Having a regular nanny can provide incredible value to your family as a whole. As parents, your careers are supported, and you have time to take care of your needs with the knowledge that your children are getting their needs met with more individualized attention than they would receive in a traditional daycare setting.
But the nanny hiring process isn’t as easy as calling a friend for a recommendation. Because of the significant impact a nanny can have on your family, hiring the right person is important. You should be conducting detailed interviews with several candidates before deciding to hire someone to care for your children permanently.
With that in mind, here are a few things to consider on how to hire a nanny who is perfect for your family:
Creating a Nanny Job Description
Craft a comprehensive nanny job description that not only delineates nanny responsibilities but also serves as a declaration of expectations. This document forms the bedrock of how to hire a nanny, crystallizing boundaries, schedules, and job duties. With precision, draft a narrative that leaves no room for ambiguity.
Beyond the pragmatic aspects, address the intangibles—discipline methods, screen time limits, and any unique family practices. These details sculpt the environment in which your children will flourish.
All nannies should have a grasp of some basic childcare and employee skills. These skills are essential and should be established before moving on to other considerations. A few of the more rudimentary abilities and attributes of a competent nanny candidate are:
- Age-appropriate activity planning skills
- Time management skills
- Clear communication skills
- Basic cooking skills
- Basic first-aid skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Receptive to feedback
- Highly adaptable
- Energetic and upbeat
- Enjoys children
Beyond qualifications and experience, establishing a genuine connection between the nanny and your family is a linchpin of success. When personalities harmonize and values align, a foundation is laid for mutual respect and trust to flourish.
Your ideal nanny will spend a lot of time with your children, sometimes as much or more than you do. For this reason, it’s important that your nanny shares some of your core values or is at least willing to help instill these values in your children. For example, if you believe good manners are vital to raising children, you should look for a professional nanny who displays good manners or is willing to model them for your kids.
During interviews, start by delving into the nanny’s communication style and personality traits. This initial interaction unveils a glimpse into the chemistry that could define your children’s upbringing.
Flexible Care Style
Being flexible with their style of care is similar to the need to have shared values: a nanny plays a significant role in raising your children, and they must be able to help raise them the way you’ve chosen to. If you practice respectful or responsive parenting, you’ll also want your nanny to practice that style of discipline and care. If your family follows a specific routine, you’ll want a nanny who can also stick to the schedule. If you follow more traditional parenting methods and a prospective nanny is uncomfortable or unfamiliar with your method of child care, it likely won’t work out in the long run.
Experience is usually a big determining factor for families when considering a nanny, but it’s not necessarily the most important element of a nanny’s resume for every family. Every nanny has to start somewhere, and it may matter more or less to you depending on your family’s needs.
You may prefer a nanny with many years of experience or don’t mind one that is a little green but checks other boxes. It may be important that a candidate has a background working with children that are characteristically similar to your children.
Does your potential nanny have experience working with infants, or have they only worked with older children or vice versa? Does your potential nanny have experience working with children of divorced parents or special needs children, if applicable? These are great questions to ask candidates during interviews.
Depending on your budget, you may have to alter your expectations surrounding experience, as more experienced and specialized nannies typically charge more.
A professional nanny should be able to provide references from previous families they’ve worked with (or if they’re new to nannying, previous employers from other industries). Make sure you follow up with the references to get to know your nanny’s history. We take an intense investigative approach to this process.
We look for inconsistencies, ensure work timelines match up, and make sure that references are genuine and not fabricated. All reference checks should also be through a rich form of communication like phone, or video call. Checking references through email is highly discouraged.
Being one of the top-notch nanny agencies, Hello! Nanny will match you with professional nanny candidates with a proven track record of success and stellar references, ensuring that your search for a trustworthy caregiver is both efficient and reliable.
Certifications and Accreditation
Certifications and other education or accreditations are also great to consider when learning how to hire a nanny your children will be dependent on for daily care. While it’s not always necessary for a nanny to hold degrees or certifications, any of these extras show passion and dedication to their career and the children they care for.
A few potential certificates your potential nanny could have are:
- College degrees (especially in early childhood education)
- CPR and basic first aid certification
- Childcare certifications
- Water safety certification
- Natural multilingual skills or certifications
- Cooking or nutrition certifications
It’s important to note that any certification may require financial resources that not every nanny will have. If you believe possessing a particular certification is important, consider offering payment both for the course and for the time your nanny will spend taking it.
Nannying is an extremely accessible career: it doesn’t usually require a lot to get started. In theory, anyone could wake up one day, decide they want to become a nanny and start advertising their services.
You can’t necessarily entrust the care of your children to just anyone, though, so potential nannies must pass a background check. This would usually be one of the last steps on how to hire a nanny. You’ll want to inform them upfront that you plan on running a screening (in some states, it’s illegal to run one without consent or notice).
In addition to standard background checks, motor vehicle report (MVR) checks are a must when considering a potential nanny’s suitability for the role. Nannies often transport children to and from school and other activities, so they must have a safe driving history. MVR checks provide insight into a candidate’s driving record, including any traffic violations, accidents, or license suspensions. These checks help parents measure a nanny’s reliability and safety when it comes to transporting their children.
However, it’s important to recognize that not all background checks offer the same level of thoroughness. When partnering with a nanny agency like Hello! Nanny, you gain the advantage of being matched with screened nannies who have undergone comprehensive vetting processes.
Nanny Safety and Security
Prioritizing your children’s safety is paramount. As we mentioned, you should conduct thorough screening, verify references, and ensure certifications are up to date. In addition to external safety measures, focus on creating a secure home environment through childproofing and emergency protocols. Open communication channels help maintain a reassuring atmosphere for both your children and the nanny.
When considering a candidate to be your nanny, it’s essential to ask if they’re willing and able to perform extra tasks outside of basic childcare if you expect them to.
- Do you expect your nanny to do housework or cook meals for the family?
- Do you expect them to drive your children to and from school, appointments, and activities?
- Do you expect them to help your child with homework and/or tutor them?
These are all important to ask your nanny during initial interactions to ensure you’re all on the same page.
Based on research collected by the International Nanny Association, the typical hourly wage for full-time nannies in the United States spans between $25 to $35 per hour.
Determining compensation involves considering several factors, including experience, qualifications, geographical location, and guaranteed hours. It’s about finding a balance that reflects the nanny’s skills while respecting your budget.
Beyond the financial aspect, remember to factor in standard benefits such as paid time off, healthcare, and retirement plans. Fair compensation and benefits are indicators of your appreciation for their dedication to caring for your children.
Once you’ve found a nanny you believe to be the right fit, you may want to try a paid working trial before hiring them full-time. Decide on a period (usually 1-2 weeks) where they will work either partial or full shifts as your family’s nanny. During this time, ask your children for feedback and communicate regularly with your nanny to get a feel for how they fit into your family’s life. At the end of the trial period, share any feedback and decide whether or not to hire them full-time.
A nanny placement agency such as Hello! Nanny can provide invaluable assistance in facilitating this trial period, ensuring a seamless experience that aids you in making an informed decision about the suitability of the nanny for your family’s unique needs.
A formal agreement, in the form of a nanny contract, is a crucial step to ensure mutual understanding. This document outlines job details, compensation, confidentiality, and more. While it’s about legalities, it also reflects the respect you have for each other’s roles.
You should also consider federal income tax and household employment taxes to ensure compliance with legal obligations and maintain a smooth employment relationship.
For a comprehensive contract and payroll service, consider seeking legal advice from an attorney experienced in employment law and a tax professional who can shed light on state and federal tax laws.
Building a Long-Term Relationship
Longevity in your nanny-family relationship is valuable for stability. Building trust through open communication and understanding strengthens this bond. Recognizing and supporting their professional growth demonstrates your commitment to their role in your family’s life. A strong and positive relationship with your nanny contributes to your children’s development and overall household harmony.
Transitioning or Replacing a Nanny
As circumstances change, the transition or replacement of a nanny requires thoughtful handling. Helping your children adjust to these changes is important; their comfort and well-being should be a priority.
When searching for a new nanny, invest time in the selection process to ensure compatibility. Transitioning with grace ensures continuity for your children’s care and maintains a harmonious household.
In this important journey of finding the perfect nanny for your family, these factors form the composition of a harmonious partnership. Through compatibility, clear communication, fair compensation, and prioritizing safety, you create an environment where your children can thrive. It’s about selecting not just a caregiver, but a trusted companion who becomes an integral part of your family’s story.
How To Hire a Nanny the Easy Way
Worried about dedicating a lot of time to finding the right nanny for your family? Call on Hello, Nanny!™ to cut down on the work! We thoroughly vet and interview nannies, so you don’t have to. All the nannies in our expansive network have been fully screened and have passed a background check. You can rest easy knowing that all candidates are qualified to work with children.