what may work for one family may not work for another.”

After Zahalka decided that a college student wasn’t the best choice, she reached out to her neighbor, who then invited her to meet her own nanny, Aimie.

“I chatted with Aimie when she was at the neighbor’s watching their son,” Zahalka says. “She was bright, enthusiastic, unafraid to jump in and help buckle/unbuckle car seats and quirky and fun — clearly comfortable around kids and parents.”

Zahalka knew right away that Aimie was the one, and she hired her on the spot. Because of Aimie’s existing relationship with the neighbor’s family, they often shared the cost of child care, which was an added bonus.

“She was integral in getting my small children from infancy to preschool and kindergarten,” Zahalka says. “I couldn’t have been a single mom without her.”

Best for: Parents who want a personal reference. “For parents who want peace of mind knowing a nanny has a good track record they learned about through personal recommendation, word-of-mouth referrals may seem best,” says LaRowe.

Considerations: Personal recommendations don’t necessarily equate a good fit. “Just because a nanny was right for your friend, doesn’t mean she’ll be right for you,” LaRowe explains. “Every family does things differently and has different priorities and values. What your friend loved about their nanny may be your worst nightmare, and having to fire the nanny that your friend recommended is sure to be awkward, to say the least.”

Nanny search precautions to always keep in mind

No matter where you search for nannies, safety should always be top of mind. Here, precautions to keep in mind when searching for and hiring a nanny, per LaRowe and Szapka:

  • Verify nanny or agency credentials.
  • Check for compatibility (read: go beyond what’s on paper).
  • Conduct thorough background checks
  • Check references. 
  • Trust your gut.

Read more: 3 steps to hiring a nanny safely

The bottom line

There are a number of ways to find potential nannies, all with their pros and cons. The key is to feel out a few options and decide which route(s) are best for your budget and schedule. 

“In a world where anything from groceries to a new car can be delivered to your home on demand, it can be tempting to simply put your request for a nanny into the atmosphere and welcome the first caregiver who lands at your door,” LaRowe says. “But don’t. A little work goes a long way.”