Finding and selecting a nanny for your newborn is one of the most important choices you will make as a new parent, and it is one you will have to make early on. Naturally, you want the best caregiver available, given your location, budget, and needs. The good news is that “the best” does not have to be out of reach — you just need to know not necessarily where to look for him or her but rather how.
As one mother and blogger so eloquently put it, you don’t come across the world’s best nanny by accident. Rather, you conjure him or her by design and through a very specific plan. Below is an overview of what that plan should include.
How To Start Your Search for a Nanny
The truth is that there is no shortage of places in which you can begin your search for a nanny. From caregiver listing sites to social media platforms to friends and family, there are dozens of places and people where you can turn for quality caregiver suggestions.
Ideally, you will vet referrals first. Referrals are free and often have significant merit. However, if a personal referral doesn’t pan out, consider using social platforms to seek recommendations. Members of neighborhood groups can point you toward caring and trustworthy people in your area. You can use listing sites in conjunction with your other efforts or as your sole means of searching for a nanny. However, know that to access caregiver databases, you will have to pay a monthly or annual fee, which averages between $35 and $120 per month to $140 to $220 per year.
Creating a List of Criteria
Regardless of which method you use to search for a nanny, show up to the search prepared with a non-negotiable list of criteria. Create a job description that covers all the things that matter to you, ranging from day and hour requirements to personal values and beliefs. It is okay to be picky, as you are looking for a person to essentially love, care for and raise your child when you cannot be around to do so yourself. Though your list of wants and needs will look different from other parents, examples of must-haves are as follows:
- CPR certification
- Ability to speak a second language
- X years of experience
- Ability to perform non-child-related tasks, such as laundry and grocery shopping
Know that it is not unreasonable to ask that your future caregiver loves your children and that he or she be someone you actually like.
Conducting Nanny Interviews & Background Checks
Once you’ve narrowed down the list of candidates to three to five individuals, schedule interviews. In addition to asking the traditional interview questions, veer from the unexpected to get more genuine responses. For instance, ask candidates about their favorite childhood books or what they enjoy doing in their free time. How candidates answer these questions can help you get to know them a bit better and give you an idea of how truthful they are in their other responses.
Aside from the Q&A, your interview should include a meet and greet between your child and the potential nanny. Ask several scenario-based questions, such as, “What would you do if my child got hurt in your care?” Wrap up the process with a thorough background check that includes contacting references.
How To Ensure Your Nanny Is a Good Match
If you like a candidate but want to ensure he or she is a good match, invite him or her to participate in a trial run (paid, of course). Make yourself scarce during this period, but remain close enough that you can assess how he or she interacts with your child and vice versa. Regardless of how great someone seems on paper, you can gain a more accurate impression by watching him or her in action.
Finding and hiring a nanny is a big to-do as a new parent. Be kind to yourself during the search process. If you need help, use self-care tips for new parents.