The search for a nanny typically begins in one of three ways; talking to other moms and getting personal referrals, working with a nanny agency, or using an online resource.
When you are looking for a nanny you need to consider and prioritize many variables including:
• Do you want someone who can drive?
• Does she need to have her own car?
• What language(s) do want her to be able to speak?
• How many hours a week do you need coverage?
• How much flexibility do you need in the schedule?
• Do you need someone who has evening and weekend availability?
• Do you want someone who will travel with you on an extended vacation?
• What sort of educational background do you desire?
The Nanny Interview Process
It makes everyone comfortable to have your initial interview in a public place – your local coffee shop is always a good bet. For a second interview you can invite the nanny to your home so she can meet your child and get a better feel for your living situation.
If you think you may have found a match, it makes sense to have the nanny work for your family for a few days while you are still in the interview process. During this time you and/or your spouse should be at home with the nanny and your children. (This can be done on weekends or evenings too.) You can see first hand how she acts in your home, get to know her a little better, and see how your children respond to her. It will help both you and the nanny ensure that it is a right fit and that you will both be happy long term.
Nanny Background Checks
Once you have interviewed and selected a nanny it is important to perform a background check to ensure the safety of your family. The background verification process can include the following: searching county records for felony and misdemeanor convictions, running a DMV report, verifying her social security number, reviewing her TrustLine registration, drug testing, and/or performing a sex offender registry check. In addition, it is also important to talk to as many references and prior employers as possible to get a good understanding of their experiences with the nanny. If you work through an agency, they will typically handle all of this for you.
There are a few services that will help you perform background checks before you hire a nanny.
Establishing a Contract
The next step is to put together a contract outlining salary, vacation and sick day policies, and clear expectations. Like any other employment situation, this will ensure that both the family and the nanny are on the same page as to the specifics of the childcare arrangement. The less ambiguity there is – the better.
Salary, Payroll & Taxes for Household Help
Payroll agencies are a great way to coordinate paying your nanny’s wages and appropriate taxes. It is advisable to discuss the arrangement with your accountant to ensure all of the necessary tax implications are addressed. Don’t forget to check with your employer regarding child care set-aside accounts. You may be able to pay for a portion of the expense using pre-tax dollars.
One of the most common questions I hear moms ask each other is “what are you paying your nanny?” Nobody wants to lose a good nanny to a “nanny snatcher” so you want to make sure you are paying your nanny a fair wage. Rates can vary dramatically depending on a number of factors including:
Geographical location: A nanny in Manhattan or Silicon Valley is going to cost more than one in a smaller, less affluent town.
Number of children: Watching 1 child is much different that caring for 3 or 4 kids of various ages.
Years of experience: A nanny with 1 or 2 years of experience will command less pay than one with 10-15 years of experience.
Additional responsibilities or special needs: If you ask you nanny to cook, do extra housework, or drive a considerable amount, this will typically cost a bit more.
Also, if your child has special needs, you will likely need to pay more for someone who is properly trained to provide appropriate care.
Here are a few services that can help you with all of the logistics and details around payroll and taxes. If you go through an agency, they will often be able to provide you guidance in these areas as well.
Internal Revenue Service – search for publication 926, household employers tax guide
Legally Nanny – household employment law firm
The First Week with Your New Nanny
If you are able, try to take a few days or a week to work at home when your new nanny starts to ease the transition for your children, and to be there to answer any questions as your nanny is learning her routine. It will help your children, and it will help to give you peace of mind to know that everything will be in control when you are at the office or out of the home.
Also, if your nanny has not recently taken an infant or pediatric CPR class, be sure to sign her up.
Websites to Help You Find the Best Nanny
When you are ready to start interviewing nanny or au pair candidates, you have a few options. There are online resources available to you or you can work with an agency in your local area.
4EverythingNanny.com – find local agencies all over the country
Care.com – Free Background Checks. Safe & Easy.
Choose The Right Nanny (In Dallas and NYC they can help you find other domestic help too)
Mother’s Helper – Boston, Chicago & Denver
San Francisco Bay Area Nanny Agencies:
Los Angeles Nanny Agencies:
A Nanny Solution – Orange County
VIP Nannies & Household Staffing – Ventura, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles & Orange County
Chicago Nanny Agencies:
Nanny Agencies in New Jersey:
In a Pinch, Inc.
Nanny Agencies in Massachusetts:
Parents in a Pinch
Nanny agencies in Seattle:
Annie’s Nannies Household Staffing
Consulting Services for Families & Nannies
Some people will need a little support in learning how to bring a nanny into their family situation in a positive manner that works for everyone.
The Nanny Doctor
“In the spirit of Attachment Theory, Dr. Lindsay Heller seeks to promote positive relationships between families and their nannies that create strong, healthy, secure emotional bonds between children and their caregivers that will nurture future meaningful relationships.”
Nanny/ Babysitter Cameras
We’ve all seen those horrible videos of children being neglected and abused by the very people who have been hired to take care of them. The images are heart breaking to watch. There are many different cameras on the market now that you can easily install around your home. Some people set them up and have the video feeds link right into their computers so they can monitor their nanny and child throughout the day. Give yourself the peace of mind and install a camera, or a few, around your home.
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