What Does a Nanny Look For in a Family?
Families choosing nannies is a topic that’s talked about often. What families should look for, what they should ask, and how they can screen nannies — these are common topics found in the nanny industry.
But something that’s not discussed as often is, what does a nanny look for in a family?
What should professional nannies be looking for?
What kind of questions should they be asking?
What red flags and other signs should they be watching out for?
What tips should they know to help them make the right decision?
Hiring a professional nanny and working with families is a two-way street. It is true that, as the nanny, you are the employee, but you still have a say in where you work, how you work, and the conditions you work in. You deserve to know what’s expected of you from the get-go, and it’s important that you consider all aspects of a family before committing to a position.
As a professional nanny placement agency, we’re invested in both sides of the relationship — nannies, and families. Both parties deserve to ask their questions and consider their options, which is why we advocate for both families and nannies.
Marie, one of Hello Nanny!’s co-founders, was a career nanny for many years. She has gained much experience on how professional nannies can vouch for themselves through the hiring process. Consider some of these tips on choosing the right family before accepting your next position.
Ask lots of questions.
During a family interview, there should be many questions thrown around. Both families and nannies should be asking plenty of questions, as you’re both determining whether you’re a good fit.
You can ask questions about what they’re looking for in a professional nanny, and if they’ve had prior nannies before. Questions about their parenting style, typical day routine, and standard benefits are important to include. If you need some ideas for family interview questions, read 32 questions every nanny should ask during an interview by Care.com for inspiration.
Feel free to bring a pen and notebook along to the family interview to write down notes or additional questions as they come up. Remember, an interview isn’t a family grilling you to see if you’re good enough. An interview is for you as the nanny, too. This is a great opportunity to observe how a family speaks with you. Do they speak to you with respect? Do they treat you as an equal?
You can also request to see a family’s previous nanny’s references, as well. This helps you understand why a nanny left, how they felt about the family, and what working with them was like.
Define and clearly express expectations.
Working as a nanny, the sustainability of your career relies on benefits and perks that set you up for long term success and peace of mind. Many nannies don’t understand this and think they must accept whatever the family offers while disregarding their own needs. Unfortunately, not all families are aware of the standard benefits nannies should receive or choose not to offer them. It’s crucial you understand what benefits are going to set you up for career sustainability and that, as a professional nanny, you advocate for yourself in this regard. Missing this crucial step can place nannies in a position of frustration, leaving them searching over and over for a work agreement that is sustainable and equitable.
As a professional nanny placement agency, we only work with families that offer standard industry benefits. Being a former career nanny, Marie is devoted to making sure families treat their nannies as valuable professionals.
If not having to advocate for basic standard industry benefits is important to you, working with a placement agency might be a good choice.
As a professional nanny, you understand how important it is for a family to respect and value your work. Working with a family who doesn’t appreciate you leads to dissatisfaction, disappointment, and resentment. As a professional, you deserve a family that treats you with respect.
Consider all aspects of compatibility with the family.
Finally, when working as a nanny, it’s crucial to consider compatibility with a family. There are several things to consider here.
First, do you get along with the children? For many, this is the easiest part, but you want to ensure there’s a connection with the kids. During your interviews and working trials, did the children warm up to you? Have they enjoyed being with you, and you with them? You’ll be spending the majority of your time with the kids, so this factor shouldn’t be ignored.
How do you get along with the parents? Does the conversation flow easily? When talking to them, are they open and willing to discuss things, or are they closed and private? How they communicate to you now is a clue to how they’ll communicate later. You need to consider if they’ll be open to hearing you talk about issues with the children or any other concerns or problems.
When asked about previous nannies, how did the parents respond? How did they talk about their other nannies? Their response to these questions is a good indication of how they feel about nannies, what they expect of you, and how they will treat you as their nanny.
You also need to consider their values and how they align (or not) with yours. Consider core beliefs and values you hold to and determine where they stand on some of these things. If you don’t align, will that be an issue for you?
Ask about their parenting style, and what’s expected of you as an authority in their children’s lives. How do they respond to certain situations with their children, and how would they expect you to respond? Do you agree, are you comfortable with their preferences and what they’re asking you to do?
If a family holds very strongly to a certain style of parenting you don’t agree with, it may be tough for you to work with them and uphold their preferences. This is an extremely important factor to consider before agreeing to work with a family.
Working as a professional nanny means you’re working in someone’s personal space all the time. Consider what that environment looks like and if it’s a place you can comfortably work. If you’re a clean freak and your environment is always cluttered, you may not feel comfortable doing your job. Maybe you’re a vegan or allergic to cats, and the family expects you to cook meals full of meat and has three cats.
Other things to consider are situational challenges such as divorced parents, long or inconsistent work hours, and other difficult scenarios.
And finally, your role in the family is an important aspect to consider. What is expected of you as a professional nanny? Aside from caring for the children, are you expected to prepare meals, grocery shop, or clean the home? How much are you expected to work, and are the hours exceptionally long? Be sure to discuss what your responsibilities are prior to accepting the job.
As we mentioned before, be sure to consider the benefits being offered to you, as well. If a family is unwilling to offer guaranteed hours or anything else, you might want to take a step back and consider if this position is for you.
Can a placement agency help?
As a professional nanny, it’s vital you don’t settle for less. You are valuable and essential. You’re worth the benefits, and you’re worth working with a family you love in an environment you enjoy.
As we mentioned, Marie, Hello, Nanny!’s co-founder, worked as a career nanny for 18 years. So we understand how hard it can feel to vouch for yourself and advocate for what you deserve. It can be exhausting, overwhelming, and discouraging. And sometimes, it’s easier to accept a less-than-par job than to keep searching and holding to your preferences or beliefs.
However, we want to encourage you to stand for what you believe in. Or better yet, reach out and let us help you get what you deserve. Working with a professional nanny placement agency like us ensures you always work with families who hold to standard industry benefits and treat you with respect. We are highly selective in the families we accept because how our professional nannies are treated is very important to us.
If you’re ready to work with a family that values you, and you like the idea of an agency supporting you and advocating for you, then go ahead and apply here. You can also read the benefits of working with us there, as well as what’s expected of you. We can’t wait to hear from you!