For many parents the decision to hire child care is difficult but finding a trusted person with whom you feel safe leaving your children is even more challenging. Whether you are a working parent who needs childcare so that you can provide for your family or you are a stay at home parent who just recognizes his limitations and needs additional help, securing great childcare is challenging. But regardless of your situation, it is important to come to terms with your need for help in order to find the right person for the job. If you do not make peace with your need for childcare you are likely to let your ambivalence shade your ability to pick the right person for the job.
There are many different places to find a nanny. Your approach will most likely depend upon a combination of the norms in your area, your financial resources, and your relationships with people who have access to the type of help you are looking for. Whatever method you choose, the most important things you can do are to check references and to perform a background check. Some of the most popular resources to find a nanny are:
* The internet has many nanny specific sites as well as general sites where people can post “job wanted” or “help wanted” ads. * Nanny Agencies can screen for the specific training and qualification of their nannies for and many offer also background checks as part of there services. While you should always perform your own background checks, a nanny who comes through an agency recommendation is usually someone who is comfortable giving out the information you will need for that kind of investigation. The one negative to going through an agency is that it can be expensive. Most agencies will charge you an upfront fee which is commonly as much as 12% of what you will pay the nanny for one year of work. * Au Pairs can be a way to get live in child care at a greatly reduced rate. An au pair is generally a eighteen to twenty-five year old person from a foreign country who exchanges childcare services for a chance to live and study in the United States. The service is run through a government agency called the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) which also sets many rules such as: au pairs can only work up to forty-five hours a week, stay in the country for a maximum of twelve months, must be taken to two cultural events a month and must be allowed to attend educational classes. The disadvantages to hiring an au pair is that you are hiring someone young, the will have to be replaced after twelve months, you cannot interview your candidate in person and you have little or no say about who you are assigned. * Word of mouth can be an effective tool for finding a good nanny. Sending out a mass email, asking friends, coworkers, family members and other moms can be a great way to learn about a prospective candidate. The more resources you come up with, the more likely you are to have a significant pool from which to choose. * Ask the experts if they can make any recommendations. Pediatricians, lactation consultants, teachers, clergy members, or obstetricians often hear of great candidates. * Nanny Schools, where people are trained to become nannies, can be a great supply source for new nannies. * College bulletin boards can be a great place to put a posting for a nanny or to find someone looking for a job if you are comfortable with a college age student taking care of your child. * Newspapers- especially local and college papers- that have “help wanted” or “job wanted” can be a good place to start your search. * The nanny grapevine is a particularly great resource. Nannies often develop relationships with one another at parks, playgrounds and other local child hotspots. As a result they often know who is planning to leave their jobs and look for new ones even before it happens.