Find a Nanny

Finding a Nanny

Now that you’ve decided on nanny care, you will need to find a nanny. But not any nanny will do. In order to have a successful nanny and employer relationship, you’ll need to find the right nanny for your family.

Things to Consider Before Hiring a Nanny

Hiring a nanny does not only require a significant financial investment, it requires an emotional investment as well. While a nanny is hired to care for the children, she enters into a working relationship with the parents. As with any relationship, for it to be successful, it must be cultivated. Setting boundaries, outlining expectations and maintaining open and honest communication can help cultivate a healthy nanny and employer relationship.

When you become a nanny employer, you become the boss. Unlike in a daycare or childcare center where your child is subject to the philosophies, schedule and routines of the facility, as a nanny employer, you call the shots. As boss, you set the hours, provide the schedule, dictate the philosophy and have control over how your child spends her day. As an employer, you can give your nanny as much or as little freedom as you wish. How much freedom your nanny has will depend on the model of nanny care that you choose.

With the advantages of being the boss come the responsibilities of being a legal employer. Contrary to popular belief, nannies are not independent contractors. The Internal Revenue Service views nannies as employees of the parents for whom they work. As such, nanny employers are required to secure state and federal employer identification numbers, ensure that their nanny is legally able to accept employment in the United States, pay according to the Fair Labor Standards Act and state and federal minimum wage laws, withhold appropriate employment taxes and file the proper yearend tax forms.

Before Beginning Your Search

Before considering your nanny search, consider these questions:

  • Do you need to hire a full-time or part-time nanny?
  • Do you wish to hire a live-in or live-out nanny?
  • How much experience your ideal nanny would have?
  • What type of educational background your ideal nanny would have?
  • What specific duties and responsibilities you expect of your nanny?
  • What specific household chores, if any, you expect your nanny to perform?
  • Are there any specific lifestyle choices you expect your nanny to respect?
  • Can you clearly articulate the parenting style your ideal nanny would have?
  • Can you clearly articulate your method of discipline?
  • What do you consider the role of your nanny?
  • What is your childcare budget?
  • What type of benefits do you plan to offer your nanny?

Parents who wish to employ a nanny should also consider the model of nanny care they prefer.

  • In the custodial care model, the nanny is responsible for meeting the child’s daily needs. The parents provide specific daily instructions and guidance and the nanny implements the parents’ directives.
  • In the coordinated model of nanny care, the nanny serves as a team player in raising the children. The nanny is viewed as a valued professional and given the freedom to plan the children’s days and activities, as well as give input and feedback into childrearing philosophies and practices.
  • In the surrogate model of nanny care, the nanny may have limited interaction with the parents and serves as the primary caregiver for the children. Parents who travel extensively may opt for the surrogate model of care.

Once you are able to answer these questions you are ready to begin your nanny search.

Preparing Your Job Description

If you want your nanny to be able to do her job well, you must be able to clearly articulate what her job is. Prior to searching for candidates, you should solidify your nanny’s job description, duties and responsibilities. Having a written job description can ensure you clearly communicate to your nanny candidate your employment expectations.

Your nanny job description may include:

  • Hours to be worked
  • The role of your nanny
  • The responsibilities of your nanny
  • Any specific duties that you require of your nanny.

The more specific you are in your job description, the less chance there is for miscommunication. When advertising your nanny position, be sure to include your detailed job description.

Ways to Find a Nanny

Parents can search for nanny candidates in many places. Nanny candidates can be found through word-of-mouth, through nanny placement agencies, through online nanny recruiting sites, through colleges and nanny training schools, through classifieds and more.

Regardless of how you find your nanny candidates, the ultimate hiring responsibility lies with you. As a potential employer, it is your duty to verify a candidate’s identity, check references, verify educational and work history, conduct background screenings and hold interviews, regardless of how you learn about a nanny candidate. As an employer, you must also comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and all other local, state and federal laws that relate to screening and hiring employees.

For families who do not have the time or experience in screening candidates, hiring a reputable nanny placement agency or contacting a nanny training school are good options. Nanny agencies and some nanny training programs assist parents in finding nannies for a fee. Like a match maker, a placement agency provides parents with prescreened nanny candidates who are suitable for employment with their specific family.



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