Hiring a Nanny: Where to Start

Whether or not you plan to utilize the services of a nanny agency, you should come up with a “profile” that matches the exact person who you are seeking prior to starting the search for a nanny. This profile will be crucial to find the perfect match for your family’s needs and personality. Many parents find it hard to pinpoint the characteristics that they are seeking in a nanny, but it is crucial to know exactly what (or who) you are looking for before you start the search. This is the person who will be in charge of the safe keeping of your children while you are gone!

Simply grab a pen and start jotting down your thoughts while asking yourself (and your partner) the questions listed below. You can add and adjust the answers as you give the list a second and third glance.

  1. How many children do you have? Their ages?
  2. What personality traits or characteristics are you seeking? (Think about your children and the type of person that they would respect and enjoy being with all day long.)
  3. What time do you need the nanny to start and finish? Do you require flexibility and can you be flexible with the schedule?
  4. Is the nanny going to be sole-charged? Do you work in the home? How will the arrangements/schedule be worked out if you are working in the home?
  5. How many hours/days per week do you need the nanny?
  6. Will the nanny be required to live in or out? What and where are the accommodations if live-in? What are your rules for the curfew and visitors if live-in?
  7. Would you prefer a non-smoker?
  8. Will you require any overtime?
  9. What is the salary range?
  10. What types of benefits do you plan to offer? (i.e. Health insurance, holidays, sick days, cell phone, car?)
  11. Do you need a nanny who drives? Would the nanny need their own car or do you plan to provide one? Will you pay for gas? Will you allow the nanny to bring the children to her own planned activities? Will you provide a stipend for this?
  12. What types of activities are your children involved in? Will the nanny be responsible to transport the children to their activities?
  13. Do you expect the nanny to perform any non-child related duties, such as housekeeping or errands? What percentage of the day to you plan for these non-child related duties to take up?
  14. Do you need the nanny to be able to cook? Should she plan to cook family meals or just meals for the children?
  15. Do you require the nanny to have an education degree? Early childhood degree? Nursing degree? Teaching degree?
  16. Is it important that the nanny has CPR/First Aid Certification, a criminal record check or additional training? What types?
  17. Will you need your nanny to travel with you?
  18. Do you want someone who speaks another language?
  19. Would you prefer your nanny to adhere to a dress code or simply dress comfy for fun play with the kids?
  20. What types of activities would you like the nanny to do with the kids? (i.e. arts and crafts, outdoor play)

Some of these questions may seem like a waste of time, but do not overlook them. For example, question #20. Some nannies enjoy outdoor play and getting messy while painting with the children, while other nannies would rather stay inside and do quiet activities like reading books. You want to match the nanny’s interests with your children’s.

Another question that may seem obvious, but sometimes is not, is the question about a dress code. You want a nanny to represent your family while she is watching the children, and possibly transporting them to their activities, so be sure to be clear about the type of clothing that is appropriate in your mind for the nanny.

Remember, you are looking for someone who will be perfect for your children while you are jotting down the answers to the questions. So, think about what your children like and don’t like and the type of nanny that they will enjoy spending time with. Good luck with your search!

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