How Parents Can Find a Nanny for Their Family

Baby Girl with Mother at Park

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A nanny is an individual employed by a family in either a live-in or live-out basis. The essential function of a nanny is to be responsible for all care of the children in the home in a largely unsupervised setting. A nanny should be invested in a child's development and well-being. A nanny will care for children while parents are at work. It's a nanny's responsibility to create a daily schedule and to engage the children in activities to advance their mental, physical and emotional growth.

How Do I Find a Nanny?

A nanny can be found through a nanny agency or through word of mouth and recommendations. Once you find potential nannies to hire, you must go through the interview process. This process includes a phone interview to weed out candidates based on schedules, pay and other basics. Once you've chosen candidates to fulfill your basic requirements, set up in-person interviews where you can ask specific questions and give scenarios.

Meeting a nanny in person will give you a better understanding of the person's character and how he or she responds to your child. It is also important to pay attention to how the candidate communicates with you since parent-nanny communication is one of the most important parts of the working relationship. If you get a good feeling after the interview, ask the candidate for some references so you can talk to past families the nanny has worked for and learn more about them.

Typical Nanny Duties

A nanny is first and foremost responsible for the safety, care, and well-being of your children. Other duties that nannies are typically responsible for include cleaning that is related to the children. This includes children's laundry, cleaning up the children’s rooms, making or packing children’s snacks and meals and the maintenance, cleaning and care of children’s belongings (high chair, crib, toys, stroller, etc.), driving children to and from school and activities and helping with homework. In a contract this might say that the nanny is only responsible for child relates duties. 

Other nannies are willing to do light housekeeping, such as unloading and loading the dishwasher, general tidying/straightening, sweeping/light mopping/wiping off the kitchen and taking out the garbage. If a nanny is willing to do vacuuming, dusting, ironing or errands for you, this is extra and shouldn't be expected without discussing it prior and the nanny agreeing to these terms.

Do Nannies Have Formal Training?

No formal training is required to be a nanny, but many nannies have years of actual experience working with children. Many nannies have taken basic safety classes, such as CPR and some have advanced childcare training, in addition to many years of nanny experience. 

Different Working Arrangements

A nanny may work full-time (40 or more hours a week), may work part-time or may be involved in a nanny share. Many nannies are live-out nannies, meaning they have their own home and come during the day to the families' home. Other nannies live with the family. 

How Are Nannies Paid?

Many nannies earn a weekly salary based on hourly expectations and have taxes deducted from their paychecks. Nannies work year-round and it is common practice that nannies receive at least two weeks of paid vacation and are also paid for holidays.

Nanny salaries have a range and depend on many factors. Live-out nannies can make anywhere from $10-$35 an hour.

Some factors that impact how much a nanny should make include: number of children, the age of children, nanny experience, how many hours working, where you live, do you require additional tasks and many other factors.

Many families and nannies work together to create a nanny contract that spells out all terms and conditions of the job, including vacation time, sick days, responsibilities, how to get out of the contract as well as other particulars.

A nanny is a very important part of your family and your child's life so choose wisely and communicate frequently and openly. Mary Poppins may be a movie character, but a good nanny is someone who will be a positive influence in your life for many years and leave a lasting impression.

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  1. American Red Cross. Babysitting & child care training.