Looking for a Nanny

The first decision to be made when looking to hire a nanny is whether you want live-in or live-out childcare. There are important pros and cons of each, so be sure that you're comfortable with the decision you make.

Live-in Nanny
A live in nanny has many benefits. The greatest advantage is flexibility in hours, meaning that if something comes up, the nanny can provide you with weekend or overnight care. The parent-nanny relationship will also be more open; you'll get to know the nanny on a personal basis as she lives with your family, not just see her as she comes in before you rush out to work in the morning. This may make for a more secure environment and trust-based relationship.

If you compare nanny care to daycare, there are also many benefits. The child gets cared for in a familiar, secure environment, won't get exposed to illnesses at daycare and if you have multiple children, a nanny will be cheaper than daycare. Lastly, the care you get with a live-in nanny is reliable; a live-in nanny won't be late for work when the weather outside is bad, meaning that you can get to work on time.

There are of course disadvantages that should be considered. Your family must be able to provide private living quarters for a live-in nanny and, if she drives, access to a car. You will also be forfeiting the traditional employer-employee relationship. You should also take an active part in helping your nanny feel welcomed in your home and help her to make social contacts. A live-in nanny can get home sick and this affects how capable she is of providing your children with quality care.

Live-out Nanny
If you prefer to stay in the more traditional employer-employee relationship, then a live-out nanny may be your answer. You won't have to provide living quarters and there won't be the burden of having another adult around the house.

The disadvantage is mainly the loss of flexible work hours. When looking for a live-out nanny, punctuality is key. If you're hiring a nanny because both parents have a job, then you'll want to ensure that your nanny is punctual so you can leave to work on time.

How to Find a Nanny
You can either go the traditional route and post an advertisement or you can go through a nanny agency. Ads, however, are time consuming and won't generate the best responses, while nanny agencies can be expensive. There are also a variety of nanny resources online that can help you find a nanny close to you. The benefit of finding a nanny through an online nanny source is that the company will perform the legwork for you. They will put you in touch with nannies in your area so that you can start the interview and selection process right away.

Job Responsibilities
Usually, a nanny will provide basic childcare, act as an educator to your child and perform housekeeping duties. The amount of responsibility your nanny is willing to bear really depends on each individual nanny candidate. And the duties they perform is closely linked to their salary requirements. The more your nanny offers, the more you'll pay her. Other variables that change the price include the number of children she'll look after, her level of education and her level of childhood development knowledge.

How to Interview a Prospective Nanny
When interviewing nannies, it's a good idea to have four or five criteria important to you that your nanny candidates have to meet. You may even want to visit a chat room to ask other mothers who have done nanny interviews before for any tips they might have. Some example criteria includes: the nanny must be willing to do light housekeeping, have a driver's license, be comfortable with your pet dog and be able to play and do arts and crafts with your child.

You'll also want to look into her past experience and contact references to see whether the nanny had a positive impact on children in past situations. Don't forget to ask about reliability and punctuality when you contact past references — these are very important traits in your nanny!

Lastly, gauge how comfortable you feel when speaking with the nanny candidate; you'll want to pay attention to how warm and nurturing she is and how she would mesh with your child. It's also a good idea to let her meet your child at the end of the interview to watch their interaction. Remember, it's usually a good idea to go with your gut reaction when selecting a nanny.

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