It’s becoming more and more common for both parents to have careers, and why not! I’m all for parents working and enjoying their career. Stereotypically…a mother would usually stay home with their children, bringing them up, cooking their meals and sorting the laundry. However, its 2021, and why can’t women work like men do?
Working out what sort of childcare would work well for you and your family is one to be discussed before you dive in. You may decide nursery is best, and a child minder, or even a nanny may suit you and your family’s needs the greatest.
I always think of finding the right nanny as speed dating, but for a family purpose. Some families interview multiple nannies, and some only a few. As cliché as it sounds, when you know, you know. Trust me. Like a relationship, take it slow and don’t rush into it. It’s really worth taking the time to interview and find the right fit for your family. You don’t want to be chop and changing nanny every 6 months because you don’t think they’re the right one for your family’s needs. Not only is this a huge disruption for you, the children, it takes up valuable time, and costs money!!
Where to find a nanny
As a nanny, I’ve always taken jobs through agencies. They act as the ‘middle man’ for both parties, something which you may need (even though you hope you won’t!!) it’s always good to back yourself. They’ll also provide you with the all important contract. Personally, I’d never take a job without a contract that’s been signed and sealed (and I’m sure you wouldn’t too!). This contract can be adjusted and amended to tailor you. Verbally agreeing something is fine, until it’s your word against theirs and then you’re in a right pickle.
Agencies will be able to provide you, as a family, candidates who they think are the nanny for you. This means zero time wasting! You can trust the agencies to check their nannies for things like DBS, first aid, and any other requirements you may have, so another worry off of your list! This is especially great for working parents who are limited on time.
Word of mouth does work, and I’ve known nannies leave as the time is right, and go onto work for their fellow families or friends. Even though you won’t have an agency there, get some important things in writing such as nursery duties, hours, pay etc. Don’t forget to get both parties to sign this!
I’m aware there are many Facebook pages and websites which people use to source nannies, and likewise, nannies use to find families. Just be careful (from both sides!) as anyone and everyone have access to these pages, so you’ll need to go through it with a fine comb.
What to look out for when choosing a nanny
If you’re going down the agency route, then they ‘should’ have checked the relevant qualifications such as DBS and First Aid. Hence the fees….! But always good to double check.
Nanny Insurance, it’s a thing, and it’s needed. This is the responsibility from your nanny, and a cost that they should be covering.
Driving licence. Do you need your nanny to chauffeur your little ones around? Something worth thinking about if you’ll insure them on your car, or are they happy to drive them in theirs. Remember for this you’ll need to be paying them 45p per mile to cover the fuel cost, mileage, and general wear and tear. Don’t forget check for business insurance if this is the case!
Think about the fit for the family. You need to find someone who you can trust, and love and have fun with your children, just the way you do. No, they’re not replacing you, they’re just stepping in to be there whilst you can’t. You’re going to be employing someone to be the ‘face of the family’, so bear that in mind also.
Do you want some can organise your children’s social calendar, cook for the children and iron their clothes without melting all the pictures on their favourite Paw Patrol T-shirt?! Make all of their roles and responsibilities clear from the get go.
As much as it’s still a ‘professional’ relationship, the nanny you hire will be spending many an hour in your home, with your most prized possessions, so it’s always good to get on and be on the same page as them. Remember, you’ll be working as a team for the benefit of your babies.
Questions to ask the nanny during the interview
Before you interview your candidates, sit down and discuss what your expectations are of your potential nanny. This will make it clear for everyone involved!
Talk to them about you and your family, and the expectations you have of a nanny. Understandably, some families love for their nanny to take charge of anything and everything to do with the children. However, some still want more involvement, so make that clear of the roles you would like them to do.
Here are some good examples of interview questions…
- What is your previous experience with children, especially the ages of (your children’s age here)#
- Describe yourself in 3 words
- What made you want to become a nanny?
- Do you see this as a long-term position? Where do you see yourself in the future?
- What’s your favourite part of being a nanny?
- If you’ve had an uncertain situation before, ask how they’d deal with it
- What is your approach on behaviour management?” Do they have a certain ‘style’
- Could you tell me a little bit about your previous positions, why did thy end?
- What about this job appeals to you?
- Would you be confident looking after more children?” A good one to ask if you’re planning on extending your family.
If you have a good feeling, invite them over for a trial day, see how they interact with your children. Sometimes it’s a good idea to give them some one to one time with the children and then the candidate can get a good ‘feel’ for the job. As we all know, children can act up with parents around, so this will give them a more accurate picture.
How to pay your nanny
You have two options…you can either pay your nanny in cash/bank transfer, leaving them be self-employed. This is where they sort out their own taxes, national insurance etc. If not, you can pay them through a PAYE roll company (which most nannies prefer!). Nanny Tax and Nanny PAYE are both incredibly popular choices, and I’d highly recommend these.
Remember when you start paying someone though a payroll, you’ll need to contribute to things such as National Insurance, their NEST Pension etc. Always budget for this. Whatever you’re paying your nanny, you need to factor in extra money for this, and the cost of the pay roll company.
Final thoughts on choosing a nanny
Once you’ve found ‘The One’ and offered them the position which they’ve (hopefully!!) accepted, get that contract signed and sealed. Just like you’re interviewing multiple nannies, the chances are they interviewing multiple families. Lock it down ASAP!!
Remember nannies are there to support you, just like your favourite M&S bra. We are here to look after your little ones just like you would when you can’t be there. Hug them when they fall, play endless hours of hide and seek, reassure them when they’re nervous, and spend many a minute locating endless snacks. We aren’t here to replace you, we promise.