A nanny can be a great addition to your family because they allow parents to get more time to themselves or even back to work after a new baby is born. That transition can sometimes be difficult, which is why a nanny is able to step in and take on some of those infant responsibilities. When it comes to the hiring process, some people get stressed about finding the perfect nanny, but it doesn’t need to be as difficult as they think. Parents have the option of taking on the work themselves or hiring an agency for assistance.
Daycare vs. a nanny: How to choose
Child care decisions are very personal. What works for one person may not work for another. Although licensed daycare centers and in-home facilities are great options, some families prefer to have their children looked after by a nanny.
Many families hire a nanny to provide one-on-one care. Nannies can work around your schedule so you don’t need to pick up or drop off your child at a specific time or take off work when your little one is sick.
A nanny can make it easier to get out of your house in the morning. You don’t need to bring extra clothes, shoes, snacks, or lunch for daycare — all your baby needs are right at your home.
However, it’s always important to consider the possible negatives in any situation. Here are some things to think about:
- One-person staff might not be as reliable as center-based daycare.
- If your nanny becomes ill or is unable to make it to work, you will need to find backup care or stay home.
- It’s possible that you will have to adapt to having a non-family member living in your home.
- Nanny care can also get quite expensive, so be sure to take all your options into consideration.
First steps on how to hire a nanny:
Create a job description
Before you start your search for a babysitter, consider what is most important to you and your family. Next, create a job description that outlines your needs:
- List the hours your nanny will work with start and end times included.
- What level of experience do you require from a caregiver?
- Are you looking for someone certified in infant CPR or a caregiver with a lot of experience?
- Will your nanny be expected to clean around the house and perform other child care tasks, such as grocery shopping?
Make sure you know what you want and that your needs are clearly stated.
There are many ways to meet potential nannies. The best way to find potential nannies is by word of mouth. Ask parents at the playground, in baby classes, or during group meetups. Many times, someone will know about a nanny who is “aged out” of another household — this means that the children are old enough to go to school every day or can be self-sufficient and don’t need as much supervision.
A nanny-placement agency can help you find the perfect candidate if you are looking to expand your potential candidate pool or if time is a constraint. To get an idea of their placement style and method, call a few local agencies. Ask about their process, and how they recommend candidates. Also, consider your budget. Every agency has its own policies, fee structures, and replacement guarantee timelines.
You can also search for a nanny yourself on websites such as Care or UrbanSitter. You can add filters (distance, willingness, and ability to care for pets) to find a nanny that matches your criteria. This eliminates a lot of back-and-forths.
If you are looking for social media recommendations, ensure you thoroughly screen all potential candidates before meeting up in person.
Schedule an Interview
After narrowing down your list to a few candidates, schedule interviews to gain a better understanding of their caregiving style, personality, and expectations. Interviews will allow you to ask questions about their education, background, and training as well as more detailed questions.
Here are some questions to help you screen potential nannies:
- What are your future plans?
- What is your flexibility?
- What would you do in an emergency situation?
These questions will help you get a feel for the candidate’s professionalism, personality, and dedication to the job.
Also, you should ask about their caregiving style (e.g. how they approach screen time and discipline) and if they are comfortable with other household chores like cooking for your children or cleaning up after them.
Get their references
It is crucial to ensure that the applicants have previous experience and high ratings from their employers before you start the nanny job search. Ask for contact information from at least two of the previous employers for each of your finalists.
Make sure you ask specific questions when you call:
- How long did they live with your family, and why did you leave?
- Were you satisfied with their reliability and honesty?
- Can you tell me a story about how they handled difficult situations?
If your previous employer does not return your calls or has little to say, it is time to move on to the next applicant.
Perform a background check
Before you make an offer, it is important to call references and run a background check on the potential nanny.
However, you will need to get the written permission of the candidate to conduct a background check. You can tell them that you may use this information to make decisions regarding his or her employment. You will need the visa number or work permit number of the candidate if they are not U.S. citizens. You should choose a background checking company that is in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. But don’t stop there.
You can also check the National Sex Offender Registry and Child Abuse & Neglect Records. It’s also worth doing an international background check if the candidate is from a different country. It should be reported to the authorities if the nanny refuses authorization for a background check.
Make your decision
You have two outstanding candidates but don’t know which to choose? One of the benefits of working with a placement agency is that the agent can help you determine how the candidate feels about their family. This ensures both parties are enthusiastic about working together.
If you’re still not sure which candidate is right for your family, before you extend an offer, do a trial run with each candidate for a few days to a week.
Get ready for your first day as a nanny
Before you hire a nanny, make sure to sit down together and go over your nanny contract. This should contain information such as salary, job responsibilities, and non-disclosure agreements. Termination clauses are also important to avoid miscommunications.
According to the International Nanny Associations’ most recent survey, the national average monthly salary for a nanny is $3,062. This assumes that a nanny works an average 40-hour week. What you pay a nanny depends on your budget, their salary requirements, and other factors such as job duties and how many children you have.
It is important to work out the salary well in advance. This includes details such as overtime, paid time off, and taxes. Also, make sure you include any bonuses or raises.
You must prepare the SS-4 Form and send it to the IRS. Also, get an employer identification (EIN). This is what you will use to file paperwork for quarterly or annual reporting.
Then, you can calculate your payroll withholdings as well as net pay. According to the Social Security Administration, household workers earning less than $2,200 per week must have taxes taken and paid to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These wages should be reported to Social Security.
It is possible to hire a nanny quickly if you do your research. You should be open with potential nannies and yourself about your needs. Create a plan that you can share with them, and check references. Soon, you will have a caregiver who is committed to your child’s safety, growth, and education.