Advice for parents choosing childcare

November 2, 2012

Erin shares some tips on hiring a nanny or babysitter for your youngster.

When hiring a nanny here are 5 things to think about to have a successful and healthy relationship.

1. Job Description: Many nannies are accustomed to working long days of 10 - 12 hours. Make sure your job description, duties and schedule is reasonable and not going to cause burn out! Be clear about what you expect of your nanny so if she accepts your job their are no surprises. The more clear the expectations - the happier your nanny!

2. Recruiting: Using a reputable agency who properly screens nannies is a great option. Your agency should be vetting the professionals from the occasional babysitters, interviewing them in person, reference checking, making sure they are legal to work, background checking and making sure the nanny is a good fit for your families needs. If you can not afford to use an agency you can find a nanny on your own through friends or online resources, but then you should use an agency who will charge you a minimal fee to properly screen them. A good agency is used to being a detective and can find many things that you may not be looking for or thought could be possible - like fake references!

3. Trial Days: Once you find a nanny you think is a good fit, it is perfectly normal to ask her for a few trial days. This gives you a sense of how she is on the job and also gives her a sense about what her days and weeks ahead will be like.

4. Competitive Offer: It is very important for you to offer your new nanny a compedative salary package. You want your nanny to be happy and not stressed about how is she going to pay her bills or feel she needs to get another job on the side. You must realize that market does not mean what your friend is paying her nanny, but ask the agencies what is a fair price for your job description, schedule and your nannies qualifications. Your friend may be paying her nanny $12 an hour for 1 child, and your job may be 3 kids. Your friends nanny may only have 2 years of childcare experience, when the nanny you are hiring has 10 years and graduated college. All of these factors come into play to determine a fair salary. You must also realize that you need to offer vacation and paid holidays. If you take 3 weeks of vacation during the summer - you must pay your nanny. Money is very stressful for most nannies and being without a paycheck for even 1 week could be detrimental to their families.

5. COMMUNICATION: Keeping the lines of communication open is KEY! You MUST check in with your nanny on a regular basis. Being a nanny is a very stressful job and they need to be able to communicate with you if something comes up. Having regular reviews is also important. Nannies are not mind readers and if something is bothering you, you need to tell them, as well as they need to tell you if they need something from you to better their performance.

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