Finding a Nanny

Finding a nanny in NYC is hard!  There seem to be so many nanny agencies, so many candidates, and so many options – my clients often feel like they have “decision fatigue.”

To help people with this struggle, I put together a list of 8 questions to ask yourself.  You should try to complete this exercise before you start your journey of finding a nanny in NYC.  The more you answer these questions ahead of time, the less time you’ll waste on the back-end.

The first thing to do is to think about your specific needs and the needs of each of your children (e.g., what are the days and hours that you REALLY need coverage [or want coverage], how much flexibility do you really need this caregiver to have [i.e., do you often have to stay late unexpectedly to meet a deadline at work?], how much individual attention does your child need, do you want someone to help teach your children a second language?, etc.).  Doing this first will narrow down your choices and help you make a decision about who to interview. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a huge list of candidates and no ability to really narrow them down.  You can easily do this step yourself, but any of the NYC nanny agencies out there should also be able to walk you through this process.

So how do you go about narrowing down your list of nanny candidates?

First, think how life will look after returning to work and what the ideal situation would be for the family’s needs and wants.  Do not skip this step because it’s very important for parents to define exactly what they want in child care before being the search process.  I’ve seen way too many clients say they want one thing, only to realize 3 weeks in that they hadn’t given it enough thought and actually need something else.  In fact, I’ve developed a special tool called the Family Needs Assessment.  This document helps families figure out precisely what they need.

Tammy Family Needs

Next, ask yourself these questions.  Again, any of the NYC nanny agencies you talk to should be able to help you do this…but just in case here is the list I use with my clients.
1. How many hours a day will I need childcare and for which days?  Will it be the same every day or will some days be different?

2. How much flexibility do I need?  Will there be days I need to leave the child longer?  Or will I work part-time some weeks and full-time other weeks?  Do I sometimes need to say late for client dinners or unexpectedly to meet deadlines?  This is critically important because nannies who have a pet or child at home might have less flexibility to stay late than someone who doesn’t.

3. What is my budget? What can I afford to pay?

4. Do I want the nanny to have a childcare education or specialized degree?  Or is experience as a nanny sufficient?

5. How critical is it that your nanny be proficient with a smartphone?  Some fantastic nannies still have flip-phones…do you want to be able to facetime with your nanny?  Do you want to be text-messaging her?  Think about how technology will affect your relationship (if at all).

6. Do you have other staff memebers in your home that the nanny will need to interact with?  What are likely to be the dynamics between these people?
7. Do you need some other help around the house, like doing the child’s laundry or fixing his/her meals?  Do you need someone who can take care of errands outside of the house?  Do you have pets that will need attention and care?

8. How will your employer handle it if you need to take a day off if the caregiver is ill?  What is your backup plan?  What about transportation to and from your home?  How will the nanny handle this in the event of inclement weather?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be in a better position to create a nanny job description that properly suits your needs.  This will also help you narrow down the list of candidates to interview and should save you a ton of time.

Was this helpful?  Do you need help figuring out your own needs?  Would you like someone to help guide you through the selection of your ideal nanny?  Click below to find a time to speak with Tammy about your needs.

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