The care of your children is of the greatest importance. Finding the perfect nanny should not be just a roll of the dice, but a detailed, careful process. Before you hire a nanny, keep these thoughts in mind.
- Is it right for you? There are different options for childcare including nannies, daycare centers or using a family member like a grandparent. Weigh the pros and cons of each to determine which would be best for your family.
- Prepare a job description. Write down your expectations. A nanny's primary role is focusing on the children, which includes feeding, playing with, teaching and cleaning up after them. Nannies are not housekeepers unless it is cleaning up after the children. Duties above and beyond that such as detailed house cleaning need to be disclosed before you hire your nanny.
- Register with agencies. The more agencies you register with, the more resources you will have available to choose from. Ask for resumes and background information, then make a few selections for interviewing. Take the time to talk to several prospects so you can get a feel for different childcare styles.
- Interview. Set up interviews during a time the children are present. You can get an idea of how the nanny would interact with your kids and if you approve of the style. Discuss your ground rules like is it OK to take the children out, can the nanny have guests over and if you enforce a limit on the amount of time your children spend watching television. Let the nanny know who is in charge of discipline and the consequences that should be faced if one of the kids doesn't follow the rules.
- Experience. Make sure your nanny has the experience you expect. Some parents are OK with younger, less experienced nannies if they are comfortable with them. Other parents want a seasoned nanny with solid, long-term experience with several families.
- Compatibility. Does the nanny fit into your family lifestyle? Do you want her to immerse as part of your family or do you prefer to view her as an employee? Either way, if you think she will raise the kids with the values you want instilled in them, you likely found a good fit.
- Background checks. Once you've found a good nanny, check her references, employment and, if possible, run a background check. Some agencies already take that step but remember, she will be alone with your children. There is nothing wrong with verifying as much information as possible when it comes to the care of your family.