Things you should know if you plan hire a nanny

If you decide to go the nanny route for childcare, there are a few important things you should know.

First, the cost of hiring a nanny will depend on her level of experience and accreditation. Live in nannies are less expensive less than live out nannies and tend to provide more support to parents with respect to household tasks such as cleaning and laundry.

Other things you should know are discussed below.


Getting started

Canadian Nannies and Apple Nannies are great resources if you are looking for a nanny or babysitter in Canada. BabyCenter makes a number of recommendations for finding a suitable nanny in the U.S.

You may find that sharing a nanny with another family is a good option, especially if each family has one child or if you only require part time childcare. Nanny sharing could be more economical than paying thousands of dollars each month to have a full time nanny of your own. For more information about nanny sharing, visit our blog Exploring the nanny share idea.

Before you commit to hiring a nanny, always:

  • review her resume and interview her
  • determine her availability for overtime and babysitting, if applicable (some live out nannies work part time jobs elsewhere to make extra money)
  • confirm her eligibility to work in the country you live in
  • check at least three reputable references
  • obtain a certified criminal record check from her
  • ensure she has up to date first aid and CPR training
    • agree to the main terms of the contract (see below)
  • have a trial run – if possible, have the nanny care for your child on a temporary basis before you commit to hiring her, even of you have to compensate her for her time.

Setting ground rules

Most parents we know with nannies stress the importance setting expectations with your nanny from the get go regarding their role and responsibilities. It may be easiest to include a clearly defined job description in your nanny contract, complete with a list of household tasks your nanny will be responsible for attending to.

Things you may want to consider including in your contract or at least discussing with your nanny before she starts, include:

  • daily tasks and responsibilities, including laundry, cooking, cleaning and tidying
  • if you prefer a set schedule outlining what your child (or children) do each day and where they go and for your nanny to keep track of it. Having your nanny complete the chart for our Feeding and Sleep Program is a great way for you to see what your baby is up to when you are not around. For toddlers and preschoolers, check out our free Sample Daily Activities Chart
  • preferences regarding meal and snack times as well as they type of food and drink, including when juice and treats are okay to have, if at all (also, if juice should be diluted with water)
  • who is permitted in your home when you are out – is your nanny is permitted to have friends over while she is working, and whether other nannies and children are allowed to visit for play dates
  • where your child can go and with whom – do you prefer play dates at your home only or are okay with your child going to other homes for play dates. Make clear whether or not it is okay for your child to go with the nanny to visit her friends, to go for coffee or to the shopping mall, etc.
  • if your nanny drives, when she is permitted to use your vehicle and where is she allowed to take your children. If she does not drive, let her know whether or not you are comfortable with her taking your child on public transportation, and if so, which methods
  • the activities you would like your child to partake in (inside and outside), including playing at the park, and participating in play groups, sports teams or music classes, etc.
  • whether or not you are comfortable with your children watching television or playing with electronic devices. If so, is there is a daily limit
  • ensure your nanny has your (and your partner’s) up to date contact information as well as contact information for emergency contact person(s). 

Organizing the paperwork

BabyCenter provides a summary of legal requirements for hiring a nanny in the U.S. They also provide a summary of employers’ legal responsibilities when hiring a live in nanny and a live out nanny in Canada. Consult with your lawyer and accountant about the following:

Apply Nannies handles a lot of the paperwork for you, but you have to pay for their service. Canadian Nannies provides a number of helpful resources if you are interested in hiring a nanny, including things like sample resume and information about doing reference checks.


Always have a back-up plan

The peace of mind that your child is being well taken care when you are not around is important to your health and wellbeing. Having at least one backup plan isn’t a bad idea just in case you change your mind, or if your plans fall through.

Also check out Finding Suitable Childcare.