If you are in the market for a Nanny, a babysitter or a doula, finding and hiring the right Nanny for your family can be stressful for several reasons. You are inviting a stranger into your home to care for your most precious gifts, your children, and you might feel some guilt over needing the extra support. It’s important to remember that a Nanny or Caregiver will become an extension of your home and your family. Armed with the right tools and knowing the right questions to ask, you can alleviate that stress and hire a Nanny knowing you will be adding to your growing household in a positive and loving way.
The Nanny and Caregiver industry is not governed by any one agency, so it’s important to do your due diligence both before and during the process of hiring the right Nanny. To ensure that your new Nanny has the right experience, be sure the agency you work with or if you are hiring a Nanny yourself, you perform a knowledge, safety and criminal background check.
Over the past 19 years, we have become experts in helping many families find the right childcare for their families, many of our Nannies are trained in professional childcare, and we perform extensive research and background checks on all our Nannies before we place them. Today, we want to help you by offering you tips on hiring the right Nanny for your family.
10 Tips on Hiring the Right Nanny
- Know your needs before you begin your search. The first thing to determine is the number of days and hours you want your Nanny to work. Do you want a live-in or live-out? Do you need weekend work? Will any evening hours be needed or only daytime hours?
- Know your budget before you begin your search. The next thing to do is call around or ask your friends and family what they are paying for their Nannies. A Nanny usually works by the hour, and it’s important it’s within your budget to be able to afford your childcare. Once you’ve determined a budget, it’s time to think about what kind of childcare you are looking for.
- Know your criteria before you begin your search. Think of the criteria you want. Do you want the Nanny to be CPR certified? Have a valid driver’s license with a clean driving record? Have the ability to work in the United States without seeking sponsorship? Speak certain languages? All of these things will determine the type of Nanny you are getting ready to hire.
- Know the rules of being an employer. Before you even start to look, do a little research into what you need to know about being an employer. Will you be paying taxes? How will you pay your Nanny? How will you enforce your rules within your home? It’s important to note that the Nanny works for you and will look to you for guidance on what you want for your children.
- Think long term. Unless you are hiring a Baby Nurse or a Newborn Care Specialist, it’s important that you think beyond the first few months of your Nanny working for you. Do you want a Nanny that will grow with your child and be able to keep up with your baby starts to walk and run? Would you like the Nanny to be able to eventually help with homework? And, if this is your first child, how will this Nanny fare with more children? Do they have the stamina, and do they want to care for more than one child? All of these are things to consider when you start your search, as well as to tell whoever is helping you, whether it is an agency or a friend, that you are looking for.
- Give yourself time to search for the right Nanny. In order to make sure you will be hiring the right Nanny, give yourself at least two to three months to conduct your search. This is not the type of decision you want to rush into!
- Know where to look to begin your search. Talk to friends and family who have Nannies they love and see if their Nannies know someone who is looking for Nanny work. Go to reliable mommy groups on Facebook or in your local city and let them know you are in the Nanny market. Search online. Call around to a few Nanny Placement Agencies and see what their criteria are for placing Nannies in the home. Do they do background checks? How extensive is the research they do? Do they charge a placement fee? What is the process they go through to vet their nannies and what is the process they go through with you as they Nanny/family match? Do they have a pool of nannies for you to choose from? We suggest you are already working on our eighth tip, but you might have more questions to ask your Nanny after talking to the placement agency.
- Have a list of questions ready for the Nanny interviews. Our suggestion is to start writing down your questions as soon as you start with tip #1. There are lots of questions you can ask your Nanny and lots of questions you should ask your Nanny, but ultimately, your questions should reflect your own personal needs and goals. We suggest you ask ‘What if’ questions. Such as, ‘What if you get locked out of the house with the kids inside?’ and ‘What if my child falls and hits their head?’ We also suggest you ask about their discipline styles, can they cook and are they health conscious, do they exercise on a regular basis, and, of course, how much experience do they have and with what age children. Also, be sure to ask them for references! It’s important and will give you peace of mind.
- Check background and references. If you go through a reputable agency, they have probably done a background check as well as checked references. But, if you are going from the recommendation of a friend, be sure to not only ask for references, but let the Nanny know you are doing a background check. Here are a few questions we suggest you ask the references. How often the Nanny came to work late, called in sick or didn’t show up at all? Why did you stop using this Nanny? How did your children respond to the Nanny? Was using this Nanny a positive experience and why?
- Write a contract and make an offer. Once you’ve made your decision it’s time to write the contract and present an offer. Make sure you spell everything out in the contract from the hours expected for work to vacation and sick days. As we said in tip #4, you need to know how to be an employer! An agency might have a standard contract, but even if they do, it’s still smart to make your own edits and if the agency wants to add what is in your contract to theirs, that’s all the better. The contract doesn’t just protect you, but also the new Nanny.
Now that your Nanny has accepted your offer and signed on the dotted line, it’s time for the relationship to begin! Remember, when you are hiring the right Nanny, they become a member of your family, so treat them like one. If you need help finding and hiring the right Nanny in Houston, please give us a call at 713-963-8880 or contact us via email at Nanny@motherhoodcenter.com. We have many nannies and are sure we will be able to find one that suits your family perfectly!