Finding a nanny can be as easy as calling up grandma or your neighbour’s teenager to help watch over your kids in your absence. Making sure you find a great nanny, though, often takes a bit more work.

Here’s all you need to know about hiring a nanny in the new year.

1.     Reach Out To Your Network

Reach out to your network of trusted family members or close friends.

If you have parents, siblings, or cousins nearby, they might be the most accessible and most affordable babysitters/nannies you can find.

The same goes for a friend or neighbour that you know very well.

Whether you’re asking a relative or hiring a teenager or a seasoned nanny, though, you should always use your best judgment and evaluate their credentials as a good enough nanny for your child/ren.

Irrespective of who they are or their background, if they don’t seem qualified to watch your kid(s), keep looking, mama.

2.     Get Referrals

Even if you’re not comfortable asking nearby friends or family to babysit/role play as nannies, you can still rely on them as great resources for finding babysitters.

The ideal people to consult have already found a great nanny or two, and either:

i) Do not require their services anymore; or

ii) They are willing and able to share them with you. Otherwise, they might see you as a potential nanny poacher!

Now, even if they come with a glowing review from one of your friends, it’s always wise to meet the potential nanny yourself before deciding.

3.     Check With Your Child’s Daycare Or Preschool

If your child goes to daycare or preschool, you might find that their teachers or aides do some nanny work on the side.

Or, they may instead be able to provide you with some solid leads on local nannies.

Using a teacher or educational aide means that your child already has an established relationship with their babysitter.

It also means that they most likely have undergone a background check and have emergency training.

4.     Set Clear Expectations Of The Job

The truth is: child care needs vary widely from family to family.

Consider what hours and how often they would need to babysit/do other chores.

Whether you expect them to cook meals if they should be cleaning up after your child, and any other responsibilities you need them to handle.

Once you know your needs, you’ll have a better understanding of what your ideal nanny looks like/does.

5.     Interview Them By Asking Relevant Questions

Sit down with the potential nanny and run through a list of questions you’ve prepared beforehand.

Evaluate the content of their answers and their body language and comfort level.

Ask them things like:

    • What do you enjoy about caring for children?
    • How long have you been doing this job, and how many families have you worked with?
    • What would you do if my child had a medical emergency?
    • Could you stay later than scheduled if we’re running late?

6.     Give Them A Chance To Interact With Your Kid(s)

Give them at least 15-25 minutes to “hang out” with your child/children to get a feel for how their personalities mesh.

Even better, set up a 1-2 hour “observation session” in which they babysit/nanny while you’re still in the house and occasionally check-in.

Also Read: How To Make Your Nanny More Productive

Offer to pay for this observation session, like you would for a typical babysitting time.

7.     What Do Your Kids Think?

Get feedback from them.

Your kids shouldn’t have the final say on their nanny, but that doesn’t mean you should completely ignore their opinions.

Ask them if they liked the candidate, if they had a good time together, and what specific things they did together.

For instance, you might want to use your kid’s opinions as to the “tiebreaker” between two equally-viable candidates.

If your child is still a baby, you can get a second or third opinion from a trusted friend or family member.

8.     Trust Your Instincts

You know your child/ren, your home, and your family’s needs the best.

So if an otherwise qualified nanny just doesn’t “feel” right, you’re probably right to trust your gut and consider a different candidate.

It’s great to give people the benefit of the doubt and give them a chance to prove themselves, but letting them do so while caring for your children isn’t the best scenario.

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