As summer inches closer (can you feel it?), many of us are searching for summer care for our children. I for one am days away from going back to work post-maternity leave and am stuck with finding a new nanny for my 3-month-old stat. It’s a daunting task. Trusting someone to care for your children like they are their own is tough. Adding to my anxiety, I work from home, and hearing someone else play with my daughter right outside my office makes me feel guilty every day, but I know it’s important for both of us. So, for those of you that are on the hunt like me, I’ve put together a quick list of steps to take when hiring someone to watch your children this summer and beyond.
Step one: Do some nanny intake
Whether you’re starting your search for a nanny on social media, word of mouth, or through a professional agency, do some intake. Once you have a candidate, feel them out via phone or text. This will give you a quick idea of whether they might be a fit for your family and they can offer up their availability and wage specifics. If it’s a fit, then meet in person. But get the general terms out there upfront.
Step two: Vaccinations and certifications
Look, I never thought I would be hiring a nanny during a pandemic, but here we are. One of the first things you need to decide is whether you want your nanny/babysitter/au pair to be vaccinated. For us, it’s a must, but to each their own and this is something you will want to discuss right away.
Additionally, be sure to ask for other details on training as well. Are they CPR certified? We had a recent scare with our baby where she was choking and it’s a must that our nanny knows and is versed in this. Additionally, are their safe sleep certified? Do they have a safe driving record? These are all important things to note prior to hiring.
Step three: Ask the tough questions.
I’m not saying you should make them squirm, but this person is watching and caring for your child, so be sure you are comfortable with them and they are comfortable with any situation that might come about. Why do they want this job? What is the most challenging part of childcare for them? What happened at their previous position? What is their history in childcare? All of these questions should give you an idea of the candidate’s personality and how you might work together.
Additionally, ask for a typical schedule that they might recommend for your child(ren). For older children, do they do screen time, are they active, do they mind taking kids to and from activities. If you have a baby, how might they interact with an infant when they aren’t napping? Do they mind swaddling, bottle feeding, etc.? All good ones to know upfront about a potential nanny.
Step four: Nanny recon
Following the interview, if it’s a fit, do a Google/Facebook deep dive. This is super important given the social media climate these days. What you see on Facebook might tell you all you need to know about a potential nanny. If you feel compelled, you may want to do a background check, but you can find out so much about a person via the world wide web.
Step five: Ask for references.
Anytime I’ve hired a nanny in the past or selected a childcare facility, I have asked for references. I want to talk to other parents who know what it’s like to be in my shoes. To me, this is the most important step to knowing and trusting you’re making the right decision for my family. So, get those references and call away. Talk to the moms and dads that have been there and get the skinny on your potential candidate.
Step six: Hire and trust.
Once you have done your due diligence, you have to let go and trust. As a parent, there is only so much you can do. It probably won’t happen overnight, but give it a few weeks with your new nanny/sitter/au pair and I know it will start to feel normal. Your children are your number one priority and leaving them with someone new can be super tough, but the sooner you trust your new nanny the easier your life will be in the end.