How to hire a nanny for your baby

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How to hire a nanny for your baby

From Pregnancy & Baby on

Contrary to what some people think -- and what may have once been true -- a nanny is not just for rich families. In fact, having a nanny, either live-in or live out, is becoming a more popular form of child care. Whether you are a two income family with involved careers or a busy at-home mom with too much to accomplish and not enough time, a nanny may be the answer to your childcare dilemma.

Tiffani Goings, a Phoenix based professional nanny, loves her job. Before becoming a full time nanny four years ago, she babysat for over seven years. The families she works with can attest to her commitment and passion for children. She states that the great majority of her families are average, everyday people who want quality care for their children. And while Goings says that you can't get to know someone completely until you work with them, it is important to carefully approach the hiring process.

4 Questions to ask yourself when hiring a nanny

You know that you want a nanny, but how AND WHERE do you begin? Candi Wingate, President of and a mom of a two young boys, offers guidance on how to approach the hiring process.

Follow her step-by-step suggestions and you'll be ready to find the perfect match for your family.

  1. Don't rush! Do not wait until the last minute to begin your search. Allow yourself enough time to seek candidates, interview, and make a decision.
  2. Live-in or live-out? Decide what type of arrangement will work best for your family. If you decide on a live-in nanny, you will provide her with a private room, and private or shared bathroom, and board.
  3. How much help do you need? Review your needs and determine what type of help you want -- full time, part time, summer help, etc. You should know exactly what you require so that you can find a nanny who is looking for the type of position you will offer.
  4. Additional responsibilities? Nannies are often responsible for more than simply supervising your children. Do you want your nanny to have other responsibilities? In addition to general child care, your nanny may perform light housekeeping, grocery shopping, meal preparation, running errands, carpooling and laundry -- basically anything pertaining to your children. You may also discuss other arrangements with your nanny, depending on your needs.

Once you have thought through your family's requirements and concluded what type of situation will work for you, it's time to begin your search.

Where to Look

There are several places to find potential candidates -- matching services such as, a nanny placement service, word of mouth or even Craig's List. Ask your friends if they have any recommendations and help spread the word you are looking through your facebook page or twitter account. Research your options and find one that you both feel comfortable with and that fits your budget. You can spend as little as no money by using a free site and as much as several thousand dollars by using a placement agency, with several options in between.

Interviewing and choosing

Once you have potential candidates that you would like to learn more about, Wingate has several suggestions. Begin with a phone interview. If you feel like you might be compatible and want to learn more, arrange an in-person meeting. Wingate suggests that for the first meeting, you agree upon a place other than your home, such as a coffee shop or bakery. If that goes well, you can then bring the nanny to your home for an additional interview and to meet your children.

During your interviews, there are several pieces of information you will want to know, such as the nanny's past experience, her philosophies on discipline and authority, whether she has any "extras" such as CPR and first aid certification, and her schedule.

As a nanny, Tiffani Goings suggests you ask your candidate whether she plans to have children one day. While it is does not necessarily hold true in all cases, Goings believes that most nannies that plan to have children nanny because they truly love what they do. Again, although there are certainly exceptions, she believes that most nannies should have a passion for children such that they want them one day as well.

Goings also suggests asking the nanny some questions that are a little more personal than your average interview questions -- nothing illegal or too personal -- but more conversational than questions you might ask if you were hiring for an office job, for example. While Goings wouldn't divulge her entire life in an interview, she expects that families want to get to know her on a more individual level. She realizes that should she receive a job offer, the family hiring her will trust her with the most important things in their world - their children. Additionally, she will become an important part of their daily lives.

Wingate stresses the importance of doing your homework before hiring a nanny. Many nanny matching services offer background checks on all of the nannies. Should you find a nanny that does not already have a background check, run one. You may want to obtain DMV reports if your nanny will drive your children. Wingate also emphasizes the need to check references. She suggests that you when you ask your potential nanny for her references, be sure to insist on land line contact numbers, not cell phone numbers, because the latter are easier to track.

Negotiating the details

You've interviewed all of your candidates, reviewed their backgrounds, and you finally feel like you've found the right nanny for your family. When you initially offer her the job -- and after she accepts it -- it is time to work out the specifics such as salary, hours, duties, benefits such as vacation time and health insurance, sick days, and anything else you agree upon as part of your new relationship.

Put it in writing

Finally, Wingate suggests putting your agreement in writing in the form of a contract. Specifically spell out the terms you agreed to so that there is no misunderstanding down the road.

Hiring a nanny shouldn't be stressful or overwhelming. Give yourself ample time, take Wingate's suggestions to heart, and you'll be on your way!