If you’ve considered the pros and cons of hiring a nanny and have decided to go for it, we’ve got you covered with this comprehensive guide about how to look for, interview, hire, and get on the same page with a nanny.
Start by writing a job description that you can use to screen potential nannies. Be sure to include:
- Job days and times
- Age(s) of your child(ren)
- Job duties: Include childcare duties, activities like going to the park or classes, and anything else you’d like her to do (cooking, light housework, etc.)
- What you would like to pay (you may need to negotiate this based on a candidate’s salary requirements)
- Whether you will pay for overtime, sick days, holidays, or vacation days
- Whether you will pay for health insurance or transportation costs
- Minimum amount of experience
- Child and baby first aid/CPR trained (if you love a candidate who isn’t trained, you may need to pay for this)
Now it’s time to look for candidates. You can do this in several ways, including:
- Ask family, friends, or neighbors for recommendations
- Use community networks to search for available nannies or list a job posting
- Subscribe to a website that connects you to nannies looking for work (these may also include background checks)
- Use a nanny agency (be sure it’s a member of a national organization such as the International Nanny Association)
- If you are looking for a part-time nanny, contact a local college employment office
To prepare for interviewing potential nannies, start by talking to people you trust who use or have used a nanny. Ask them what they think are the most important things to look for / questions to ask.
Here are some questions to consider:
- What is her experience? Ask about number of children and their ages, duration of previous employment, and why previous employment ended.
- What are her salary requirements?
- What types of activities does she enjoy doing with children?
- What types of discipline does she use with children and why?
- How open is she to working with you to set up your child’s day and follow certain interaction and discipline strategies?
- Is she on-board with taking your child on outings, if that’s something you want?
- Consider asking hypothetical questions: What would she do if she got locked out of your house, or if your child hit his head or had a bout of uncontrollable crying?
- Ask her to interact with your child. Does she seem genuinely interested, happy, kind, and confident?
- Will she consent to a criminal background check?
- If driving your child would be part of the job, will she consent to a driving record check?
The Due Diligence
If you like a candidate, be sure to check references, criminal background, and driving record (if she’ll be driving your child). Criminal background and driving record checks may require fees, but it’s always a good idea to cover those bases, even if her references give her the thumbs up. When talking to her references, ask specific questions about how she interacted with their children, how often she missed work, how willing she was to accept feedback, etc.
Once you’ve interviewed, done your due diligence, and decided to hire a nanny, it’s time to get on the same page. Here’s how to do it:
- Create an employment contract. Include mutually agreed-upon days and hours, salary, and anything else you have agreed (or not agreed) to pay for.
- Go over ground and safety rules. Even if she has experience, review things like safe sleep, overuse of baby equipment, overuse of personal technology, screen time for your child, nutrition guidelines, etc.
- Go over absolute no-nos. These are things that could end her employment, like texting while driving or leaving your child alone in the bath. You may even consider putting these in your employment contract to emphasize their importance.
- Talk about what you want in terms of your child’s daily schedule, activities, sleep, nutrition, discipline, etc. And ask for her opinion, too! In the end, you will have the final say, but she may have great ideas. What’s more, asking her to chime in creates an atmosphere of open communication, mutual respect, and trust.
- Don’t forget that you can share your BabySparks account with up to five people, so your nanny can participate in your child’s individual development program!
The Long Term
Ideally, your nanny will be a part of your child’s life for some time. To maintain a strong relationship for the ultimate benefit of your child, build in regular times to check in without feeling rushed. Sit down together and connect about how everything is going. Bring up or listen to any concerns with an open mind, and discuss them in a direct, clear, and calm way. Discuss anything new that comes up as your child enters new developmental stages: New discipline strategies, dropping naps, potty training, etc.
Now it’s time to enjoy your family’s new relationship with your child’s new nanny!