How do I Find the Right Nanny for my Family? Shaping a Vision and Creating a Job Description

Finding a nanny who is a great fit for your family requires having a clear vision of what her job will be like, and what kind of person would best fill the position.
Finding a nanny who is a great fit for your family requires having a clear vision of what her job will be like, and what kind of person would best fill the position. | Source

Becoming a Nanny Employer

When new parents go back to work after the birth of a child, they are often overwhelmed by trying to balance their roles as worker and mother or father. They must juggle their own needs with the needs of their family and their employer's wishes with their wishes for their child, all while trying to figure out the nearly impossible puzzle of how to feel satisfied with the time and effort they put into both roles.

Finding a nanny you love and trust to take care of your children while you are working can be one way of alleviating some of the strain that balancing the roles of parent and employee can cause. But hiring a nanny also means that you're taking on a third role: that of employer.

When your nanny comes to your house each morning, she's not just becoming part of your household, she's coming to her workplace. What kind of boss do you want to be? What kind of work environment do you want your nanny to have? Answering these questions for yourself is an important step toward making sure you find a nanny who is a good fit for you and your family.

Is This Job Casual or Professional?

Just as every family is different, every family's ideal childcare situation will be different. Try to imagine your ideal nanny. How old is she (or he)? How much experience does she have? What are her most important qualities?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I see the nanny position as one that is temporary - something our nanny will do for a year or less between other jobs, between high school and college, or to make some extra cash while taking classes at night? Or do I hope to find a nanny who will stay with our family for several years or more?
  • Do I want a nanny who has nannied long-term in the past and who identifies nannying as her career of choice? Or do I want a nanny who loves kids but who is also making plans for another career path?
  • Would I rather have a nanny who has raised or is raising children of her own? Or do I picture my family's nanny being younger, in a transitional stage before establishing a career and family?

Keep in mind that there are no right or wrong answers to these questions, and you may not have a strong opinion in either direction. What you should be trying to establish here is whether you see your nanny's position as being casual or professional. Casual nannies will be less likely to see the job as a career or profession, while professional nannies are those who see themselves as, well, professionals in their field - they often have more experience, see nannying as a long-term career path, and may have a degree in childhood education and/or take part in professional development activities.

Poll: Nanny Experience

How much experience would your ideal nanny have?

  • None - we don't want her to have too many expectations of the job.
  • Some, but we don't need a lot - just as long as the kids are safe and happy!
  • At least a few years of long-term babysitting or nannying - we want someone with great references!
  • A lot - we want someone who has nannied for years and knows more about kids than we do!
  • Tons - ideally someone who is older and has raised kids of their own.
See results without voting

Shaping your Job Description

Once you've mapped out a vision of what kind of employee you are looking for, you can use this to shape the job description of the position you are offering. If you are looking for a professional nanny, you might use more formal language in your job description. Consider mentioning that you would like someone with long-term nanny experience, with certification or educational credentials, and who would be willing to make a 1-year (or more) commitment. You should let your desire to have a professional nanny be reflected in your salary offer, vacation and sick time, and any additional benefits you offer. If you are looking for a casual nanny, you might focus your job description more on the attributes you are looking for - fun, loves kids, likes the outdoors - and mention that you prefer a college student or recent graduate. The more specific you are about what the position entails and who you see filling it, the more likely you will be to get applicants who fit with your family's needs, and you won't need to waste as much time interviewing - and weeding out! - those who are a bad fit.

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