Searching for a nanny can feel immediately overwhelming. After all, you have spent months or years taking care of your child or children’s every possible need, and now you’re about to leave all the feeding, napping, educating, and playing responsibilities to a stranger while you go back to work. Where do you even begin looking? What questions do you ask? And how do you know it’s a good fit for not only your child, but also for you? Here are the keys to help you find the right nanny for your family:

  1. Identify your priorities: Make a list of what you and your partner want in an ideal nanny. Do you want someone older with a lot of experience, or do you need a younger nanny who can keep up with the energy level of your children? Are you looking for someone bilingual? Do you need a person who lives close by so they won’t be late? How much are you willing to pay a nanny? Do you want a man or woman, or does it matter? There are a lot of things to consider, so take your time discussing your priorities before starting your search.
  2. Get the word out: Once you’ve established what you want in a potential nanny, first reach out to your friends and family for references and leads. Next, don’t be afraid to post notices at the park, on school bulletin boards, or at the local coffee shop. Advertising online is now very popular—using or, for example—to list exactly who and what you are looking for. There are also local nanny placement organizations you can call, but this is a more expensive route (as they will have already prescreened candidates and take a commission fee). Often it helps to use a reputable business name, so you may want to consider the services of a Cultural Care Au Pair this can be a very rewarding scheme for young people to engage in, whilst also providing an extra pair of hands around the house.
    • Interview: Before meeting with a potential nanny, write down your questions to make sure all your identified priorities are addressed. When you welcome him or her into your home, pay attention to the small things. Did they arrive on time? Did they ask to wash their hands before holding the baby? Did they seem warm and treat your home, furniture, and pets with respect, or are they immediately flippant and messy? When you sit down to discuss the position, here are some questions you may want to ask:
      • Are you comfortable holding and soothing a sick child much of the day, if needed?
      • How do you soothe a crying baby?
      • If the baby isn’t responding to you at first, how do you go about establishing trust?
      • What do you think the best way is to get infants to sleep?
      • How do you feed babies?
      • How do you discipline a child?
      • What do you do with a child or infant while he or she is awake?
      • Are you certified in first aid and infant CPR and choking?
      • Are you in good health? Do you smoke?
  3. Check references: After narrowing down your list of applicants, it’s vital to check their references. Some people say all the right things during an interview, but it’s a past employer who will give you the most honest answers to questions about the applicant’s dependability, capabilities, and how they interact with children. Ask about their strengths and weaknesses, and why they no longer employ him or her.
  4. Intuition: How do you feel being with this person? Do they look at you directly and do you feel they are really listening to you, taking in what you’re trying to communicate? Does being with them make you feel safe and could you imagine going to them if you needed comfort? Do they impress you as kind, caring, and attentive? And does this person impress you as someone who can successfully pick up important nonverbal cues, which helps your baby get the best possible start in life.