Table of Contents
- Stage 1 – Finding a Nanny
- Stage 2 – Interviewing Candidates
- Stage 3 – Hiring your Nanny
- Stage 4 – Managing the relationship
- The key to hiring a Nanny
Life can be difficult to balance when you have young children, and you may have decided that hiring a Nanny is the best option for you and your family. Nannies are a brilliant way to have personalized child care for your family, with someone you can trust and rely on.
Some Nannies will also support with household chores, driving and laundry as part of their childcare services, so it’s important to work out what role you’d like the Nanny to play. Also, consider how big your budget is and any geographical limitations that might help or hinder your search for a Nanny.
Hiring a caregiver for your children can be an emotional process, as well as practical because you’re trying to find someone you can trust with your children for long periods of time. You’ll need to follow your instincts and look for personality traits and experience while considering costs and scheduling. You need to go with your gut and find someone that fits well with your family.
Finding a Nanny can be a long and complicated process, and we recommend starting your search at least 1 or 2 months before you need caregiving. In an ideal world, this would be easy, but we know that finding childcare is not as simple and sometimes needs to be done in a hurry. There are some key things you need to consider in your search for a Nanny, and we’ve brought them together to help guide you through this tricky process.
Stage 1 – Finding a Nanny
What are your expectations for a Nanny?
First, assess what your expectations for a Nanny to support your family are? This can range from a few hours of after school care in your home, or looking after your little ones from dawn till dusk. Depending on the age of your children, the type of care they need will be different. If, for example, you have two children under two, you need someone with experience in toddlers that can help them to develop essential language and movement skills.
Alternatively, you might have children that are 7-10 years, who will need more emotional support, help with studying, and will need someone to provide food and transportation. Think about whether it is just child care that you require, or if you would like your Nanny also to cook meals, go grocery shopping, drive your children to activities and do household chores like laundry.
To be clear on your expectations, create a list of essential activities, your ‘must-haves’, and your ‘would be useful’ activities. This will be helpful when speaking to Nanny’s about their workloads and commitments and help you to assess which person would be right for you. This is also useful if you’ll only need part-time support, as your candidates can quickly understand how much of their time will be required.
Also, consider your budget, how much are you willing to pay for childcare, and any household chores on top. Research what the average hourly rate for Nanny’s is in your area, and do you need to consider ‘hidden’ costs like gas, agency costs, and taxes, that could quickly add up.
What personality qualities are you looking for in a Nanny?
As a Nanny will become an integral person in your family life, it’s important to think about the personality traits that you’re looking for and would fit well with your families’ ethics, morals, and style of parenting. For example, if you are a fun-loving family, you’ll want someone who shares your enjoyment of life, but remains responsible and adult. If you’re a family that runs a tight schedule with clear discipline, you’ll need someone strict that can continue to develop your children’s behavior and accountability.
Also, consider that just like in Mary Poppins, you’ll need someone that your children will enjoy being around! Do they need a creative person to encourage their imagination? Or someone who can stick to routines and coach your child through learning? It’s important to consider your family needs as a whole, and think about the experiences your children will be having.
Are you hiring directly or through an Agency?
There are two main options when it comes to finding a Nanny and considering them to work in your home. Firstly you could go directly to the people, advertise a post online or within your parent network, to find someone available. This can be a bit hit or miss, you might find someone brilliant that comes recommended, or is known in your network. However, you’ll need to carry out some reference checks yourself, to make sure they are experienced and have the right qualifications.
The other option is to find a Nanny through an agency, which these days operate online. This is where Nanny’s that are available and local sign-up add all their details, including previous experience, and are put forward for different roles with families. A benefit of this is that you’ll often get trustworthy applicants, and you know that the agency has completed a throughout background check on candidates.
However, they may ask for a fee, perhaps one-off cost or a percentage of the Nanny’s pay each month. It’s best to compare Nanny agencies online before you commit or use one that has been recommended to you. Some agencies will even help to guide you through the interviewing and hiring process!
Stage 2 – Interviewing Candidates
How to get the most from an interview
When you meet the candidates for the first time, there will be some key questions to ask them to assess how they will fit into your family unit. You should already be aware of their resume, previous experience, qualifications and may even have some references. During the interview, it’s good to get an understanding of how that person operates, what is their moral code, and how will this applies to care for your children.
You could ask scenario-based questions or specific examples of your child’s behaviors and needs. If their response doesn’t sit well with you, they may not be the right person to join your family unit. This is a perfect opportunity also to discuss any extra household tasks that you’d like them to carry out, like laundry or driving your kids to playdates. They may be happy to carry out these duties or negotiate terms like extra payment or benefits.
You may want to meet with candidates more than once, and on the second visit, perhaps involve your children in the process. This will allow you to see how they interact with your kids and whether you think they’d be a good fit. Be aware that the candidates will also be reading you to see if your family will be a good match for them, so be on your best behavior and avoid controversial questions about race or religion. As a future employer of a Nanny, you may want to make yourself aware of the legal elements around interviewing and hiring, especially if this is not part of your day job.
After the interview, you can follow up by confirming their references and previous experience. As you’ve now met the candidate, you can ask more specific questions about their manner and personality, to understand them further.
Stage 3 – Hiring your Nanny
Preparing to employ
Hopefully, you’ve found one or two candidates that could fit well with your family. Now it’s time to outline and agree on your schedule, role expectations, and payment. This can all be combined into a working Nanny Contract, which will have clear outlines for the Nanny and your role as an employer. This should be an official document and include:
- Working days and hours each week
- Job expectations, including housework or transport
- Regular payment and overtime
- House rules, e.g., No Smoking, key arrangments
- Reimbursement for groceries or gas
- How to terminate the contract on both sides
- Professional Benefits, e.g., Healthcare
It’s also wise to consider how much you’ll pay your Nanny annually and whether this means you or your Nanny will need to be paying tax. Make sure you’re all in the agreement of overall terms and have a signed copy of the contract for your records.
If you’ve decided to hire through an agency, they may provide you with an entire contract or template that you can use, which is handy. However, the agency may have added clauses regarding their fees, termination timescales, or complaints processes.
Preparing your kids
Kids can react differently to change, and depending on your child’s temperament, you may need to introduce the idea of someone else looking after them slowly. Consider a few visits with your new Nanny, you could begin by all playing together to first introduce them and encourage play and conversation. Then start to remove yourself at a distance, maybe by cooking a meal while they are playing in another room.
This will show your child that they are safe, and you are still available. Slowly you can build this up to you being out of the home while the Nanny is with your children so that they can properly adjust. Some children, however, may not be fazed by your absence and may feel completely comfortable with their new caregiver. Ideally, this relationship between child and Nanny should have time to develop and grow before the Nanny starts with you full time, but often this timescale is not possible, so keep reassuring your child that they are safe.
Stage 4 – Managing the relationship
Starting on the right foot
In this continuous period, you’ll be able to start introducing your new Nanny to the way that things work within your household, from small things like your kitchen layout, and eating habits to the behavioral management of your children. You could create a ‘First Day List’ of essentials that could include health and medicine, important phone numbers, and food preferences.
You’ll want to schedule time with your new Nanny to catch up on the day’s events and any notable incidents with your children, especially in the first few weeks. Try to make sure that you have enough cross-over time to properly discuss and connect to fully understand your child’s actions, the foods they’ve eaten, and their activities. You should also discuss how your Nanny is getting on in the role, do they have any questions or concerns that you need to address. Over time, you may want to monitor the caregiving in different ways; this could include a NannyCam, dropping in unannounced, or even a formal review process.
Nanny – Child Relationship
Maintaining a good Nanny – Child relationship will be crucial to your child’s development in their early years. But how do you know if the relationship is a good one, especially if your child is too young to communicate their needs and emotions? Monitoring your child’s moods when they are with and without your Nanny is an excellent way to understand this. Consider; does your child seem excited and happy to see your Nanny? Or perhaps you’ve noticed some irregular behaviors such as being withdrawn or acting out. These could all be indicators of your child’s relationship with their Nanny.
As time moves on, it’s important to keep getting consistent care from your Nanny. This can be assessed by bringing it back to the essentials; is your child clean and well-fed? Have they been engaging in creative and active tasks that are age-appropriate? Does your Nanny have good judgment on behaviors, safety, and discipline?
If you’re having problems with any of these areas, it’s a good idea to schedule a formal meeting with your Nanny, and perhaps bring examples of your child’s behavior or their activities. Using the job description or behavioral examples from your interview and contract can help to get clarity within this conversation. Remember, if at any point you feel that your child is unsafe, you may want to terminate the relationship with your Nanny.
The key to hiring a Nanny
Overall, the key to hiring a great Nanny is to find someone that fits in with your family unit, morals, and ethos. It’s a complex relationship that has several elements, so you need to think carefully about who you will let into your home.
We’ve provided four clear steps to help you on your journey 1) Finding a Nanny, 2) Interviewing Candidates, 3) Hiring a Nanny, and 4) Managing the relationship. The guidelines within each stage should help you to consider and evaluate your needs as a family, and help you to find someone that meets these needs and expectations.
Remember that using an agency could be an option and may provide you with a different pool of candidates and additional services during the hiring period, which could save you time and effort. Also, speak to friends and family about their experiences with local nannies and see if they have any recommendations for someone that would be a good fit in your home.
We hope that this information will be useful for you to find a great nanny, and continue to provide child care through the important stages of your little one’s life. Good luck with the search, and remember to trust your instincts.