Hiring a Nanny? Here’s What You Need to Consider
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 hiring a nanny isn’t as easy as calling a friend for a recommendation. Because of the significant impact a nanny can have on your family, it’s important to hire the right person. 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 when looking for the right nanny for your family:
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 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
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.
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 that can also stick to the schedule. If you follow more traditional parenting methods and a potential professional nanny is uncomfortable or unfamiliar with your method, 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 personally 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 e-mail is highly discouraged.
Certifications and Accreditation
Certifications and other education or accreditations are also great to consider when picking the person 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 in hiring 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).
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.
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 of time (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.
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.
Read more about our process here, or apply to get started here. After you submit your inquiry, we’ll be in touch to schedule a consultation with our Intake Specialist to get started!