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5 Most Important Factors When Hiring a 
Live-In Nanny 
Kari Shafer


After 20 years in the nanny industry, I have learned a few things about finding the right live-in nanny that may surprise you. There are so many factors in finding the right nanny; a nanny that stays with your family and creates the types of bonds we all hope for in a live-in nanny. As a mom, I want my nanny to be an extension of myself without my flaws! It’s easy these days to hire a nanny; the Internet has provided us with a myriad of “online agencies” and databases, not to mention Craigslist, however, finding the RIGHT nanny still eludes many families. I watch hundreds of families a year hire and fire and work with nannies and there are several consistencies that lead to the most successful placements.
#5. BE HONEST
You may want to sugarcoat the job, the hours and the responsibilities when hiring a nanny. Some families tend to “sell” the position. Let’s face it; when you go to sell a car you make it look as clean and shiny as possible. You change the oil and vacuum all those little crumbs from your seats. While this is a great strategy for selling a car, believe me when I say you want your live-in nanny to see those crumbs. Let your nanny know the REAL you. Tell your nanny about your challenges as a family; let her know the real work hours. Explain to candidates that you are just awful at finding the kids’ matching socks and would really love her to take over the kids’ laundry. Live-in nannies that are prepared for what they’re about to step into last; it’s true!
#4. CHOOSE SOMEONE YOU LIKE
While this point seems obvious, you’d be surprised how many families get caught up in the inertia of checking credentials, sifting through nanny profiles and comparing candidates. While all of these things are important, nannies and families who have a 
natural fondness for one another make for more contented placements. I’m not suggesting families hire a new BFF (we can review the importance of boundaries and upholding employee expectations in a future blog), what I’m talking about is finding a nanny who will fit in well with your family based on the fact that you really and truly like her and you have natural ebb and flow to your conversations. Live-in nannies share a lot of time and space with your family, pick someone you like!
#3. ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Stop for a moment and think about what you’ve been asking nanny candidates in the past. I find that families ask a lot of questions about the nanny’s past experience with children and about her ability and willingness to complete the tasks of the position. These are great questions but how do you really know if a nanny is right for your family? Try taking some time to write down what’s really important to your family in a live-in nanny. You can ask questions that reveal if your nanny fits in with the qualities that most match your family’s needs. For example, it may be important to you that you keep a quiet and subdued environment in your home. 



​You can ask questions such as: What do you do in your free time? Do you prefer to read or watch TV? Are you more comfortable with people around or alone? These questions will give you a lot of insight into your nanny’s personality and help you find a live-in nanny that not only meets your requirements but also fits into your household.
#2. LET THE NANNY TALK
Of course we all want to hear nannies answer the questions we have asked but there’s a lot more beneath the surface questions that families miss. While you undoubtedly have a list of questions that you are asking all your candidates, how do you find out the answers to all the questions that you don’t know you don’t know? Let the nanny talk!! When she is finished answering a question, don’t feel the need to rush to the next question right away. Give the nanny an opportunity to fill in the gaps. Wait and see what she has to say next. You will find out a lot about your nanny this way.
#1. SCREENING/VETTING
The first and most important factor when hiring a nanny is making sure your applicants have the right skills and background to care for your children and your home. Using an agency such as Your Child’s Nanny ensures that your nanny is screened for her ability to care for and be responsible for children. Even beginner nannies with Your Child’s Nanny must exhibit at least three years background in the care of children outside of their own families. We also have a very strict system for checking nanny references. Some of the other ways YCN screens our nannies include sex offender registry checks, state and national criminal record checks, CPR and first aid certification verification, past job and education verification, Social Security verification and trace, driving background records check and ecclesiastical recommendations for LDS nannies as well as skills assessments for childcare.
All of these factors will help you create lasting, healthy and enriching experiences for you and your children and your new nanny. My area of expertise as the Executive Director of Your Child’s Nanny is coaching families and nannies and helping them to continue to thrive in this complex relationship. I offer continuing counseling, free of charge to all of our hiring families and nannies for as long as your nanny is with you. Call us today to find out how to move forward towards a satisfying live-in nanny placement that lasts.
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