Having placed nannies for over 25 years, we can say honestly we have seen it all when it comes to families hiring in-home caregivers. When a new mom calls to find out about our agency, one thing we often hear is “Can I have a Mary Poppins nanny?” Unfortunately, wanting to hire Mary Poppins and pay her $10 an hour is not very realistic. Mary Poppins used magic to care for the Banks children. The nannies we place do not seem to have those magic powers. But they are loving and nurturing individuals who are dedicated to caring for children and making a difference in a child’s life (despite not having a fashionable hat and a parrot umbrella when they show up on your doorstep).
Families need to be honest about their expectations of the person they will be hiring, as well as their budget. Although many tend to equate babysitters and nannies, ask yourself whether you would hire the high school student down the street care to care for your 4-week old baby on a full-time basis. Nannies are not babysitters. In fact, the majority of them have chosen this as their career.
From our years of experience, there are a few key points to keep in mind when hiring a nanny:
- Nannies need to be accommodating and flexible with the families they work with. On the flip side, the family also needs to be accommodating and flexible with the nanny they work with.
- Make sure there is a connection with the nanny and feel comfortable with your decision. We’ve seen families hire the first person they interview and others who hire the tenth person.
- Consider your job description and the attributes you are looking for in the person you hire.
- Share your child rearing philosophies with the candidates; having the same approach can be very helpful, since it means both of you are on the same page.
As you go through the process of interviewing various personalities, if you finally think you found your “Mary Poppins” (or as close as you can get), make sure to check references and conduct a background check. We have encountered so many families that find their nannies elsewhere and end up having to come back to the agency for a replacement because they did not do the proper screening prior to hiring.
Our last tip: if anyone mentions paying your nanny “off the books,” understand that as a household employer, you are responsible for paying your nanny legally.
We have heard so many wonderful stories about how a nanny becomes a part of the family. A New England Nanny has placed nannies who have been working with the same families for 5, or even 10 years, and that is what makes our job so rewarding. Call us at (518) 348-0400 and let us know how we can help you!