Hire the Right Nanny

There is not enough credit given to trusting your gut but I swear by it. It’s treated me well for countless babysitters and three nannies. While I definitely recommend it, it certainly shouldn’t be your only way of qualifying your nanny.

Here is my traditional and not so traditional plan of attack for hiring a nanny. Pick and choose what you feel would work best for you and your family from this list.

  1. Background checks. Duh. Signup for care.com account - the paid account on their site handles background checks for you.

  2. Post a job on care.com or reach out to potentials that seem to fit your style. Pro tip - if you post a job on care.com you will get lotsssssss of responses so see the next few steps to help you narrow down.

  3. Read reviews. See above. If you’re using care.com (and I recommend you do), you can also read reviews about each potential candidate from other families.

  4. Have a phone screen first. It can save you a ton of time as you’ll get a feel for what they’re looking for much faster. Here are some helpful questions depending on the candidate:

    1. Ensure availability works for the care you need.

    2. Ask why they are in childcare?

    3. Longterm plans?

    4. Best childcare position they’ve had?

    5. Worst childcare position they’ve had?

    6. Hobbies?

    7. Siblings? Family?

    8. Favorite foods? Movies?

    9. Favorite thing to do with kids?

    10. Favorite kids age?

    11. What was their favorite thing to do as a kid? At various ages?

  5. Ask for references. Then call them. You can learn a ton just by having a conversation with another parent. Ask them specific questions like what were the hours of care? What were the main daily activities? Was their child happy to see the nanny? Sad to see him or her leave? Favorite activity?

  6. Take the nanny out for coffee or lunch without the kids. It can give you time to really get to know them while you aren’t using half (or 88%, let’s be real) of your brain to parent.

  7. Have the potential nanny meet the kids. It’s really easy to see how natural and interested the nanny is in children just by watching them interact for a short time.

  8. Hire them to babysit for one night. You get a date night out and the nanny gets some practice.

  9. Have a trial “day” by scheduling 3-4 hours with the nanny while you’re home. I once had a trial day with a potential nanny by having her come over and help with my newborn and toddler before I went back to work. After a few hours I knew it wasn’t the right fit. However, the next nanny I interviewed hung out with the kids and I for a few hours and I knew it was a perfect fit almost immediately.

  10. Check out their social media and work profiles. It’s not stalking if it’s public.

  11. Trust your gut.

  12. Remember no one is perfect.

  13. Refer to #11 again after you think about #12 for awhile.

Good luck - I hope this helps you find the perfect nanny!!

Kate Lockhart