Let’s face it, finding childcare is an underestimated phase in the excitement of welcoming a new baby into your family, but it’s a vital one for most families these days. With more and more families choosing to hire an in-home nanny, the steps to find the right fit are sometimes difficult and foreign to navigate by yourself, so where do you even begin?
Hopefully you haven’t yet reached the SOS phase of exhausting all your resources, time and efforts to find a trustworthy and experienced professional to care for your precious little ones, but even if you have, you can hit a hard reset and start fresh with these steps.
1. Research your local industry. There may be agencies nearby or friends and colleagues who have hired a nanny before, so know what the market rates are in your area. Look up similar jobs in your area so you can offer a competitive position and attract quality candidates. If local rates are outside of your budget, hiring an au pair can be a more cost-effective solution while still receiving one on one care for your child.
2. Establish your needs and structure the position before you start the search. Knowing the schedule, basic duties and tasks, pay range, and benefits ahead of time will allow you to draft a thorough job description and relay your needs successfully. Assess your biggest needs and list them out because when you know what the role entails ahead of time, the candidates will feel more confident that they can meet your needs. Professional caregivers are looking for basic industry standards such as guaranteed wages, paid time off, and legal pay when job searching, so including those will be essential to attracting the right people.
3. Have a multiple step interview process. Most industries these days have multiple stages to an interview and hiring process, and hiring a nanny for your family should too. Set up an initial interview that is just between the adults. This will allow you all to focus on the fit, needs, and whether or not it’s a skill match. If the first interview goes well, have the candidate over for a meet and greet with the kids or a working interview where you can see the nanny in action, and they can get a feel for what it would be like to work with your family.
4. Trust your gut! The greener candidate might feel like a better fit for your family than someone with years and years of experience, and it’s always important to trust your parental instincts when it comes to who cares for your kids. Walking away from an interview process 100% confident is worth the wait when finding the right fit for your little ones. Make sure you call the candidate’s former employers and talk with them on the phone, and also run a background check on whoever you end up hiring. Having the peace of mind from each of these helps immensely.
5. Use an employment agreement. Establish all of the employment parameters up front so everyone is on the same page when your nanny starts on day one. Listing out tasks and duties, wages, and protocol for certain circumstances will help define a healthy employment relationship. Set up official bi-annual reviews to make sure you nurture the relationship as well.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or if you don’t have the time to put into finding a nanny, a local agency in your area may be able to help! Finding someone who is a great match can be a full time job, so enlisting the help of a professional can go a long way. Welcoming someone into your family dynamic can be tricky, so communicate often, always treat your nanny as an equal in front of your kids, and work as a team to establish a trusting, respectful and long-lasting partnership with your nanny!
Laura Frank is the owner and founder of Southern Standard Nannies in Nashville, TN. She and her team have helped hundreds of families find peace of mind with childcare in the local Nashville area. As a former nanny, new mother, and now a nanny employer, she understands the process from all angels and knows it truly takes a village.
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