So you’ve decided to hire a nanny? Now what?!
As parents and parents-to-be, the most stressful part of preparing for a new addition to the family is not making sure you have the nursery ready and stocked or adjusting to a new schedule, but searching for child care. It has to be one of the most difficult tasks that all parents face. Should I choose a day care center or hire a nanny? This question can be daunting for those who may not even be expecting yet, but it definitely requires a lot of thought, time and research. Both choices are great for their own reasons, but the bottom line is that you should have a plan in place (and a back up plan just in case your situation changes) well before your bundle of joy arrives.
Hiring a nanny versus placing your child in day care has numerous advantages. With a nanny, you get a very personal kind of care. And not just for your children, but for the whole family. Generally, a nanny not only cares for your children, but they look after your household and pets too. Nannies offer routine and consistency, but they can also be flexible when something unexpected arises as well. With a nanny, your children can have excellent care in a familiar environment and get the same educational and developmental experiences they would get at a day care center (but with less germs).
When hiring a nanny you should have these things in mind:
- type of nanny needed: full time, part time, live-in or au pair, teaching nanny or evening/night nanny.
- child care budget
- days/hours needed
- vacation/sick time
- insurance benefits
- incentives such as a vehicle to use or paid days off
- “on the books” pay vs. paying under the table
- length of time you need/want a nanny
- preferences (bilingual, certain age, nanny with children)
- additional services like light housekeeping, laundry or errands
When contacting potential nannies about their services you should be open and upfront about what you are looking for and what you are willing to offer. You may include things such as:
- general information about your family and your child care needs
- your basic requirements (education/experience, background check, CPR/First Aid certification, car)
- your budget
- days/hours needed
- comfort with pets in the home
Also, be sure to ask for a current resumé, a list of references and any letters of recommendation and a contact number for a phone interview. Phone interviews help narrow down your choices.
When interviewing potential nannies, here is a list of questions to be sure to ask:
- How did you get into the profession?
- Tell me about your last/current job. Why are you leaving?
- Tell me about your best day as a nanny?
- Tell me about your worst day as a nanny?
- What are your long-term and short-term goals (personal and professional)?
- Describe your discipline philosophy.
- What are you looking for in a family?
- What is your dream nanny job?
- Do you have a portfolio? Any special certifications?
- Are you okay with nanny cameras?
- Are you okay with driving the children?
Additional questions may need to be asked to fit your family’s individual situation. Just be sure to be open and honest.
After you have narrowed down your choice for a nanny there are a few things you should do before she/he starts. Formally offer the position to your potential nanny by phone or email and set up at least one “trial day.” Trial days are set so that you, the children and the nanny can get acquainted and see how a typical day would be for everyone. Also, if the nanny requested a contract, details should be discussed at length, agreed upon and signed BEFORE he/she starts. This will protect both you and the nanny if anything happens.
Nannies also have their own requirements and preferences when looking for potential families. They may want a lower hourly wage than others, but they may ask for benefits. Be willing to compromise on things for the right nanny. I have worked in the child care industry for over 14 years now and I have learned a lot about what I want in a nanny position. Generally, I look for a warm, young family with a traditional work schedule and bit of flexibility. I really appreciate families that have been understanding about me having a family of my own. Especially the ones that have allowed me to bring my son with me to work. Openness, honesty and genuineness are my top priorities when searching for potential families.
Hiring someone to care for your children is never easy, but I hope this helps you with your nanny search-Good Luck!