If the topic of how to find a nanny raises your heart rate, you’re not alone. Who would have thought that HR would be a necessary part of the mama job description? Yet, here you sit, making crucial decisions about who is going to play a (pretty huge) part in the care of your little one.
The issue of child care is so intertwined with our ability to exist productively and peacefully in today’s world. Many of us need to work. We also need to protect and nurture our children. And we would probably like to have some semblance of a life outside of mamahood. But how?
If you have family members around to help, that can be an awesome option. But if you don’t, you’re not alone. Thankfully, the right nanny can be the next best thing – providing a loving, even family-like environment for your little one.
But… finding a nanny can be a challenge. And it can be expensive!
Here’s a statistic that might make you feel all sorts of ways: between 1990 and 2011, child care expenditure rose by 40% in the US. This leaves many families in a bind.
Don’t fret, mama! We are here to help. Let’s take a look at how to find a nanny (as well as consider whether this is even the best choice for you).
Finding a nanny 101
Let’s break down HOW to find a nanny, whether hiring a nanny is even what you want to do, and, if so, WHERE you can search for one.
How to find a good nanny
The first step to finding a nanny is deciding what you’re looking for. The more targeted your search, the better your chance of match success.
So, before interviewing nannies, interview yourself. Basically, you have to know what you want before you can find it.
Questions to ask yourself
What is my budget?
Yes, it’s totally okay to have a best and worst-case scenario here. Writing figures down before you go on your quest helps set the parameters of your search.
What you pay will vary based on:
- Your nanny’s experience.
- Whether they are live-in or live-out. (Live-out might be a more expensive hourly rate because you won’t be providing accommodation to go along with the deal.)
- Whether you want a part-time nanny or a full-time nanny.
- Your location.
- Number of children.
- Overtime. (Yes, you will have to pay this, usually at a rate of about 1.5 times the normal hourly rate.)
Do I want to find a part-time nanny or a full-time nanny?
Once you have your budget possibilities down, the next step is figuring out your needs. Jot down your weekly schedule in as much detail as possible to see what sort of hours you will need a nanny for. Factor in work, errands, responsibilities—and some me-time, if you can. If you have a tiny baby, consider whether you want to establish a long-term relationship with a nanny that will take you through early childhood.
Nanny or daycare—which one is better for us?
Now that you’ve had a look at time and money, it may be worth considering whether a nanny is even what you want—and there’s no right answer to this. There are pros and cons on both sides. If you have a very structured day, daycare might work for you. If, on the other hand, you have a schedule where you need more flexibility, finding a nanny may be what you want to do.
And then there’s cost. Is it cheaper to have a nanny or daycare? Well, this depends on the specific nanny and the specific daycare, but generally, daycare is (much) cheaper. Daycare also offers a social environment for your little one to dive into.
Questions to ask potential nannies
If you’re at the interview stage, here are some of the kinds of questions to put forward:
- The basics: Find out their level of experience, what their qualifications are, and whether they have references you can call.
- The x-factor questions: Your child might be spending a whole lot of time with this person. Will this nanny be able to keep them engaged? Do they have fun (preferably inexpensive) activities in mind? How do they merge play and learning?
And, um, do you like them?
Best way to figure this out? Introduce them to your child and see how they interact.
- What if questions: Looking after children is all about adaptability. Unforeseen circumstances rear their head around every corner. Ask the nanny what they would do if your child were ill or inconsolable. What would they do if your child were mean to other kids? How would they respond if there were a fire in the house?
Next step: look in all the right places.
Where to find a nanny
So what is the best way to find a nanny?
First option: Survey your community. Other mamas are the experts in the nanny department: They’ve had first-hand experience. They know the drill. They are the pros. (BTW, Peanut is your best friend if you’re on the hunt for like-minded mamas in your community.)
If word of mouth is not cracking the case for you, hop online. For all the insanity our world has to offer, at least there are tech solutions that make it all a little easier to navigate. Many websites offer the option of prior vetting, and some allow you to network with other parents. You don’t have to make this choice in the dark.
What is the best site to find a nanny?
There are a bunch. Here are our Top 4:
- Sittercity: Innovative, smart, flexible. Where tech and childcare meet.
- eNannySource: Great site for long-term hires. Even runs background checks for you.
- Care.com: Dependable, well-known, user-friendly. Basic membership is free with premium options available.
- Bambino: Sitters on the go. Allows you to connect to a community of parents so that you’re in good company when making your choice.
No question, there’s a lot involved in finding a nanny. But once you find the right one, you’ll be so happy that your child is in good hands.
Good luck, mama!