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What to Consider Before Hiring a Nanny

Hiring a nanny is one of the most significant decisions people can make, but they often face problems while looking. After searching online, talking to relatives and friends, and holding interviews, you feel you aren’t getting any closer to finding the right person to care for your child or children.

Here’s what to consider before hiring a nanny to make the task easier.

Look for nannies with experience

Not only should you ask for experience right from the start, but ask for a specific experience. For instance, taking care of twins differs from caring for just one child. If a candidate makes a general statement, like “I’ve taken care of many babies,” ask for something more specific.

As a rule of thumb, get someone who has looked after children the same age as yours for the same number of hours in a day. A casual babysitter is fine if you’re only looking for them to come in now and then. On the other hand, a full-time nanny should have years of experience and suitable qualifications. Don’t hesitate to run background checks on your candidates to confirm these.

Joyful nanny and kid playing with blocks

Bring up parenting methods and preferences from the start

The best time to consider parenting methods and preferences is before you hire a nanny. During the interview, talk about housework, media use, playmates and visitors, food, and driving. 

Consider any additional duties you might need her to perform, such as cooking, laundry, washing bottles, and preparing snacks. If so, is it ok to do these when the baby is awake or only when they are asleep?

Be clear with expectations about television and phone use. Can she use her phone or watch TV, and when? Again, establish if this would only be allowed while the baby is napping.

Can she bring visitors to your home, like her own children? Should she look for playmates for your child?

Should the baby sleep in the crib, be left to sleep alone, or should she carry and rock the baby?

Some people prefer that their nannies bring their own food, while others have no problem with them eating from their fridges. Bring this up during the interview.

Will you need her to drive your child to activities? If so, will you provide a car seat, or does she have one already?

young nanny reading to toddler

Red flags

There are certain red flags to watch for to prevent bad decisions.

These include seemingly small things like candidates that roll their eyes when they talk about previous clients or make disparaging comments.

While this is not necessarily a deal-breaker, it’s good to discuss.

young nanny playing with toddler

Vacation and payment

Be clear about details like vacation and payment. You need to agree on these before you hire someone. Discuss your vacation policy, her days off, and how you will be making payment. Can she ask for time off, or will you fix her time off in advance? Do you need to plan for several days off for her or not? What days will she be off, including vacation, holidays, or sick days? Will she get paid time off? How will you pay – a flat rate or an hourly wage? Will you pay for overtime?

Will you pay once a month or once a week? On what date or day of the week? It’s best to print out a calendar and note the dates on which she can expect payment. Finally, consider whether you’ll pay online, in cash, or by check.

cheerful nanny playing with blocks to entertain toddler

Call her references

The last interview stage is calling her references if everything else is fine. You might end up reconsidering her after you contact her previous clients. The best candidate is someone with excellent reviews across the board, which comes highly recommended by all. You can ask them general questions, but also make sure you ask specific ones, such as: 

  • Would you hire this nanny again?
  • Did any issues come up?
  • Did she ever go above and beyond for you?
  • How many days was she late?
  • How often did she call out sick?
  • How did you find her?

This last one aims to weed out references who are friends with or related to the nanny. You’re looking for professional relationships only.

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