How to Select a Nanny: Six Tips for Finding the Perfect One

Knowing how to select a nanny is hard. But, Who said being a mother would be easy! We didn't. Motherhood is particularly hard for working, independent mothers, who have no choice but to leave children under the care of someone else.
How to Select a Nanny: Six Tips for Finding the Perfect One

Last update: 01 May, 2019

How to select a nanny is one of the main prerogatives of mothers who must return to work a few months after giving birth. It also includes women who need extra help around the house for any reason at any stage during their children’s life.

The task of selecting a nanny isn’t easy. You have to put a lot of thought into it. After all, they’ll be in charge of the well-being of the most precious part of your life: your children.

The bond that children form with their immediate family is not a secret to anyone. This is a very important thing to consider when a baby has to be placed under the care of another person. Many doubts and concerns will come to your mind, and this is perfectly normal. This is especially true when it comes to a baby, who most likely hasn’t had a lot of contact with people outside of its close family.

This isn’t an easy task, but it’s not an impossible mission. It’s all a matter of being observant, cautious and thorough. You must be a aware that appearances are deceiving one way or another.

Therefore, you must question and investigate as much as you can in order to select a reliable nanny who can guarantee the well-being of your children.

How to Select a Nanny: A Search that Requires Time and Patience

How to select a nanny: A woman and a baby sitting on the carpet.
The age of your children plays an important role in the proper selection of a nanny.

Your maternal instinct will always find ways to protect your children.

Getting a person to take care of your little ones can be a long process. However, it’s best this way. You must be patient and come up with a long list of reasons to hire a particular person before you make a decision to select a nanny. Don’t rush into it.

Remember that the profile of the nanny you’ll require will vary depending on the what you need at any given time. For example, whether they’ll be alone with your children or in the company of another family member makes a difference.

Also, take into consideration the ages of your children and if they’ll be with them for short or long periods of time. It isn’t the same to look for a nanny for a baby who doesn’t speak yet as it is to look for one who’ll look after a toddler or older children.

The level of confidence and security that the selected nanny inspires in you are vital for your peace of mind, especially if they are with your children for several hours every day. Trust your instincts; they never lie. If something smells fishy or too good to be true, then it probably is.

Don’t settle for the wrong person out of desperation. Keep looking.

How to Select a Nanny: Common Questions and Concerns

When starting a search to select a nanny, it’s quite possible that you’ll be filled with questions and concerns. This is especially true if it’s your first child they’ll look after. Choosing a caregiver that’s just perfect for your needs is definitely a challenge.

Analyze your most common challenges and questions throughout this process so that you can determine if you need to select a nanny or if you should opt for daycare center instead.

  • An individual who offers childcare services isn’t usually a specialist in pedagogical matters. It’s possible that the educational contribution they offer won’t be the same as that that may be provided in daycare centers.
  • Also, it’s difficult at times to find a person who’s available to work when you need them. However, when your children are at home, perhaps they’ll adapt better to your work schedule than having to wait for you at a daycare center.
  • Most in-home nanny services are often more expensive than daycare centers. You must confirm that your budget allows you to pay for any of these fees. You may also have to pay for their meals and transportation.
  • We’ve all heard horror stories about evil nannies. That’s why you must be suspicious of any “strange” attitude that you may notice in a certain person during an interview. Don’t let fear cloud your judgment. However, do trust your gut instinct if it feels “something is off.”

Basic Tips on How to Select a Nanny

A woman and a little girl playing on the carpet.
During the interview, make sure this is the right person to take care of your children and that you can trust them entirely.

1. Do a Background Check and Confirm their Previous Experience

Check all the references a person presents on their resume, especially with those that pertain to similar jobs. This is the first step before choosing.

Talk to the families they worked with and confirm the experience they claim to have with children. If someone you trust can recommend them, then that could be your best guarantee.

2. Schedule an Interview

Schedule and prepare for the interview you’ll have with the possible candidates.

Ask all the questions you deem necessary in order to “feel them out.” And ask about their previous work and if they have experience looking after children. Also, ask why they’re no longer working with those families. In addition, ask them how they would deal with various situations that might occur while taking care of your children.

In addition, find out how they feel about punishments and rewards.

3. Check for Manners and Presence

As you select a nanny, it’s very important that they have a good attitude, manners and a pleasant personality during the interview.

Good presence is not about dressing like an executive or a fashion model. It’s about looking well-groomed, neat and tidy, and that they know how to dress appropriately for this occasion.

They must also reflect good manners and carry themselves with respectability. Keep in mind that your children will follow the example of this person and learn from them.

4. Do a Small Test

Take a few minutes to do this during the interview so you can see how they are with your children. Make sure the child likes this person and don’t question their feelings. Their intuition is a lot sharper than yours. The same goes for the family pet if you have one.

Also, pay attention to how you feel during their interaction. Are you comfortable, calm and safe from the get-go? You can’t force a relationship between your children and a nanny. If you do, then you’ll make the separation process a lot harder on everyone involved.

5. Confirm Your Schedule and Their Availability

From the information you gather at the interview, you should know how long they’re willing to provide services. Confirm that they can be there on time and whether they need to leave exactly when they specify or if they have any flexibility.

If either one of you has any problems with the schedule, then it’s better to continue interviewing other possible matches for the job.

6. State Your Rules and Conditions

During the interview to select a nanny, the candidate should know what you expect from them. This includes:

  • How exactly they should care for the baby and/or children.
  • What’s the extent of their responsibilities.
  • How to act if there’s an emergency.
  • What constitutes an emergency.

If the candidate has any objections in regard to how you want them to deal with your children, then interview the next candidate.

7. Ask the Candidate to State Their Terms and Conditions

During the interview, a candidate must state their working conditions. The more specific and detailed they are, the better for you.

If there’s an incompatibility with what you need, then they’re not the right match for the job. Then, you should continue the process in order to select a different nanny.

Remember: there’s nothing more important to the well-being of your family.

How to Select a Perfect Nanny

A man doing a girl's hair.
A good caregiver will be able to relate well to your child, keep them content and healthy, and give you greater freedom and peace of mind.

If you find that the nanny you select meets all of these requirements, then you’re ready to give them a more formal test. They can start looking after your children for short periods of time here and there. This way, you can observe and analyze how they respond in various situations and how it impacts the behavior of your little ones.

Similarly, pay attention to whether they’re complying with the instructions that you established. You need to give them a number where they can reach you at all times where they can inform you about any news or just about their regular routine. If you feel satisfied with this second test, then you can hire them for longer periods of time.

Finally, even if you select the best nanny in the world, they’ll never be able to replace your attention as a parent. Regardless of the many hours that you may have to work, only you can provide unconditional love to your children.

Don’t deprive them, and yourself, of the privilege of growing up together. Time goes by extremely fast and there’ll be a day in which you’ll have all the time in the world to spend with your kids, but they won’t.

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  • Castrillón González, Lisbeth Yalile, et al. “Corporación escuela para niñeras y cuidadores.” (2010).
  • Cid López, Rosa María. “Madres sustitutas y oficios femeninos. Nodrizas y niñeras en la Roma antigua.” Los trabajos de las mujeres en el mundo antiguo: cuidado y mantenimiento de la vida (2016).
  • Gorbán, Debora. “De niñeras, cuidadoras y empleadas domésticas: una mirada sobre los procesos de selección de trabajadoras del cuidado entre familias de clases medias en la ciudad de Buenos Aires.” Documentos para discusión Nº14(2014).