One of the biggest mistakes that I see parents make when searching for a nanny is that they jump directly into their nanny search by asking other moms for “good nanny” recommendations and start interviewing candidates without first taking the time to communicate the basics of the job, family preferences and budget. While I empathize with a parent’s anxiety to find a “good nanny” quickly, the interviewing process will be a whole lot less stressful and time consuming if you slow down and follow these simple steps before you begin the nanny interview process.
Step 1: Create a Nanny Wish List and Job Description
Before you start your search, you need to first identify and clearly communicate what type of nanny you are looking for. Of course, you need a nanny who is safe, reliable, loving and attentive to your child but let’s think beyond those important characteristics (as they should be a prerequisite for any caregiver) into the basics of the actual employment. Take the time to write out:
“The Non-Negotiables”: Requirements that a nanny candidate must be able to fulfill to apply for the position
“The Wants”: Things that would be preferred but the inability to provide these things will not immediately disqualify an otherwise qualified nanny E.g. Can babysit one Saturday night per month for a date night; ability and willingness to prep or cook simple meals for your family; physically fit or athletic to play sports with kids; willing to do family laundry
“The Extras”: These are non-essentials but they make a strong nanny candidate look amazing! E.g. Willing to travel with your family on occasion; able to teach your child piano; able to develop a curriculum plan for your child’s education; ability to work as a weekday live-in nanny during the summer in the Hamptons
Step 2: Research the Nanny Market
Step 3: Write a detailed “Help Wanted Ad” with an overview of your position’s needs
By clearly identifying and communicating the basic needs for your job, you will not only weed out individuals who will not be a good fit but also create an interview environment that is focused on getting to know the nanny’s experience level, child-rearing style, personality and discuss the most important part of the job… your child!
To learn about Choice Parenting childcare coaching sessions and receive guidance as you begin the nanny interview process to hire a quality nanny for your family contact Holly Flanders for a free phone consultation.
Hiring a nanny or babysitter to care for and protect your children while you are away can be unnerving for any parent whether you have an infant or school aged child. While there are many steps you can take to ensure you hire a quality caregiver, parents often wish there were more ways to monitor their child’s well being throughout the day. Is your nanny doing what she says she is? While outside are they going where she says they are? Is your child’s best interest at the forefront of their caregiver’s mind?
While the end goal is to trust your nanny- trust is something that should not be given freely but rather is something that grows over time, with relationship and a history of reliable behavior. Nanny cameras are a great tool to check in on your child while in the home but how can parents know what is happening once they leave the house?
Thanks Fox News for featuring Choice Parenting on Fox and Friends Morning Show!
Tips to keep in mind before hiring your next nanny
If you or someone you know is planning to hire a nanny I would LOVE to help! I offer free phone consultation to discuss your situation and the benefits of my affordable childcare coaching sessions which can be done in person or over the phone. I will give you the tools and teach you the best practices to find, hire and keep a nanny that matches your unique family! Call or email today!
Any seasoned, working mom will tell you that finding reliable and quality childcare is key for creating a healthy work-life balance. But where do you find a great nanny that you can trust? And how do you navigate this unique and intimate employment relationship?
In Rachel Levy Lesser’s new book, Who's Going To Watch My Kids, she recounts insightful stories of her journey to hire and keep a great nanny for her two children. This book is an easy read filled with humorous accounts of Rachel and her friend’s experiences, tips for avoiding the mistakes they made, and advice for building a healthy employment relationship with your nanny.
This entertaining book is must read for expectant and new moms who are searching for their perfect Mary Poppins as well as working moms trying to understand their current nanny relationship. Check out this excerpt from Who’s Going To Watch My Kids and be sure to order this great book and read Rachel’s other publications at www.rachellevylesser.com
The Online Ad
Our search for nanny number two was different from the first one, kind of like how baby number two is always different from baby number one. Not necessarily better or worse, just different. One of my new mom friends suggested that I place an ad on a local caregiving website. (I was so pleased to be making real connections with other moms in our new hometown. It was kind of like how I felt after I made real friends in college—not just the ones who lived on my freshman hall.) Searching for someone online to look after our then toddler Joey and new baby girl on the way sounded a bit scary back in 2005. But my trusty new mom friends assured me that they had found great nannies online. It was certainly worth a shot.
The response to my online ad was overwhelming. The site generated an email to you every time someone answered your ad. I received so many that I had trouble focusing on work those first few days that the ad was posted. I felt kind of popular. I had met Neil before the days of online dating, but I imagined that this was in some way what it felt like to get lots of responses to your online dating profile. I figured we looked attractive to potential nannies. Perhaps we would have our pick of lots of qualified candidates?
The problem with an online ad, I soon learned, was that it was seen by so many people that so many responded whether they met the requirements or not—even more so than my initial ad in the paper that brought us nanny Amy. It was also springtime, and I was hearing from lots of college students who planned on being home for the summer, but were then headed right back to school come September. I assumed they could read the part of the ad that said “long-term permanent position.” Apparently many candidates chose to ignore the fine print, albeit not so fine at all.
I had a great interview with one young woman named Catherine who came to me through the website. But by the time I responded to her inquiry, she had already taken another job—for my good friend Suzanne. Suzanne and I met when our first children were babies at a brunch hosted by a mutual friend. We hit it off right away, bonding over our pre-baby lives in New York City and our struggles to find good childcare so that we could hang on to our careers. Suzanne is a social worker who helps cancer patients through the physical and emotional roller coaster of their treatments. She also counsels grieving family members who have lost loved ones to the dis- ease. Suzanne quickly became my unofficial therapist as we met just a few months after my mother died. I don’t know what I would have done without her.
Almost instantly, I felt like I could tell Suzanne anything, and she later told me that the feeling was mutual. Our conversations flowed without effort as we discussed cancer and dying, friendship and family, and then easily switched gears to assembly instructions for baby bouncy seats and where to find the best salad dressings. Incidentally Suzanne makes the best salads and they always compliment my homemade desserts. We still talk about opening a restaurant one day where we would only serve salads and desserts.
Suzanne and I figured out pretty quickly one day that she had snatched nanny Catherine away from me off of the caregiving website as we compared notes. Catherine still babysits for Suzanne’s children on Saturday nights, now nine years later. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had managed to get to Catherine and hire her as nanny number two. Would it have worked out? Would she still be our nanny today?
We ended up finding nanny number two, Ellie, from the same caregiving website. Ellie was an energetic and fun-loving young woman who already worked for another family two days a week and was able to work for us on the other three days. Ellie proposed the nanny share idea to us during the interview, and we thought it sounded great. Part-time work was ideal for my schedule, but it often made the nanny search more difficult as most candidates wanted full-time work. A nanny share made perfect sense to me.
Ellie had just earned her degree in elementary education, and she hoped to teach one day, but it was hard to get a teaching job, especially in the ultra-competitive school districts she was targeting. I figured one day she would make the leap from nanny to teacher, but I hoped that would not be for a long time. After all, that’s what she had told us during the interview. She seemed bubbly and sweet, and she was great with then-two-year-old Joey. Ellie got right down on the floor and played with him, and we kind of fell in love. Until we fell out of love just four months later when Ellie left us to take a teaching job that she promised us she wouldn’t take for at least another year.
My friend Nina found her fantastic first nanny of seven years from an ad she put on craigslist. I met Nina through our kids, who go to school together. Nina is a partner at a mid-sized law firm in downtown Philadelphia, and she is one of the best multitaskers I have ever met. She can make her three kids breakfast, do two loads of laundry, answer work emails, and prepare dinner for her nanny to warm up that evening, and all before 7:00 a.m. Her multitasking skills translate into her being a great friend, as she is always there to help me out, give my kids a ride, and bounce an idea off of. She also has great naturally curly hair, and I am probably most envious of that. After all, I was the kid who ate the crusts off of all my sandwiches because my mother told me it would give me curly hair. My hair is still pin straight, even on a really humid day.
Nina was looking for someone to watch her twin babies when they were just three months old. She had initially thought that she would put the twins in daycare, but chose to go the nanny route after negotiating a part- time work schedule with her firm. Nina felt a bit behind when she placed her nanny ad on craigslist just two weeks before going back to work. Luckily, she had a lot of responses to the ad, and she managed to screen over the phone until she narrowed down her pool to five candidates. Then two candidates canceled and two more didn’t show up for their scheduled interviews. And then there was one—Liza.
As was the case with our first nanny, Amy, Liza seemed to be Nina’s best hope, and most likely her only hope. Liza walked into Nina’s house with a copy of the New York Times nicely tucked into an NPR tote bag, and Nina knew she was the one. She had to be. Looking back on that day, Nina now recognizes that she may have put a little too much faith into her intellectually snobby instinct, but it was something. If Liza read the paper of record (“All the News That’s Fit to Print”), and listened to NPR enough to warrant carrying the actual tote bag around, then she had to be a good person to take care of her babies.
She was. Liza’s interview went really well, as Nina and her husband Mark learned how Liza had retired from a teaching career in the Philadelphia public school sys- tem. She had raised three children of her own, one of whom went to college at Mark’s Ivy League alma mater. If she had raised her kids to be happy and successful young adults, perhaps she would help to do the same for Nina and Mark’s kids? Liza ended up being a very positive influence on their children. So much so that when the family moved out to the suburbs six years after hiring Liza, she continued to work for them for another full year. Eventually though, Liza needed more hours and the family needed fewer.
Nina’s experience with nanny Liza was certainly better than my friend Lori’s online recruitment from Care. com for her first nanny, Bonnie. Lori, then a New York– based accountant, was putting in the extra hours at her firm, even with a new baby at home. Lori felt that she couldn’t get behind on her billable hours, especially as a new mother who was trying so hard to prove herself at the male-dominated firm where she worked. I admired her for doing this—for “leaning in” or “getting a seat at the table” (as much as those terms have become overused and have even started to annoy me). Lori was the real deal: a very impressive, young working mom. I wondered if I could have maintained the big corporate magazine job as a new mom. I was grateful for my part-time set-up at the smaller marketing firm.
Lori hired her nanny Bonnie contingent upon a few days of on-the-job training. During these few days, Lori worked from home to see how Bonnie did. It was a good thing Lori put that measure in place. Lori took a break from work in her home office and walked into her living room to check on baby Abby and nanny Bonnie. She found Bonnie sound asleep on the floor with her back against the couch, while Abby sat nearby and played with her plastic cup toys. Thankfully baby Abby was not yet mobile. Lori went back to Care.com and hired her second choice, who quickly rose to the ranks of first choice.
When you look for a nanny online, be prepared to act quickly. Otherwise you could lose out on a strong candidate like I did with Catherine. You should also be prepared to get those candidates who don’t read that ever-important fine print. You know, the “fine print” that says you need part-time or full-time help, or some- one that drives, or whatever essential thing it is that you need. When candidates go online, a lot of the time they are just browsing, and may respond to something on a whim without fully understanding the commitment. This was the case for our second nanny Ellie, who only worked for us for one summer. She probably always knew that it would be a summer fling.
This was an excerpt from Rachel Levy Lesser’s new book Who’s Going to Watch My Kids?
Join Choice Parenting for an informational class on 'Understanding Your Childcare Options' at Caribou Baby this Sunday, April 26th 3-4pm (easy commute from Manhattan). This class is great for expectant and new parents who are beginning their search for quality childcare for their family.
We will discuss the benefits, challenges, and feasibility of daycares, nannies, nanny-sharing, and Au pairs. We will give you information, insight, and advice to help you find the best suited caregiver for your unique family's needs, personality, lifestyle, budget and child raising beliefs.
After the class, each attendee will receive an emailed copy of the Choice Parenting "Finding A Quality Daycare" and "Nanny Hiring Guide' with our recommended search and hiring process, tour/interview questions, tips and considerations to help you start your childcare search.
Hope to see you there!
One of the biggest highlights of having a nanny is that your child will be exposed to far less illnesses than those that attend daycare. And when your baby is sick with symptoms that can often times last for days, you will not be forced to miss work or pay for backup childcare.
But what happens when your nanny becomes sick?
Parents should be aware that anyone who works in close contact with young children is bound to get sick from time to time. As part of her job, your nanny will be changing diapers, kissing germy cheeks, spit up on, sneezed on and have little fingers touching her face all day long. No one enjoys being sick but this miserable experience is compounded when combined with the financial worry of missed pay and placing your nanny family in a bind.
Most parents do not mind covering a few days within reason but nothing will turn a the employment relationship sour like a nanny who calls out sick last minute or repeatedly leaves their family expensing unexpected vacation time or additional funds for backup childcare. On the other hand, a nanny expecting payment for the days she was ill, may feel disrespected if she believes paid sick time is the standard in a professional employment or feels she missed work after properly caring for your ill child.
In many cases, a contagious employee may chose to come to work to skip the stress of calling out, which is unfair to all parties, as your family will be exposed to illness, your child will be left alone with a caregiver unable to give 100%, and your employee is not given the time needed to care for herself.
While paid sick days is not required by the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, there are some states that do require payment or unpaid time off without penalty so be sure to check with your state’s regulations. For example, New York requires 3 paid sick days after a year of employment for domestic employees that work more than 80 hours per calendar year according to the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. For those that have not worked a full calendar year for the same employer, these workers are entitled to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave. Employers in NY must give their workers written notice of their sick time policy and the law at time of hire. Guidelines for this can be found on the nyc.gov website.
The key to any healthy relationship is clear communication and expectations! Whether or not you are required to pay your nanny for sick time or a last minute call out, be sure to have a discussion during the interview process and write the details of your agreement into your “Nanny Contract”.
Here are some questions to consider and discuss during the interview or “Nanny Contract” negotiation:
What is the “Sick Day” policy with your nanny or nanny family?
Do you need more guidance on how to create your employment expectations and a detailed “Nanny Contract”? Choice Parenting would love to help! Check out our Childcare Coaching Sessions or our Hourly Custom Service and let us assist you to make your nanny relationship a success.
A Valentine's day present gifted to your nanny is most likely not anticipated or expected but rather just a nice gesture to let your caregiver know that she is dear to your family. Surprising her with a thoughtful gift is a great way to keep the employment relationship strong and to show your nanny that she is appreciated and cared for.
While many people love the idea of gift giving, it can be tricky to find just the right thing at a cost that won't break the bank. Of course flowers, chocolate, a handmade card from your kids or a gift card to her favorite restaurant will be a welcomed surprise but if you are looking for something just a little bit different here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing!
Does your Nanny....
...head to the gym after work?
Consider gifting a pass or package to check out a new gym class such as: Cycling, Zumba, Yoga, Pilates, or Barre.
... always look for ways to better herself as a nanny?
Subscribe her to the Nanny Magazine which has a tons of creative craft, book, educational, and meal ideas along with articles specifically geared to support professional nannies.
... do a lot of baby wearing or sit on the floor to play with young kids all day?
A 60 minute back or a foot massage at a nearby spa may be just the ticket for your nanny!
...like arts and crafts?
Pick up a gift card to a local art store or make a gift bag of inspiring art supplies.
...enjoy getting fixed up and pretty?
Treat her to a gift bag of new nail polish, eyeshadow, or lipstick colors for spring.
...pride herself in her job?
Gift her a "Love, Teach, Inspire" necklace that signifies her important role in your children's lives.
Whatever you decide to do just be sure to say.... "We love having you as our nanny! Happy Valentine's Day!"
Your best friend may swear by nannies, while your sister believes that daycare is preparing her children for the Ivy League, but how do you choose which type of care is best for your family? Because your family is like no other, you need to make your choice based on your unique family's needs, wants, budget, personality, lifestyle, and parenting philosophies. So what should you be considering?
Group care and “schooling” at a young age can be an incredible and valuable experience for many children and families. Daycares are often more affordable and boast quality care with structured classroom learning. They also provide the opportunity for socialization and experiences that are hard to recreate in a home environment with only one child. On the other hand, daycare can be a struggle for parents who are passionate about their child’s care being handled with a specific childrearing approach and on a schedule of their choosing. Also, some children may struggle with minimal one-on-one attention, over-stimulation, and health concerns in a daycare.
One of the main advantages of a nanny is that she is able to focus her attention and affection solely on your child’s needs, while complying with your instructions and beliefs for education. A nanny can work on a schedule that best fits your life, and may assist in keeping your home environment in order, allowing you to spend your time on the things that matter most. But keep in mind that this situation is only as good as the nanny herself! Parents need to consider that it can be more expensive and complicated to have an in-home employee. Time and effort needs to be invested into the hiring and training process ensuring that you find the best fit caregiver and work is required throughout the period of employment for maintaining healthy communication.
So, is daycare or a nanny better for your family?
Here are three tips to deciding which type of care is right for you:
Assess your family
Because there is no right or wrong answer to the nanny vs. daycare debate, you need to consider the lifestyle and culture of your unique family. This will help you think through the type of care your family will need as well as what types of caregivers will best blend with your family dynamics. Go beyond the basics of your schedule, needs, and budget to ask questions such as:
Do your research
After you have carefully assessed your family's needs, research the childcare market in your area and interview both daycare and nannies. Talk to seasoned parents to understand the benefits, challenges, and feasibility of the different options and how they may or may not apply to your family. Find out the standard industry rates for nannies in your area, your legal obligations, best practices for interviewing and hiring, and the benefits that many quality nannies expect to determine what will fit your family’s budget.
Go with your gut
The bottom line is you may never truly "know" and even once you have a plan in place you may find yourself revisiting the decision. So after assessing your family and researching you options, follow your "mommy (or daddy) intuition", knowing that there is no right or wrong but rather a choice to be made!
Do you need more assistance or have questions? Let Choice Parenting guide you through your search for quality childcare! We offer one-on-one coaching session or group classes in your home, office or phone to help you navigate childcare. www.choice-parenting.com
As someone who has worked with daycares, teachers, and nannies for over a decade, I understand the weight of making sure that the person you hire to care for your children is safe, loving, and honest. But even after spending much time researching background checks for nannies, I still had many questions about how a parent can ensure that the caregiver they hire can be trusted with their children and their home.
So I sought out, Lenny Golino, president of Gold Shield Elite Investigations and retired NYPD detective, for an interview to better understand the significance of nanny background checks and what parents can do to protect their families.
Please tell us Lenny, why is a nanny background check so important?
Parents need to know whom they are putting into their home, for their child or children’s safety. In addition to their safety, another area of concern is protecting against identity theft. Many victims of identity theft are victims from within.
What is the difference between the background check services that you provide as a licensed private investigation company and the background checks that parents can do online?
Any online service that a consumer can access is NOT a real background search. Fees vary and you are not getting anything more than public records. The difference when obtaining a background search from a private investigator is that we are licensed by the Department of State granting access to databases that the online services cannot provide.
What type of searches and checks does Gold Shield provide?
Our comprehensive search can provide a full gauge of a particular person’s lifestyle, by providing:o
Beyond a professional background check, what else can families do to protect their children and their home?
Nanny cams are very effective. You get the ability to monitor, in real time, the interactions that the nanny has with the child as well as any visitors that might be coming into the home without your knowledge.
Additionally, your personal documents such as banking, junk mail, credit card statements and offers etc, should not be left out in plain view.
Moreover, once a nanny has been hired, always be alert to any behavioral changes in the nanny as there might be circumstances in their life now, that weren’t present at the time the original search was conducted. This can potentially change the care being provided to the child.
What is the most common concern or offense that you see pop up in nanny background searches?
Typically we find inconsistencies in information provided, which are usually found in address summary reviews, derogatory driving history and reference names provided to client can sometimes not be true employers but rather friends and/or relatives.
What type of information or permissions do you need from a nanny applicant to perform a background check?
We need their name, date of birth and current address. By law you are not required to disclose that a background search is being conducted. It is solely up to your discretion.
What does it cost for your service and how long is the turn around?
The cost is $225.00 complete. If received before 1:00pm the results are returned same day. We first call you with our findings and then mail you a detailed report along with the computer-generated printouts of our findings.
Not only did I learn a lot of valuable information from my interview with Leonard Golino but I thoroughly enjoy getting to know both him and his business partner Rich DeMaio. I want to thank these two gentlemen for speaking with Choice Parenting and for their passion for educating parents on how to best safeguard their families. Contact them today for a free consultation or to enlist their services!
Gold Shield Elite Investigations
1-888-213-8881 or 845-561-GSEI (4734)
Hi! I am Holly...
For over a decade, my career focus has been centered in and around NYC in the childcare, education, and family support industries.