Childcare: Everything You Asked About Hiring A Nanny

How do I find a nanny?

I encourage finding recommendation from other families in the area first. There are a lot of mom/parent groups for your community, most likely. We have 6 Facebook groups for parents in our area that are totally useful and relevant! I wouldn’t have known about their existence until searching them out! Also, try nextdoor for neighbors referrals.

I also have a pretty good process down for and have had awesome luck in finding great sitters on there! However, you have to be thorough! It is totally a numbers game and a serious process… but worth it when you find the right people! I have found some awesome sitters when I follow my process – and definitely failed when I have not been as rigorous.

Check-out my hiring process here! Or, see my post here for a nanny offer letter and here for a nanny contract template.

How do I train a nanny?

Finding someone with a base of experience is really best for a new mom. It doesn’t have to be 10 or 20 years of infant care but at least a decent background with infants/toddlers is keyQ

You are really looking for someone smart, reliable, kind and who will act as a partner to you.

Someone who really values the position is critical – this is not just a babysitting job where they are going to eat popcorn and watch television while the kids sleep – they are helping to nurture and raise your children along side you. They should understand and cherish the importance of that position.

You should absolutely leave time to ‘train’ (1-3 days to be very hands-on) and 1-3 more weeks to check-in regularly (and have notes/expectations/improvements/adjustments along the way). Leaving room in your schedule to ‘train your nanny’ – in terms of relating to your household, your child, your families needed – really key to feel like you are teammates and on the same page.

How should I pay my nanny? has a lot to say on this topic on their blog that is very helpful. You can pay direct deposit, cash, check, venmo or paypal. You should discuss taxes and withholdings during the interview process.

How much do I pay a nanny?

Rates vary from person-to-person and from place-to-place. Even the job itself might demand more or require less (like part-time versus full-time).

You are paying for skills, experience, background, location, and any additional requirements (like driving the kids, for instance).

A normal range would be $15-$20 per hour, but in cities like New York, LA, San Francisco or Miami, you’ll see rates ranging between $20-$35 per hour, especially the more kids they have to care for.

What should I expect of my nanny?

A lot. This is a real and serious job.

Your expectations should be reasonable and rational but high. They should be laid out clear and consistently during the interview process.

You should expect your nanny to put your kid’s health, wellness, happiness and safety first and foremost. They should also be responsible for a lot of children’s chores as that falls under a normal ‘nanny’ umbrellas.

You should not expect your nanny to be cleaning your bathroom or mowing your lawn during nap time. Your nanny’s skills and expertise should be concentrated on the well-being and nurturing of your young children. Ensuring a safe, clean environment for them to play, grow and learn is fair game overall. I’d say healthy foods/meals for the kids fall under this umbrella and if you discussed things like family laundry and cooking for the family beforehand, that is fair as well (but probably not if you didn’t discuss this during the hiring process).

There might be a favor here or there of watering some plants or taking out the trash, but that should not be expected everyday unless that has been part of the gig from the beginning. For me, I’d prefer my caregivers to spend their attention on the kids themselves (and kid chores second). With older kids or kids who attend school, responsibilities might be different during downtime. With babies/very young kids – focus on the children.

What about vacation time we are away?

If you are employing a full-time nanny, they should not be punished financially because you are taking a vacation. When you are hiring a nanny, you should discuss a fair vacation system. Perhaps they can pick two weeks on their own through the year or they have one-week of their choice and one-week employee-directed. I would recommend being upfront about this prior to bringing them onboard. The last thing you want/need is a disgruntled nanny taking care of your precious family!

For a full-time caregiver, you must think of it like daycare. You’d be paying to keep your spot at daycare even if you were removing your child for vacation for a week. At your own work, if your boss goes on vacation, that typically doesn’t mean you are out of work (er, although I could see some arguments here depending on your line of work and work agreement). Generally, I’d say it is in your best interest be a fair and transparent employer. Treat your nanny like a valued part of the team/family and expect that in return.

I cover this clause in my nanny offer letter and nanny contract template.

Do I have to offer sick days?

Legally, probably. In our state, a full-time employee accrues roughly 5 sick days a year depending on hours.

Frankly, I don’t really want my childcare provider getting my kids sick so I’d rather lean on the side of more time verse less. But, if it is a problem, you should address it head on.

How do I schedule her?

A regular schedule is great! But if your schedule will fluctuate throughout the day/week/month, come up with a system of letting them know what to expect a couple days ahead of time (if not a week or month).

Perhaps you can share a google calendar for childcare like we do in our house (which a super easy solution!). Giving them a heads up for anything that is weird/off week-to-week will be so appreciated and will save you a headache if they can’t fulfill the needs.

They should have a great understanding of your family’s needs and expectations in terms of hours when you interview them, including if they will receive a minimum number of hours Monday-Friday which is normal (as they, ya know, need to make a living).

How do I keep track of all of this?

Keep a doc with your nanny and/or partner as applicable, or use google calendar for time tracking! If you are looking for an employee payment system – try Gusto.

What other perks/benefits am I expected to offer?

It depends. In our area, two weeks vacation and the accrual of 5-sick days per year are normal. Also, compensation for gas when driving the children or running errands for the children.

Otherwise, a holiday cash bonus is always appreciated, on time weekly payment, and perhaps health insurance or HSA plans are applicable to your situation.

Finding the right/perfect/best childcare is so critical. Retaining a great nanny means a lot to your health, happiness and sanity – as well as the well-being of your kiddos – so consider offering the sweetest package you can to the perfect nanny. I have heard of family’s giving computers, lending cars, iPhones, commuter passes and more to ensure happy and well-taken care of nanny!

Be fair, reasonable, consistent and clear in your offer.

Do I need to pay medical or taxes for my nanny?

Yes. discuss this on their blog and have a lot of expert advise to guide you.

Should I watch my nanny on my a home camera?

Yes and no. Yes, check-in on it here and there the first few days or weeks. Don’t sit and watch it all day long, you will go crazy. Your seeing something you are totally out of context for. Once you have established trust, routine, expectations, and they have established a good bond with your kids, house, you — stop watching it. Just, don’t.

Also – don’t hide cameras. Deterring someone from a ‘negative’ behavior by having a camera obvious is much, much better than catching something! In a lot of states, you also legally need to disclose cameras if it is recording and/or has sound recording.

What if I find my nanny doing something I don’t like?

First, talk to your spouse or a rational/reliable friend. As a parent, you are going to be much more sensitive (and perhaps even overactive) than you would be as an objective outsider. Did they just spend too much time looking at their phone? Did they not respond to your baby whining fast enough? Talk it through with someone else before bringing it up to your caregiver. You might want to address it indirectly, such as revisiting your expectations of the job and their responsibilities with the kids overall versus calling them out on the one instance. Give them a chance to improve with clear guidelines and expectations.

If it is dangerous, harmful, malicious, or illegal – go home and terminate them immediately.

My nanny is always late. WTF?

Bring it up before it is a real issue – causing you problems at work or other stresses in your commitments outside the home. If they cannot improve on their punctuality, schedule them earlier and pay them for when they actually arrive. Lastly, start looking for a new nanny.

Should I regularly talk to my nanny throughout the day?

You should definitely touch base with your nanny throughout the day! They should have the expectation that they should answer your calls or texts reasonably promptly (and if they can’t because they are managing a situation with your child – like bath time or a diaper change – they should return the call as soon as possible).

Make it clear that you love seeing photos and videos throughout the day and encourage them to send you 2-5 within each day. More than that might not be totally reasonable, but of course, appreciated when applicable and feasible.

Every couple of hours, or at least twice a day, touching base briefly (through text, generally) is totally normal. If something is going on at the home – like a child is sick, or is potty training – more communication is reasonable.

How do I let go of my nanny?

  • Obeyed by state employment laws as applicable.
  • Be prepared to give them severance if that is required (either by law or in their contract)
  • Make it formal and official. Write it down – had them sign it if needed.
  • Be clear and direct. If it is at will employment you can simply say when their serve/job is no longer needed without getting too far into the weeds.
  • Talk to an employment lawyer beforehand if you think it is going to be a problem.
  • Do not overcomplicate it with too much information (you don’t want to get sued for wrongful termination if you say something unintentionally).
  • For those you adore, give them advance notice if it is not an immediate/dire situation. Four weeks is fair as they search for a new job. Offer to be their reference if you feel super positive about them. Support them in anyway you can!

How do I find a new nanny?

Check-out my process here!

My nanny asked me to be a reference…

If you liked her/him and have a lot of good things to say, offer in advance to be a positive referral!

If they ask you to be a referral and you can’t get behind it – say it would be best if they explore using other employers for recommendations/referrals and leave it at that.

A nanny is too expensive. What are my other options?

I write about au pairs here and all your options for childcare here.

Feel free to reach out in my contact us section if you want to talk more about au pairs!