Do both you and your spouse work full-time and have children?

It may be time to consider hiring a nanny.

We Know: How to Hire a Nanny

What is a nanny?

According to the U.S. government's National Occupational Outlook Handbook, nannies generally take care of children from birth to age 10 or 12, tending to the child’s early education, nutrition, health, and other needs. They also may perform the duties of a general housekeeper, including general cleaning and laundry duties.

What are the typical duties of a nanny?

Nannies perform childcare duties, but can also be responsible for many other tasks. Some typical duties expected of a nanny include:

  • Childcare: The most common duty of a nanny is taking responsibility for supervision and care of children when parents are not available.
  • Housekeeping: Many nannies are also responsible for some light to moderate house upkeep.
  • Transport: Some nannies are employed to drive children to school, medical appointments or after school activities, etc.
  • Cooking: Part of a nanny's job may also include food preparation.

How to prepare for the interview process.

The best way to prepare for interviewing potential nannies is to compile a list of what you expect. What sorts of duties will she be accountable for? Refer to the list of potential duties above and decide which ones are needed in your household. What skills are necessary? For instance, if the nanny will be responsible for driving your children to school, she will need a driver's license and good driving record. Would you like her to be CPR-certified? Has she worked with infants before? Also, consider what salary you are willing to pay. Will she be a live-in nanny? Does age matter? If your children are super active, then a younger nanny might be best. However if your children are docile and mild-mannered, an older more grandmotherly type may be fine.

What other things should I ask potential nannies during the interview?

Once you know what you would like the nanny you hire to be responsible for, you can begin the interview process. Have the interviewees meet you in your home and ask them about their past work. A few important things to ask include:

  • Ask about the children from her last job. How did she handle them? What are her feelings toward them?
  • Ask the person to solve hypothetical problems. For instance, ask the potential nanny what she would do if your child refuses to go to sleep. Listen for her assuredness and ability to act quickly.
  • What is the nanny's discipline style? It's very important both you and the nanny think alike in terms of disciplining your children and what is acceptable and what is not.

Once you pick a nanny, be sure to draw up a written agreement. Both parties will sign the contract, which should include the nanny's rate of pay, date hired, hours of work and her expected duties.

How do I know this nanny is legitimate?

It is very important to thoroughly research the background of anyone who may be working closely with your children. Take the time to call their previous clients and ask about their performance. Request their driving record from the DMV as well as a criminal record. It is probably wise to request a health report as well.

Where can I find a nanny?

Knowing where to look is the key to finding a good nanny. Ask the people who are close to you if they know of any reputable nannies. Friends, family, and co-workers are great for this. Also, look for fliers advertising nanny services in your local preschool or community center. Finally, you may wish to seek out a nanny agency. The agency helps place nannies with clients and keeps a portion of the nanny's profits as payment.

What are nannies generally paid?

Nannies have highly competitive salaries ranging from $300 to $700 a week on average. A nanny's salary depends largely on whether or not they will live with you and in which state you reside. You may wish to offer your nanny benefits such as health coverage and paid sick days as well.

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