Hiring the Right Nanny

Finding the best child care is one of the primary concerns among parents. Whether you’re looking for a nanny in the want ads or through an agency, the interview process is likely the most important step in making your choice for the ideal child care. Some questions to ask:

What child care positions have you held in the past?
Ask for at least four references that can attest to a candidates experience. Call all the references and ask about the nanny’s qualities, both positive and negative. Look for someone who has had experience with children the same ages as yours.

What is your educational background?
Many agencies require nannies to be at least high school graduates. And many prefer college degrees or some college experience. It would be ideal to find a nanny with a degree in a child related field, whose ambitions include working with kids as a teacher or counselor or in a related capacity.

What would you do on a typical day with my children?
Look for someone who shows initiative. Ask about her interests and check whether they’re a match to your children’s interests. For example, if your kids like sports, look for a nanny who has an interest in athletics, or who is willing to toss a football or play your children’s favorite games.

If you have adopted internationally you may be looking for an au pair that comes from the same country as your child.  There are many agencies out there that provide trained, educated au pairs that can share a cultural connection with your child.

What is the difference between a Nanny and an Au Pair?

A nanny is a child care special­ist whose workplace is a family’s private home. A nanny is employed by a family to provide the highest level of customized child care and to give personalized attention to the family’s children. A nanny may be employed full time or part time, and the nanny may or may not live with the family. The nanny’s role is to provide support to the family by serving as a loving, nurturing and trustworthy companion to the children.

An au pair is a foreign national between the ages of 18-26 who enters the United States through the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Au Pair Exchange Program, to experience American life for up to 24 months (au pairs in good standing can apply to extend their initial 12 month visit an additional 6, 9 or 12 months). Au pairs participate in the life of the host family by providing limited child care services (maximum 10 hours per day, 45 hours per week) and are compensated for their work according to the Fair Labor Standards Act. Au pairs may not be placed in homes with infants three months of age or younger, unless a parent or responsible adult will be in the home supervising the au pair. An au pair may not be placed in the home with a child two years of age or younger unless they have 200 or more hours of documented child care experience.


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