How to Hire the Perfect Nanny

Posted on Nov 7, 2013 by 1 Comment

Are you expecting a baby or going back to work and in the market for a nanny? Many mothers find themselves in this position. It’s a difficult thing to find someone that you trust implicitly with the care of your baby, even if your baby is 7.

As parents, ideally we want the love child of Mary Poppins and Nanny McPhee with a teenie bit of Jo Frost thrown in to make the medicine go down. But since they only exist in the movies, to find the perfect nanny for our family, we need to first know what we want, need and expect from her and secondly, we need to ask ourselves some questions.

Can we afford it and what are we willing to make exceptions for? You need to know your expectations and limits in your child’s care and be very upfront about it.

Is a nanny in your budget? Nanny salaries vary dramatically by region and by the experience of the candidate. A nanny who has more than 2 years of experience will make more than one who does not, as will a nanny who lives out versus one who is live in.

The national average hourly rate for babysitting or short-term assignments is $16 per hour. The national average gross weekly salary for full-time live-out nannies is $705. The national average gross weekly salary for full-time live-in nannies is $652. So before you even start looking for a nanny, figure out if this is in your budget.

What are the qualities and qualifications that you MUST have in a nanny?  If you are like me, you don’t trust just anyone to care for your children. In fact, you may not truly trust any one. So, be honest with yourself and make a list of qualifications that your nanny absolutely must have and qualities that would be nice-to-have.

A non-smoker, CPR and first aid certified, and likes children are must haves for me. Does your child have a medical disability or special needs? Then you need a nanny who is experienced and qualified in this area. Some nannies specialize in newborns and some in older children, some nannies have no college degree but many years of hands on experience, while others have no experience but a degree in early childhood development or education. It is up to you to decide what you prefer.

Write a job description that gives candidates a clear idea of what you are looking for. This will help you to not waste time weeding through candidates who are not even close to what you want. It will also save candidates who are not a fit from wasting their time.

You can use it as a checklist. The more detailed you are, the easier it will be for everyone.

Need someone who is skilled at bathing newborns and skilled at making homemade baby food? Put it in the job description. Someone skilled in changing cloth diapers and making bentos? Put it in there. Need someone to drive the kids to soccer and ballet? It must be included in the job description. Want your child to learn a second language? Require a nanny who is bilingual.

Basically, you want a nanny who shares your views on parenting so that she will carry over your desires while you are not in the home.

Start your search. Give yourself about six months to find the perfect nanny. You don’t want to start your search in a crunch and just accept the first candidate who applies; after all, you are finding someone to care for the most precious thing in your life.

There are several reputable online sites like and that prescreen candidates. Then you choose from a group that fits your criteria which eliminates some of the legwork for you. Or you can opt for a nanny agency that handles the whole thing including a criminal background check.

Interview the best candidates. First phone screen those that best fit your criteria. Also, this is the time to inform possible candidates that they will need to submit to a drug and background check. If you like the candidate, take it to the next level and have an in person interview. Then have your questions ready, see how she responds. Go with your gut.

What is the most important thing you look for in a caregiver for your child?

Photo Source: Ed Yourdon

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Posted in: Mommy Stuff
Deborah Cruz

Deborah Cruz, aka Truthful Mommy, is the creator of the magic that is The TRUTH about Motherhood. She is a wife, a writer, fashionista, and semi-crunchy, work-at-home Ninja Mommy living in the Midwest with her two beautiful girls and her husband. Waiting on her children in pick up lines, she can likely be found chirping on Twitter and engaging on Facebook

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  • Emily (CityBaby Living)

    I’m just beginning this search. A check-list is a great addition to what I’m doing – Thanks!

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