Having a nanny at home can be an incredible asset to help care for your kids when you are away.
Making sure you have the nanny or au pair that is right for your family is essential for peace of mind for everyone’s safety.
Here are some tips to help you sift through the nanny candidates:
Write up the job
When you first realize your family will need childcare support, you may be tempted to sound the alarm to anyone and everyone right away. Before you start asking for help, write up a job description for the type of help you are looking for in a nanny or au pair.
Make sure to include all of your expectations in the details. Ask yourself…
- Are you looking for someone to also clean/tidy up the house?
- What is your pay rate?
- Do the hours fluctuate from day to day or steady, Monday through Friday?
Putting ink to paper can help you better understand what – and who – you want from this venture.
Talk to your agent
Your job description will be unique for your personal lifestyle. As you consider exactly what your nanny or au pair will do, talk to your independent agent to see whether or not adding or increasing certain coverage options is right for you. Consider asking your agent:
- Is umbrella coverage against potential legal issues practical for me?
- If the person I hire uses the family car, do I need to add him/her to my existing auto coverage?
- If I have valuables in the house not currently on valuable item coverage schedule, is bringing a new person into my house the time to do so?
Conduct a professional interview
Nannying is not babysitting for the night – it’s a profession, so treat it like one.
Make sure to conduct the interview face-to-face. Lay out your expectations to all candidates. If this is your first time hiring a nanny, review an interviewer checklist such as this to ensure you cover various topics. Get references and ask questions that span many different topics, such as previous experience, their caregiving style and if there are any special considerations (religious holidays, allergies, etc.) you or the nanny want to talk about ahead of time.
Also, check their references to help ensure you have done a thorough background check.
Seal the hiring in ink
If you have found the ideal nanny for you, and vetted their references, don’t settle for a handshake agreement.
Help your family – and the nanny – by spelling out all aspects of the job in a formal work agreement that both parties sign. Make sure to include important elements, such as:
- Pay amount and schedule
- Days off
- Benefits (if applicable)
- If the hired party is ever allowed to have guests over
- Effective start and end date
See this list of things to consider in a contract.
Once you have hired your nanny, set them up for success with an initial run through of important aspects of the job.
Give the nanny a tour of your home making sure to point out how to use safety devices in your house (i.e. smoke detectors, locks, alarms). Show the nanny where certain devices are in the event of an emergency, such as flashlights, first aid kits and fire extinguishers – and write out an emergency action plan so both of you understand what steps should be taken. Review any fire escape plans together.
If your home has valuables or other items you wish to remain out of your nanny or au pair's hands, be sure to lock them up safely every day. Consider a home safe for an extra layer of protection.
If your child takes medication, write out a clear action plan and review it regularly with your nanny to ensure correct times, doses, etc. If your child has allergies, explain what foods are acceptable to make for them – and if any foods should not be brought into the house.