We have been getting a lot of new mommies contacting us about hiring their first nanny! It can be overwhelming and scary if you don’t know what to expect or look for. We understand!! We never want our families going into this process blind and that is why we try and kindly coach and guide them in the right direction.
I found this GREAT post by Elizabeth St. that talks about the top 10 mistakes “rookies” make when hiring a nanny. Some of which we deal with on a daily basis as an agency.
For example, we just had a conversation with a mom in the midst of hiring her first nanny. She was struggling with relinquishing control over to the nanny with such basic tasks as dishes, laundry and light cleaning. New mommies and daddies need to realize that as a (good) nanny, we WANT to help the family, in any way we can. We truly enjoy pleasing people and making their lives easier. We reassured this mom that it is OKAY to dictate and explain how you want things done. Direction, when done in a kind and respectful manor, leads to a harmonious and overall well-run household. Exactly what a nanny is supposed to provide!
This is a wonderful read for any new mommy (or daddy) looking to hire their first helper!
1. Too laidback or too rigid: Remember, the goal is not for you and your nanny to be best friends–although this could happen. The goal is for your children’s needs to be met. Set rules and boundaries so that your nanny can do her job and take care of the kids. On the other hand, do not set so many that your nanny feels as though she’s being watched or not allowed the freedom to do her job.
2. Not identifying needs properly: If this is your first time hiring a nanny it may be difficult to anticipate all that your family and children will need. Sit down with your partner and think about anything that your family currently does and needs on a daily and weekly basis. When the time comes to hire a nanny, include all those needs into the job description. It is best to err on the side of caution and assume that you will need more than less.
3. Too many hours or too little hours: When identifying the family’s needs, take into account the time of day and duration of those events. If the position you want to fill offers too little hours, you may narrow your candidate pool, as nannies do have requirements. If you include too many hours, your nanny may become burnt out. Try to find the happy medium for all.
4. Making too quick a decision: Even if you find a candidate that you love right away, take time to complete all interviews. Discuss your thoughts about each candidate with your husband. Also, you want to allow yourself options in case the nanny you love is suddenly off the market.
5. Poor interviews: Come into all the interviews prepared with a handful of questions. Cover everything from childcare philosophies to candidate’s hobbies. The more you can learn, the better you will be able to find someone who fits into your family.
6. No background check or reference check: Remember to do your due diligence and always run background and reference checks. It will not only ensure your children are in great hands, but provide peace of mind.
7. Not setting clear expectations: Again, take time to discuss all that you expect from your nanny and members of the family. Let all expectations be known from the beginning in the very first interview. Be sure to include everything in the job description and contract.
8. Poor communication, which can lead to an early firing: Communication is key is a successful nanny/family relationship. Establish a preferred mode of communication with your nanny (i.e. a daily journal that highlights children’s activities). Additionally, be sure to schedule in a six month evaluation and annual reviews.
9. No trial period: Trial periods are essential in seeing if the nanny fits in well with the family. Trial periods can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Be sure to pay your candidates for their time during the trial.
10. Not properly understanding employment and tax laws: When you hire a nanny you take on all legal responsibilities of an employer. Be sure to stay informed and up to date about state and federal employment and tax laws. Remember, these laws can change each year.