Ask Around…Then Ask Some More
As the saying goes, good people know good people. "I started looking for a nanny before I had my first kid," says Ellen Seidman, a mom of two who blogs at Love That Max. "Besides asking friends who had kids for nanny leads, I asked them to ask their nannies. Sure enough, one of their sitters knew of a nanny who was looking to work closer to get home, near where we lived. This is the woman we hired, and she has been like a second mom to my kids. Work the nanny network!"
Be a Poacher (Respectfully!)
"I stole our nanny from the daycare my boys were attending—I made her an offer she couldn't refuse!" says Meredith Soleau, a mom of three in Toledo, Ohio, who blogs at Life's Crazy Joke. "I always thought she was great. When I was pregnant with our third child, I started asking her questions and found out that the daycare paid her a little above minimum wage and they had cut her hours. So I asked if she'd like to talk about another job opportunity, and it worked! Hey, it never hurts to ask."
Roam the Internet
Local online Web communities often have message boards and job listings where you can post about a nanny search or browse "Employment Wanted" ads. Also consider joining a mom-centric network like Mothers and More, which has groups around the country; you can ask moms on the super-active e-loops about nanny leads. "I found great part-time sitters at Mommy Mixer, a site that connects college students looking for jobs and moms," says Ali Bernstein, a mom of two in Dallas. "At first I was hesitant about finding someone online, but after interviewing a few students I found them to be smart, energetic, and responsible. I've hired sitters and summer nannies entirely online and my boys have adored them."
Interview Like a Pro
It's best to meet up with candidates outside your home, like in a coffee shop; ultimately, you can invite your final contender or two to your home to meet the kids. Come prepared to the interview with a list of questions. Some key ones to ask; find others to consider at Care.com:
- "Do you have any formal childcare training or child development education?"
- "What would a typical day be for you when taking care of kids?"
- "What are your beliefs about child-rearing?"
- "Can you give me some examples of how you discipline children?"
- "What do you believe is your most important responsibility when you're taking care of children?"
"I added twins to my two kids, bringing the grand total to four. Meanwhile, a friend who also had twins reduced her nanny schedule in between jobs and offered to share her with me," says Stefanie Van Aken, a mother of four in Las Vegas who blogs at Rock Star Mom. "The nanny was with my friend's family in the morning and ours in the afternoon. Nanny sharing can be a great option. You just have to be communicative, considerate, and open to a schedule change once in a while."
Trust Your Gut
"When it came time to hire a nanny, I called up all candidates first before agreeing to meet," says Renee Martinez, a mom of four in Buffalo, New York, who blogs at Raising Boys World. "If I got a bad vibe on the phone, they were out. If I got a good one, I invited them to a real interview. I knew our nanny was The One more from a vibe than anything else. Be in tune with your instincts—but still call the references!"