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8 tips to find a summer nanny

Discover expert advice for how to find a summer nanny, and get the essential know-how for your child care search.

8 tips to find a summer nanny

Finding a summer nanny can be more challenging than finding a nanny at other times of the year for several reasons. For one, demand is high in the summer. Just about every other family with working parents and school-aged kids is facing the same summer child care dilemma as you. And of those families, many are hoping to find a summer nanny who has the skill set and creative energy to entertain kids throughout the long summer break.

“Typically, families in need of summer nannies are searching for nannies with different qualifications, such as experience with older school-aged children, as opposed to infants and toddlers,” says Manon Doll-McGhee, owner of Nannies of Kansas City.

Another notable difference for summer hiring? The pool of interested caregivers can look a little different because professional nannies are often looking for year-round jobs. “Candidates are also short-term as opposed to long-term and tend to be college students or teachers who have summers off,” explains Doll-McGhee.

It’s good to know what you’re up against, but it’s even better to be prepared with a game plan. Follow these tips, and you’ll have a solid chance of finding a nanny to keep your kids happy and safe until back-to-school season — and maybe even next summer, too!

1. Start looking early — June may be too late!

Find a summer nanny

We probably don’t have to tell you that June is far too late if you want a great selection of candidates. By that point, many of the best nannies have already lined up work, and you may be left choosing from workers whose schedules, qualifications or overall vibes just don’t mesh with your family. Play it safe by searching in April or May — or even earlier.

We’ve already discussed the high demand for summer caregivers, which is why you have to be aggressive and thorough. Search online child care sites like, check out college job boards and scroll through local social media groups.

Long Island, New York-based mom of two Olivia Howell uses local Facebook groups to find candidates, and she recommends word-of-mouth, as well. “Check in with your local friends to see if they know of any young people who are home from college for the summer,” Howell says. “They’re eager to make money and are around!”

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3. Create a clear summer nanny job description

Whether you’re posting a job to find a potential nanny or you’re just sharing information with candidates, creating an extremely clear and detailed nanny job description will save you and any candidates precious time in the hiring process.

Catherine Pearlman, licensed clinical social worker and founder of The Family Coach, recommends starting with a list of must-haves and preferred traits in the nanny and then sticking with it. “It’s easy to get carried away in an interview or get swayed by a great personality,” Pearlman says. “That’s OK in some cases, but often parents lose out on some of what they were really looking for.”

Your job description should include details like:

  • Required days and hours.
  • Certifications (like CPR training or water safety training).
  • Expected duties (like driving kids to camp or planning educational activities).
  • Preferred language.
  • Education level, if it matters to you.
  • Any special needs your child may have.
  • Other expectations, such as housekeeping, transportation, meal prep or travel.

4. Favor a summer skill set

Remember that your children’s daily activities likely look quite a bit different in the summer months than they do during the school year, so make sure you find a nanny who can fit those needs.

“A lot of summer nannies are involved in activities, transporting kids to/from summer camps or swim lessons,” Doll-McGhee says. “Parents want nannies who are comfortable taking their children to the park or the pool, museums or the zoo … Find a candidate who is active, enjoys being outside, and, if possible, has previous summer camp or summer nanny experience.”

5. Don’t skimp on the interview

It may just be a temporary gig, but your summer nanny will still be taking full responsibility for your kids, so getting to know them over an interview is well worth your time. Meet them at a local park or, if you’re comfortable, invite them into your home so you can watch them interact with your children in their element.

“Try not to ask closed-ended questions, such as those that can be answered with a yes or a no,” Pearlman says. “These questions prevent the conversation from expanding, and the parent doesn’t really get to know the applicant. Instead, use open-ended questions that open up the dialogue.”

A few starter interview questions Pearlman suggests include:

  • Can you tell me about the children in your last job?
  • Describe a typical day with the children? (Instead of asking: Did you do the wash or cooking?)
  • What kind of work environment are you looking for?
  • What do you love most about working with children?
  • Can you tell me about the most challenging day you ever had watching children?

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6. Know what a summer nanny costs

The overall cost of summer nanny has many variables. The cost will depend a lot on where you live, what the nanny is hired to do and how much experience they bring to the position. Before making an offer, make sure to familiarize with the going rates for nannies where you live by using the the cost of care calculator

7. Finalize your hire

Hopefully at this point you’ve been able to interview a couple of strong candidates and settle on a summer nanny. Once you’ve offered the job and they’ve accepted, it’s time to finalize all of the little details.

Even for a temporary summertime position, a nanny contract is a good idea. In it, you can include everything from job responsibilities and work schedule to compensation details and even your family’s social media policy. More than anything, a contract is a powerful way to communicate that you view this as a serious working relationship, and you expect your nanny to do the same.

8. Keep in touch

Summer will eventually end, but your relationship with your summer nanny doesn’t have to. While you may not need as many hours after school starts again, you and your kids have hopefully built a relationship with a trusted child care provider, and that’s something you don’t want to lose. Keep in touch when you need help throughout the year, and maybe next summer, your child care search will be as easy as giving this caregiver a call.