What to Look for in a Nanny


Authored by Donna Johnson in Parenting
Published on 12-28-2009

If you are in need of long-term child care, you may consider getting a nanny. Having a single nanny rather than a continuous stream of babysitters can provide stability in your child’s life. She can also give your child more one-on-one attention than most daycare facilities can. But there are a few things you should consider when hiring a nanny.

First and foremost, you will need a nanny who is willing to submit to a criminal background check. You do not want to leave your child with anyone that you are not 100 percent sure has a spotless criminal background.

Look for a nanny that has childcare experience. This can mean previous experience as a nanny, in a daycare center, or simply from having younger siblings that she cared for in the past.

You want someone that will put your child first while she is caring for him. For this reason, you should hire a nanny that does not have a full schedule. College students may make wonderful nannies, but you don’t want someone who is carrying a full load of difficult courses. Similarly, you don’t want someone who has another full-time job that can not work around your family’s schedule.

If you’re looking for a live-in nanny, you will need someone who can live with others without conflict. Ask the prospective nanny for references from people she has lived with before, preferably families she has worked for or roommates. Family members may not be the best judge of whether someone is easy to live with. A live-in nanny must also follow the rules of your household in regards to cleaning, guests, and meals, so you will want to make those rules clear and weed out any prospective nannies who have issues with them.

If you want your nanny to help with homework or teach younger children, look for someone who has a background in education. This does not have to mean a formal degree in education. You may consider hiring a nanny who has a background in tutoring as well. If you want your child to become bilingual, look for a nanny who is fluent in your chosen second language to help teach it to your child.

Finally, look for someone who is willing to work for a trial period. You will of course pay the nanny for her services during this time frame, but you should have a “getting to know you” period where you and your child interact with the nanny separately and alone to make sure that everyone is comfortable together. Just because a nanny is very qualified and a nice person does not mean she will “click” with your family.

Take the time to look for a nanny that fits all your wants and meshes well with your family. Keep the lines of communication open with her at all times to address any issues that come up before they get out of hand. By doing so, you will ensure your child has the best care possible when you can not be there with him.


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