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Hiring a Nanny: 7 Critical Things to Do

hiring a nanny

Are you hiring a nanny? Here’s what you must know and do to find the ideal candidate your kids will love and adore. 

Are you looking to find the next Mary Poppins or Mrs. Doubtfire that your kid will adore? The nanny may not have to be able to stick stars in the sky or talk to animals, but they should be someone who will ensure your little one stays safe and stir excitement in your kid’s heart. 

But how do you hire someone you can trust? Where should you look for a nanny, and how do you make an offer?

I’ve got all the answers for you in the article below. Let’s dive into the seven fundamentals of hiring a nanny!

Things to do before signing a contract

Research which type of care you prefer

The first item on our list of hiring a nanny is to research which type of care you prefer. Your nanny options are as wide as the colors of the rainbow. 

  • Nanny housekeepers: there are the nanny housekeepers who take care of your child, but also do housekeeping duties.
  • Full-time live-out nannies: these nannies work full-time, five days per week. Their main duties focus on child care, including playtime, bath time, activities, meals, homework, and so on. However, they don’t live in your home or perform any housekeeping tasks. These nannies are generally experts with extensive training and education in childhood development. 
  • Live-in nannies: these nannies perform the same tasks as the live-out nannies, but live in your home.
  • Part-time nannies: the part-time nannies help with child care tasks after school, for only a few days of the week, or when kids are out of school for the summer. 
  • Nanny “shares”: nanny sharing involves one nanny sharing their services with two families. If you know a family who’s willing to share a nanny with you, this can be a great way to save costs and ensure quality care from a trained nanny.
  • Au pair: an au pair nanny is a unique child care arrangement where a student from a foreign country provides childcare and light housekeeping in exchange for room, board, and a weekly stipend. Au pair nannies usually have one-year contracts. 

With so many nanny options available, the first step on your “hiring a nanny” list should be to take a moment to outline your needs. For example, if you have a tight budget, you may not be able to pay for a full-time live-out nanny. Also, if you can’t pay for a full year in advance, then an au pair nanny is out of the option.

how to hire a nanny

Connect with potential nannies

Once you know what you’re looking for and have decided on a budget, it’s time to connect with potential nannies.

There are a few ways how you can get in touch, including:

  • Word of mouth: word of mouth recommendations are always more trustworthy and valuable as they come from your close friends and family. Ask your fellow parents if they know of a great nanny that you can hire. Whether you’re at the local playground or a yoga class, someone will know of a nanny that is looking for new opportunities. 
  • Nanny recruitment agencies: in case your fellow parents and friends can’t think of a nanny to recommend, you can always reach out to nanny recruitment agencies for help. Call a few local agencies and ask about their process. Keep in mind that every agency has its own policies, fees, and replacement guarantees timelines. 
  • Nanny websites: a third option is to find a nanny on websites like Care, UrbanSitter, and Nextdoor. Many of these websites will ask you a few questions in order to match you with a nanny that’s a good fit for your preferences. 

Do an interview

The next step after you decide on a few potential candidates is to schedule an interview. 

The interview can either be conducted in-person or remotely using a video chat tool like Zoom or Google Meet. 

The interview will be an excellent opportunity to learn more of the candidate, listen as they explain their experience, and get a better sense of their personalities. 

Ask many questions related to their background, education, training, and some situational questions.

Some questions you can ask the potential candidates include:

  • How long have you been caring for children?
  • What age groups have you cared for?
  • Do you have other life experience that makes you a good nanny?
  • Is your schedule flexible?
  • What’s your caregiving style?
  • Are you comfortable with doing other household tasks like meal prep and light cleaning?
  • Have you taken classes in child care? 
  • What was your most recent nanny experience? 
  • How would you handle a difficult child care situation, like for example, a baby crying uncontrollably? 

For more questions, check out this list

how to hire a good nanny tips

Do a background check and call their references

To do your own background check, you’ll need the candidate’s written permission, as well as their full name, social security number, and driver’s license. If the candidate is a foreign citizen, you’ll need her passport number and work permit/visa. 

Choose a good background check company and trust them with doing a thorough background check.

In addition, you can check the Child Abuse and Neglect Records. And in case the nanny refuses a background check, then that can be a red flag. 

Apart from a background check, another idea is to call the candidate’s references. 

A good idea is to get in touch with at least two past employers and ask them specific questions, such as:

  • Did you have a positive experience with the nanny?
  • Why did the nanny leave the job?
  • Was the nanny reliable and honest?
  • What did you like the most about the nanny?
  • Was there anything you didn’t like about the nanny?

Do a trial day

Did you get stuck between two amazing candidates and don’t know which one to hire?

Do a trial-day! Invite the two candidates for a trial-day with pay. Let them spend an entire day with you and your kids and see how they’re around them. This can be a lovely opportunity for you to see the candidates’ personality and work ethic. 

Sign a contract

Once you decide on a candidate, it’s time to draw up a contract. A contract protects both you and the nanny, in case something unexpected happens. Sit down and put together a contract that will include:

  • Salary.
  • Benefits.
  • Job responsibilities.
  • Use of household equipment.
  • Notice period.

The more details you include in your contract, the better. Go through the contract with your nanny and let them tell you what they think.

Things to do after you sign a contract

Set up your taxes

As soon as your nanny accepts your job offer, your responsibilities as an employer begin.

To legally become an employer, you need to prepare an SS-4 form and send it to the IRS. You’ll get an employer identification number (EIN) that you’ll need when filing paperwork for annual or quarterly reporting. You must also give a Form W-2 to your nanny each year so they can use it to file their tax return.

For tax year 2020, nanny taxes apply if a family pays any household employee $2,200 or more in a calendar year. 

Use this nanny payroll calculator to calculate:

  • your nanny’s gross pay
  • the taxes withheld from them
  • your employer taxes each pay period

Note: Keep in mind that laws vary depending on where you live. Visit this nanny tax page to see the specific requirements for the area where you live. 

Finally, remember that…

With good preparation, hiring a nanny can be a piece of cake. Be honest with yourself and potential candidates about your family’s needs, preferences, and budget. Check the candidate’s references, and do a trial-day if you have a hard time to decide between a few good candidates. Finally, protect yourself by signing a contract and setting up your taxes properly. 

Good luck!

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