How do I find the right nanny? Where do I start? These are questions we get all the time! So let’s get them answered! Answering the logistical “nanny search” questions is Westside Nannies Placement Counselor, Elyse Parzyck.

I am looking for a nanny for the first time and don’t even know where to start. Help!

Looking for a nanny can be completely overwhelming for any parent! Agencies, job boards, online resources – it’s an overload of information! The first thing you will want to do is pick two means by which you’ll be starting your search. For example, call a local agency and post an ad on a childcare website. Or send an email out to all of your friends who have nannies letting them know what you’re looking for and post an ad on a job board. We know that some parents are shoppers and want to see everything that’s on the market, but just like buying a sound new car, there is no need to look at every single brand under the sun. No matter what method(s) seems to feel like the best fit for your family by way of a nanny search, just don’t spread your net too big or you’ll set yourself up for stress and indecision!

Are agencies really worth it? They seem expensive, but what am I getting that I can’t get online or from a friend’s referral?

We may be a bit biased, but agencies are 100% worth it if you are looking for a long-term commitment from a true professional childcare provider. While online resources can be great to find a very part-time or date night sitter, an agency will give you access to vetted and seasoned career nannies who understand the nuances of working in a private home. In addition, the screening process & hiring process is handled FOR you, which is worth the money to many parents. That means only needing to review a handful of carefully picked resumes of candidates who have already been recruited, interviewed and reference-checked. If you are working with a reputable agency, you also have the peace of mind knowing that they are formally background-checked and Trustline-registered upon hire, which are two things parents often don’t think of doing on their own. Finally, you won’t deal with the awkwardness and hassle of negotiating face-to-face with your new nanny, as the agency acts as a mediator between the two of you. As a result, neither party feels like they’re getting the short end of the stick!

What kind of requirements should I be looking for outside of simply liking a candidate?

Having great chemistry with your nanny is essential – they are working in your home and taking care of your most prized possession. However, there are several other qualities you will want to look for in the perfect fit. First and foremost, has this person had prior experience working in a private home? You may not want or need a career nanny, but you certainly want someone who understands the intricacies of working in someone else’s house. Unlike a neutral office environment, working in a home requires much more skill than you would think, and you’ll want someone who knows how to be involved and hands-on when necessary, but also know how to step back and respect boundaries. You will also want to look for someone who understands and believes in providing excellent service. Again, you may not need someone to do more than provide tender, loving care for your little one, but you will need someone who isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty and doesn’t expect to get off of work promptly at 5PM everyday. An aptitude for service and hospitality is definitely a part of working in a private home, and the best nannies understand this! Finally, please make sure you are doing your due diligence as a parent by background & reference checking your new nanny! It’s easy to ‘fall in love’ with a candidate based on an interview, but you might not be so in love if you dig up a terrible reference or even worse – a criminal past!

What are a nanny’s duties outside of childcare?

Each family has their own expectations of what duties their nanny should be fulfilling. However, standard duties outside of childcare include any light housekeeping pertaining to the child(ren) such as kids’ laundry & linens, keeping their rooms/play areas tidy, preparing and cleaning up their meals, keeping their food and hygiene items stocked, etc. For families with infants and/or toddlers who take naps throughout the day, it is ok to ask your nanny to help with basic, light duties such as emptying the dishwasher, taking out the trash or helping with organizational projects when the children are sleeping. Nanny duties usually do NOT include deep housecleaning duties such as cleaning bathrooms, changing the parents’ linens, deep cleaning the kitchen, etc. Nonetheless, a great nanny will help out wherever she is needed if duty calls!

Should I create a contract with my nanny when she starts?

Absolutely! All too often, nannies are viewed as ‘part of the family’ or ‘just helping out here and there.’ Whether you employ someone for 10 hours a week or 60, having a contract in place is critical. This sets professional boundaries and standards upfront, which will certainly help avoid confusion or conflict over hours, pay, vacation time, etc. in the future. Furthermore, nannies ARE employees, and should be treated as so. This means creating a work environment that promotes professionalism and respect for employers right away. Too often do we hear that a nanny is ‘getting too close’ or becoming a ‘friend.’ This can cause tension and even major fallouts, and can be avoided with the creation of a professional document that is signed and sealed at the start of employment.

Are you ready to begin your nanny search? Please complete our Family Application to get your search started!