Tips on How to Hire a Nanny
Dover Doula is pleased to welcome a guest blogger: Dover area mom, Jennifer Coffin, who along with her husband has created the Daily Nanny app.
Here are her Tips on How to Hire a Nanny:
In a million years, I wouldn't think that hiring a nanny would be something I had to learn how to do. It wasn’t until we had two kids that it kept popping up in my head, and I was thinking it would be nice to let our 6 month old son and 3 year old daughter stay home during the day and play with each other instead of being hustled off to a childcare facility. And I will be honest, I liked the idea of my baby being home and economically that only works if both are at home being watched by the same nanny. I do think socialization with your peers in a school atmosphere does help foster an independence that is hard to achieve when you are in your own home all day with a nanny, so we decided to supplement with two half days a week for my 3 year old at preschool.
Here are some of my tips, but keep in mind there is no magic formula or scientific method for this, as I am sure you have learned with any decision as a parent.
I group the process into two parts:
Left Pillar: Logistics and practicality.
Right Pillar: Intuition, emotion and that never failing gut feeling.
I weigh intuition and emotion much more than logistics and practicality, and you will find that the most important part of this decision is how you feel about the person applying for the job.
We used care.com to post the position and find a nanny. I suggest looking into local nanny agencies in your area, but I couldn't find one in my region, so we used care.com. You can sign up for one month for about $30 and hope you find the right person in that timeframe. Soon after posting we had over 20 or 30 applicants to go through. I first weeded out based on the left pillar requirements.
Left Pillar - Logistics and practicality:
My advice here is don’t make someone’s schedule or proximity something that “could” work because you like the persons credentials or experience. If they say they are not available on Wednesday and you and your husband both work on Wednesday and need care that day, don’t say to yourself “we could make that work.” You are setting yourself up for failure. Of course, depending on where you are located and your requirements you may not be able to be as picky, but in our case I knew we could find someone that is actually looking to work on the days we needed. Also, even if someone that lives an hour away applies saying they don’t mind the commute, think about how that effects you. If you are in a snowy region, as I am, what does this look like on bad weather days? What if you need them in a pinch, but they are an hour away?
Then of course the big one… budget. Know what you are able to pay per hour, and do not be bashful about talking about this up front. It’s sort of awkward, but this is a very important part of the conversation. You also need to discuss vacations and holidays. Many nannies expect some paid vacation and holidays, as they should. This is the person that is going to be caring for your kids, and you want them to be fulfilled in their job. They also become somewhat part of your family, so you want to minimize the occurrence of awkward conversations about money and misunderstandings about what is expected. Get it all out in the open, and be honest about what you can afford. Even if you found someone who love and you think is perfect, they are not perfect if it doesn't fit your budget, and if you hire someone at more than you can afford or if someone accepts a job for less than they need to make, nobody will be happy in the end. Your goal is to go through this process as few times as possible. Its difficult and time consuming, so do everything you can to get it right the first time.
As a side note, I highly recommend asking your employer if they offer a Flexible Spending Account. This allows you to pay for care for your child before taxes, saving you hundreds or thousands every year. There are two types, both useful, but you’re looking for a dependent care Flexible Spending Account, or FSA.
Right Pillar - Emotion and intuition:
- Child interaction
- Comfort level
- Gut feeling
This stuff is hard. My husband and I both work from home so it was important that we found a nanny that we are comfortable with and that she is comfortable enough to nanny our children when we are an earshot away. It is HARD. I know every single day how much harder it is for her that we are there. So if you're also in a situation where you will be around while your nanny is in your home, ask how they feel about that. It'd be ideal to find a nanny who has worked in those conditions before. One way to make this easier on everybody is to encourage your nanny to offer advice or ask questions about how you care for your kids. If both you and your nanny start the relationship knowing you may have some subtle differences in how you care for your kids, but have an open line of communication about that, the more comfortable you’ll be asking your nanny to do certain things differently, and they will feel fulfilled that their expertise is being heard when they want to weigh in.
When you interview a nanny, it’s all about how they interact with your children. They need to feel comfortable enough in their own skin to be natural with them. Honestly, I have had interviews where the nanny doesn’t even really speak to or interact with the kids at all. Feel free to cut these interviews short! If they aren't comfortable interacting with your children in an interview setting, don't even bother.
When it comes down to it, follow your gut, and make sure both parents are happy with the decision. You have to remember you are a team, in our case me, my husband and our nanny. We are our children’s care team and we need to respect each other, be considerate, and feel comfortable communicating about anything and everything.
Jen and Dave Coffin created the Daily Nanny because they are parents, and experienced first-hand the anxiety involved with going back to their day jobs. They wanted an app that would give them a way to communicate more effectively with their kids’ caregiver, and participate in their lives while they were at work. They live in Dover with their two children.
Daily Nanny is a mobile app that connects parents and nannies, provides parents peace of mind, and gives nannies an easy way to communicate, track hours and daily activities and more. Easily share and store photos in the cloud, track daily info about your kids like naps and meals, keep track of nanny’s timesheets and much more.