5 Important Tips to Consider When Hiring a New Nanny

There are many reasons families result in hiring a nanny or a household worker to assist with their daily domestic duties. Whether parents work a lot or work too late, or just need to relieve some pressure, getting help from someone with the proper skills is beneficial. Think about if you would prefer other childcare options like after-school care or something like YMCA or Boys and Girls Club. Childcare is something that is important in a family’s daily life and the thought of leaving your children alone with a stranger for extended periods of time can be mind wrecking.

The process of finding someone that fits your family can get stressful whether its something you’re used to or brand new. There are things to keep in mind when going through the process of finding a great caregiver.

1. Know what you’re looking for.

The first place to start is determining what sort of nanny you’re looking for. Understand the needs of your children and base your decision heavily off them. Do you need a nanny to live with you or one that works part-time or overnight? These criteria are crucial in finding the perfect fit. Note what qualities you want your nanny to have and what you don’t want in your new nanny. This list will be drastically helpful when you need to create a precise job description and get to the decision process and need to narrow down your options.

Be realistic about what you would like your nanny to be doing. Remember that you’re hiring a nanny, not a robot. Focus on whether your nanny has other household domestic skills like washing dishes and laundry, running errands, cleaning or caring for pets, and consider the time it takes to do those things.

You hire a nanny to do the things you can’t do or don’t want to do so be thoughtful and upfront about what you would like for them to do. Some nannies don’t particularly want to do all of your household duties and some are fine with it, so be direct when noting the qualities you’re looking for in the job description.

2. Figure a budget that works for you.

Knowing what kind of budget you have is just as important as understanding what you’re looking for. Leave a little room for flexibility. Hiring a nanny can get expensive, so make sure not to over budget and put your self in a sticky situation. If you decide to choose a part-time nanny, figure a realistic pay rate for their duties. But if you choose an overnight nanny or a nanny that stays with you, factor in the fact that you are providing them room and board and access to your utilities and to your family for the time they are there.

Consider how you want to pay your employee. Do you feel more comfortable giving them written checks, paying them in cash or a direct deposit? This can be the tricky part as you have to make sure your nanny is allowed to work in the U.S. and the appropriate tax paperwork is completed.

3. Take the hiring process seriously.

Hiring outside help can be scary as you are letting a stranger into your home and in close vicinity of your family. Hiring a nanny should be taking very seriously and should take a little more time than you may like. There are many things that have to be considered when picking the perfect caretaker for your family.

Find a candidate online at one of these sites:

  • UrbanSitter
  • Sittercity
  • Babino
  • SittingAround
  • Seeking Sitters
  • Bubble
  • Wyndy

Interview your candidates thoroughly.

Interview all of your candidates face-to-face to get a true feel of their personalities. The interview process can seem intense as you need to make sure that someone is safe for your kids. Don’t run your interviews like a corporate interview; simply take the time to jot down certain questions that reveal the qualities you want. The interviews should be personalized and extensive because remember that you are trying to fill a special position.

Come up with scenarios to give the candidates to see how they will respond to various situations. Try to find out how their minds work and what kind of caregiver they are. Make sure you and your nanny are on the same page and agree upon what kind of discipline you will allow. Kids aren’t cute and sweet all of the time and to bend rules so, this is a crucial portion of your interview process.

Background check

When hiring anyone to work for you or a business, a background check should be included. Criminal history should be a priority when allowing a stranger into your personal space. There are companies that can do this for you to make your life simpler.

Most agencies will do a federal and county criminal check and a sex offender database check and should be what you consider doing as well. If you are requiring that your nanny be able to drive your children to the places they need to go, run a DMV check as well. Credit checks are good for when you’re expecting your nanny to use your money/credit card to make purchases. Drug tests are just as important because drug users should not be responsible for caring for children.


Would you want your nanny to tutor your kids when needed? There should be some kind of educational background. Do you want them to have basic academic knowledge or a college degree? This is important to narrow down your candidates to what you’d like.


Get at least 3 references that are childcare related and make sure they are not friends or family. Accept references from supervisors, co-workers, or parents of the previous children they cared for only. It should stand out to you if a candidate has no references. Be smart when contacting references and ask them to give you dates, duties, and schedule they had and  match them to what you are looking for

4. Discuss everything with your family.

Once you’ve narrowed down your candidates to the ones you are considering, discuss them with your family. To make things less awkward, fill them in on your entire hiring process and what you kept in mind. Ask them what they are wanting in a nanny and how comfortable they would feel with the schedules and rules you have come up with. Weigh the pros and cons, too, to help you make the final decision.

5. Conduct a trial period.

A trial period is necessary for hiring. Observe the way he/she works and how they interact with your family. This will allow you time to get to know the nanny on a personal level and to get comfortable with her. Don’t interfere too much when observing them work so your children can get comfortable with them being around.