Finding a nanny, babysitter or other child care provider can be a bit different for families with twins or multiples. You’ll want to start with our guide to the basics of hiring a child care provider — and look at our guides on the cost of babysitters or the cost of nannies in your area. But when you’re looking for a nanny for twins, keep these extra tips in mind.
We sat down with Natalie Diaz, founder of Twiniversity, author of What To Do When You’re Having Two, and mom to twins, to get her perspective. Our team of experts also included Patrick Gray, of San Franciso, and Maria Morales of Miami, Florida. Gray and his wife have two year old twins and Morales is the mom of identical six year old twin boys.
- Define What You Need
Every family is different, including families with twins, says Natalie Diaz. She suggests beginning the process by clearly defining what your needs are.
Some parents need around the clock support and care, while others simply want a few hours of coverage to run errands or get some personal time. Do you need someone who can travel with you, work holidays or spend overnights? Are your goals to get help with light housekeeping while the children are napping? The more clarity you have, the better job description you can write. It’ll also provide you with questions to ask during the interview and when checking references.
- Plan Ahead
It’s important to plan ahead when you’re having twins, says Diaz. By the 30th week of pregnancy, families should have a clear idea of what they’re looking for and be searching for that person. This is especially true if your plans include a night nurse or baby nurse.
Maria Morales, the Miami mom of six-year-old twin boys, agrees. “We needed help out of the gate, and had begun the search in my second trimester. We were able to find someone and sign her up so that I knew when the babies came home we were all set.”
- Set Expectations About Start Dates
“Don’t sign a contract if you’re hiring a caretaker for newborns,” advises Diaz. It’s hard for families of multiples, especially if this is a first birth, to plan start dates exactly. 57 percent of twins are delivered prior to 37 weeks, but predicting exactly when is difficult. Instead, communicate clearly and set expectations that if your babies are delivered early or need to spend time in the NICU that dates will be adjusted accordingly.
“The right person for your family will understand,” says Patrick Gray, who lives in San Francisco and has two-year-old twins. “Flexibility early on is a great test of a caretaker’s ability to adjust to life with twins.”
- Look for Someone that Clicks
It may be tempting to look exclusively for help with previous multiples experience. But Diaz advises focusing on someone that clicks with your family. The right fit, with the right energetic and open attitude, combined with previous caretaking experience and great references is enough. It’s more important that they fit into your needs and family dynamic than specifically having prior twin experience.
- Always Check References, Vaccinations and CPR Certifications
This is true for any family, but Diaz has seen unfortunate scenarios where multiple birth families failed to check references, because they felt that they’re desperate for care.
Always take the time to ensure that you’ve verified an application, spoken extensively with the candidate, talked to references and verified that their certifications are up-to-date.
Families with twins may be concerned that it’s more difficult to hire a nanny or sitter. But there are numerous professionals willing and able to assist your family — whether you’re looking for a night nurse or part-time babysitting help. Clarify your needs, start early and set expectations all around to start a relationship with someone who will become part of your family for as long as your children need extra care.
Liz Alton is a freelance writer covering small business and technology topics. Her writing can be found in USA Today, The Huffington Post, and many other publications.