Balancing childcare with your career and social life can get really hard. For one, your child is important but so is your job because it provides the income with which to care your little one. There is also the benefit of work and a social life to your mental health to consider. Thankfully, with a nanny on ground, a nice balance can be struck. And you won’t have to sacrifice good childcare or any aspect of your life. However, before you start your search for one, you need to know how to choose a good nanny. What special skills does she need to have? How many hours would she have to work? Deciding on issues like these before starting your nanny search will greatly facilitate the process. We’ve put down some tips to help you choose a good nanny. Hopefully, you’ll find them helpful.

Tip 1: Write down requirements for the job

To do this, you’ll need to consider your child’s needs, your family’s needs, your parenting style and special arrangements. Some examples of things to consider here are number of kids to be cared for, their ages and any special needs they might have. Days of the week, time and the number of hours you need her for are also major factors to be considered. Write down any certifications, qualifications you’d like your nanny to have. And be sure to include skills too. Some skills you may require include: cooking, driving, first aid, previous childcare experience with children your child’s age etc.

There may be days when you’ll need the nanny to work overtime due to some engagements you’re involved in. Write those down too. It’s also important to include whether you’ll need them to perform basic chores like cooking, washing and ironing the child’s clothes etc. It’s also important that you discuss special arrangements like playdates, school runs and things like that with the nanny – if they’re part of her job description. Remember to factor all of these in when you’re determining her wages.

Writing all of these down will provide some guidance as you go about your search. It’ll be like a job requirement document you refer to when you’re screening potential candidates. Talking about screening, remember to note a request for references and a reminder to perform background checks. Important background checks you should perform are DBS checks (for any criminal records or warnings) and checks for clean driving records.

Tip 2: Where to find a good nanny

Once you’ve gotten your requirements down, you may start wondering: how do I find the best nanny? We’ve got that base covered. You can start the search with any or all of these 3 ways:

  • Nanny recruitment agencies
  • Nanny listing websites
  • Recommendations from other parents

Using any of the first two options takes the bulk of the nanny search off you. Nanny recruitment agencies and Nanny listing sites will help you find qualified nannies who match your needs. These agencies employ experts to handle the background checks and the screening of records and references of the nannies before notifying you of a match. But their services aren’t for free and their fees tend to be the high side. However, if money isn’t a problem, nanny placement agencies are really convenient options. Some popular nanny agencies are the International Nanny Association (nanny.org) and The association of premier nanny agencies (theapna.org). Nanny placement websites on the other hand are less expensive. You’ll post job descriptions (remember that list you made from Tip 1?) and be shown profiles of available nannies that match. Popular nanny listing sites include care.com and sittercity.com.

If you’d rather find a nanny on your own, you can start by asking parents you know for recommendations. The advantage with this option is that potential nannies may be members of your community and you could be helping them out with work. What’s more, they’re easier to run checks on. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your due diligence. Carry out the necessary checks and screenings diligently.

Tip 3: Interview your selected candidates

When you find candidates with profiles you like, it’s time to contact them. Reach out to them via calls or emails and discuss their availability and your requirements with them. If you’re using an agency or a listing website, this would have been sorted out by them. But you may want to ensure the potential nanny understands your unique needs and also confirm her qualifications and abilities. However, if you’re handling the search yourself, you’ll to discuss these things with potential nannies yourself. Ask her if she’ll be available to care for your kids on the particular days and time you need. Ask her about previous experiences with childcare work and ask for her references.

This is basically the time when you screen through your options to find the most likely person for the job. Use the job requirement list you created at the beginning to shortlist candidates. Always consult it but remember to keep your expectations realistic. When interviewing nannies, pay attention to your instincts. No matter how well you connect with a candidate, don’t skip background checks and talking to their references. Don’t forget to ask for their social media handles and check their profiles and posts. This can give you valuable information that’ll show if her beliefs and value system goes with your family’s.

Tip 4: Schedule one-on-one interviews

interview to choose a good nanny

When you’ve found your most likely candidates, invite them for an in-person interview. It’s a good idea to have your children present so you see how she interacts with them. During the interview, get a feel for her personality and ask detailed questions. Discuss your expectations and clarify hours, wages and vacations. Pay attention to how she responds. This is important if you’re really thinking about how to choose the right nanny for your family.

Depending on the outcome of the interview, you can invite the candidate to your home for a paid trial run. It can last for a few hours or the whole day, depending on your needs. This will give her and your family time to form a connection. You can perform her duties while you watch her interaction with your family. If she fits in well with your family and needs, you may have found a winner.

Tip 5: To choose a good nanny, keep things legal

Make sure you find out if your nanny is legally allowed to earn income or work in your country. Ask for a copy as proof and let her know you’ll be keeping it. You may also want check their social security number. Be prepared to take on the responsibility of paying tax and other employee benefits that may be required in your country.

Knowing how to choose a good nanny increase your chances of finding reliable help with childcare. Start the process of looking for a good nanny early, up to 3 months earlier than you need them. As good nannies are in high demand and you may find yourself in competition with another family for one. Take time to research a candidate before hiring her; a nanny will be more or less an extension of your family after all. When you find your nanny, show her your family emergency contacts, home safety items and emergency plan. Ensure she knows how to find the hospitals and what to do in case of emergencies.

Create a written contract that clearly states her duties and compensation. Make sure she understands if you’d rather not have her taking pictures of your kids or home and sending them to people or social media without your permission. And that she understands who is allowed to contact your kids. When you know how to choose a good nanny, you can even start to enjoy the process – and make lifelong friends as you go.