Employing a Nanny; What do I do?

[name_m]Just[/name_m] wondering if anyone has any experience employing a nanny.

In 3 months I’ll go back to work 2 days a week, with a almost 5 year old, 2 1/2 year old and a 4 month old, I’m feeling like a nanny might be the best way to go in terms of child care. I had been working 3 days a week so our oldest is in 2 full days of kinder, and [name_u]Jem[/name_u] (the middle one) has been at day care 2 days a week, both the boys have been looked after by their grandmother 1 day a week. But there is no way I’m putting a 4 month old in daycare and I must go back to work earlier than I did with the other 2 so that draws me to the conclusion that we need a super nanny 2 days per week.

So, my questions:

What did you do in terms of childcare?
[name_m]How[/name_m] did you go about hiring a nanny? Agency or private?
What did you look for in a nanny? Old or young?
Is there any warning signs to look out for?

Some answers would be fabulous!

[name_m]Hi[/name_m] goldielocks - I’m not going to be too much help, just excited to see someone that [name_f]Anna[/name_f] has written about on her website! You have fabulously named children :slight_smile:

I’m still pregnant with my first, so no personal experience on the childcare front. However, a Brazilian friend of mine (living in Melb) recently hired a Portuguese speaking [name_f]Nanny[/name_f] for her daughter for 2 days a week so her daughter is still exposed to her native language. The other 3 days a week she’s in her company’s childcare, so she gets to see her at lunchtime lucky thing. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that she’s had a very positive experience with her nanny - says she is great with her daughter and even does some light cleaning sometimes. I think she was through an agency, but I’m not sure…

I have a friend that nannies full time and she always recommends going through an agency. This way the background checks etc are already done and the agency will try hard to match up personalities and special requests. The agency narrowing down the pool for you should help you not waste time with people that have no business applying. Also you have a place to go to and ask questions (or complain which is hopefully not necessary).

So I’m not actually a parent, but I had a nanny for around twelve years, and I loved it, so I thought I’d try help you.

[name_m]How[/name_m] did you go about hiring a nanny? Agency or private? Always go with an agency, because as pp have said, it means you know they’re references have been checked, and they’ll usually require certain qualifications/first aid things etc. This does make it a bit more expensive sometimes, but it usually means you’ll have a more qualified and suitable nanny. Also there are often part-time nanny agencies, afterschool nanny agencies etc, so you can find what best suits you.

What did you look for in a nanny? Old or young? Depends on what you need the nanny for. For young children, someone younger is usually better because they are more able to run around and play with the kids, but you need someone who has patience and is able to come up with activities. If you want someone who will clean a bit, you need to set that out in your requirements because not all nannies are happy to do this. [name_m]Just[/name_m] be very clear about what you want, ie. I want a live-out driver, with their own car, who has experience with kids of ages 0-7, is good with animals, and will help with homework/do kids’ laundry/make meals/put kids to bed etc.

Is there any warning signs to look out for? make sure that when you interview you have the nanny interact with the kids for a bit, as sometimes someone might have all the right answers but the kids just don’t like them. Ask what meals they would make for your children, why they are leaving previous family, if your kids have any dietary requirements/special needs, ask if the nanny would be able to cope with these.

[name_f]Hope[/name_f] this helps

Also not a parent, but I have worked as a nanny for several years, and have a degree in early childhood education.

[name_m]How[/name_m] did you go about hiring a nanny? Agency or private?
Agencies definitely have a level of security that other avenues may not. Personally, I have yet to go through an agency to acquire a nanny position. To avoid high cost agencies, I would suggest website service like Care.com, which allow you to obtain background checks, references, and other information about the person you are hiring. They tend to be lower cost.

What did you look for in a nanny? Old or young?
I think the age of a nanny is personal preference. You can definitely find young people who will be great with your children, but some families prefer older “experienced” nannies. I would suggest looking for someone with many years of experience, or some kind of educational background in child development or education. Nursing degree holders also tend to make great caregivers.

Is there any warning signs to look out for?
Find a good list of questions when interviewing your nanny. These lists can be easily found online. Ask indirect questions and give scenarios of situations that may come up in your household and ask the nanny how she might handle these. Make sure your parenting style matches your nannies thoughts on child rearing.

After hiring, talk with your nanny frequently. If they seem detached or uninterested in getting to know you or in building a relationship, that’s a red flag. In a nanny situation having good communication and a strong relationship is the most important thing. This person is in your home and with your children all day, they should be interested in your family beyond the hours they are in your home. Secondly, look at your children. If they do not respond well to the nanny or if they seem unhappy in the nanny’s care, there may be something going on that you aren’t seeing.

[name_f]Hope[/name_f] this helps.

I nanny 2-3 days a week, 10 hours a day, for a little boy. I was staying home with my son when I saw the notice on the neighborhood listserve. The little boy was 3 months old when I started. He is now almost 2. His mom interviewed me and observed me with him. She also spent some time with my son (who was 2 at the time) and I together, which I feel like is a good way to vet a potential caregiver. I gave her references and information so she could do a background check. I also got recertified in infant CPR, etc
She didn’t ask for this, but I felt more comfortable doing this. She pays me $10/hour, which I feel is very fair given that watch her son in my home and I don’t have to pay for childcare for my son. It’s a lot less expensive for her than a regular nanny would be. It’s gone really well- our sons play really well together. She and her husband are really great bosses and we’ve all become friends.

Anyhow, I do agree that it is best to go through an agency, as the above posters have said. However, this situation has worked out really well for everyone concerned, so its another option to consider.

I’m not a parent, but I’ve worked as a nanny for several years and I’m actually over in NZ right now as an au pair! I think for the schedule you’re looking for, your best bet may actually be a university student if that’s an option! I’m not sure is Australia has a website like care.com, but I know many families have used that in the past and have had great matches. In the future, you may even look into getting an au pair! It’s a pretty sweet deal for both the family and the au pair.

I think the most important thing is being able to click with the nanny. Life is so much happier when both parties are enjoying what they’re doing. Grab coffee with potential candidates and meet them, then the finalists come to your house and play with the kids for a bit to see how they interact together. I love the family I live with now (mom is my “wifey”!!) and I’m so lucky that we get along so well. I have worked for families in the past where every minute the passes feels great because it’s one minute closer to leaving and going home. It feels so much less like work when you’re actually enjoying what you’re doing. I’m still friends on Facebook with the good families. :slight_smile:

I’ve never worked with an agency in the past, so I can’t tell you my experience with that. I chose not to work with an agency because nannies tend to get paid a lot less (AND they have to pay taxes), they give you less freedom to chose a family, and they typically have unreasonable requirements. If you didn’t go with an agency, just make sure any potential candidates have done a police check and have first aid training (or are willing to do so). Also, I would draft a rough contract with her duties, pay, requirement for her to give you a couple weeks (at least) notice if she decides to leave…

As far as young versus old nannies, I’d stick with someone younger who has more energy and possibly someone that you might connect more with. I think “experience” is a relative term. Obviously, you want someone with some experience so they know what they’re getting into, but then again, how much experience did you have before you had your kids?

I know it can be really stressful finding someone to look after the most important people in your life. Good luck! I’m sure you’ll find someone awesome. :slight_smile: