Frequently Asked Questions About Choosing a Nanny or In-home Care Provider

Reviewed Mar 31, 2016

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Summary

  • No one “right way” to find someone
  • Ask same things a center director might ask a prospective child care teacher
  • Hire someone nurturing, warm and dependable

What’s the best way to find someone to come into my home to care for my child?

There really is no one “right way” to find someone to care for your child in your home. Word-of-mouth through friends, co-workers and others often works well. You also can advertise the position by placing an advertisement in a local newspaper or posting flyers in your local grocery store or on a community bulletin board. Or try posting flyers at a local college where you might find mature students looking for room and board in exchange for child care. Your advertisement or flyer should make it clear whether you are looking for someone to live in your house (often referred to as a nanny, au pair or live-in provider) or to come during the day and leave at night (referred to as a live-out or baby sitter).

To save time and energy, you can use an agency that specializes in recruiting in-home child care providers. But the fees charged by placement agencies can be costly.

Are there laws that regulate nannies?

Although most types of child care are regulated, in-home providers are not. Although some states do regulate nanny placement agencies, in general, in-home care comes under the least scrutiny by others.

When you hire an in-home provider, you are assuming the role of an employer and should ask the same things a center director might ask a prospective child care teacher. You can review child care regulations online. The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care has posted all states' regulations at http://nrckids.org/default/index.cfm/StateRegs. 

You also need to understand the laws regulating payment of social security and Medicare taxes (FICA), federal unemployment tax (FUTA), federal income tax withholding and possibly state income tax. If your nanny is from another country, check all immigration papers and make sure she has no problems with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

How important is the personality of my nanny, as long as she is responsible and reliable?

The quality of care your nanny provides will impact your child for years to come. Extensive research has shown that a strong, secure attachment to a nurturing adult can affect a child at the biological level, helping him cope with the stresses of daily life. Make sure that the person you hire is nurturing, warm and dependable.

What responsibilities should I require of an in-home provider or nanny?

First, think about your expectations. For example, will the nanny be expected to prepare meals? Drive the family car? Perform daily household chores? Then write a job description, including specific hours and responsibilities. Make a list of the benefits you are offering, such as vacation time or sick days and specify any days off. The more precisely you can outline your expectations, the better you can troubleshoot any disagreements down the road.

How many hours can a nanny or in-home provider work?

It varies. You should negotiate this carefully together. Nannies can work between 40 to 60 hours a week. Many au pairs are limited to working 45 hours a week; some work fewer.

Should I request references and an interview?

Absolutely. You will want to know the person’s work history, including reasons for any employment gaps during the last 5 years. Ask for names and phone numbers of past employers so you can talk to them directly. You might want to ask some basic questions over the phone and then schedule interviews with applicants you want to meet.

Should I draw up a written contract?

Definitely. Write up a detailed agreement stating all responsibilities and benefits. You probably will want to include a 30- to 90-day trial period to decide if this person is really a good fit.

When a candidate visits my home, what should I look for?

During the interview at your home, you’ll have a chance to see how the caregiver and your child react to one another. Ask as many questions as you need to in order to get a firm grasp of the candidate’s personality and qualifications, such as any child care training courses she may have taken. Be thorough and make sure you ask her why she has chosen to work in child care at this time.

When asking questions, remember to pay attention to more than just the caregiver’s words. Does she seem relaxed? Is she interacting with your child or paying attention to you? Does she seem familiar with your questions and give well thought-out answers?

Invite your favorite applicants back for a second interview, especially if they didn’t get to meet your partner or spouse. Be sure to check at least 3 references.

If you interview a well-qualified and experienced person but just don’t like her, trust your gut feelings even if you can’t explain why.

Source: Alliance of Professional Nanny Agencies, www.theapna.org; International Nanny Association, www.nanny.org; National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care, http://nrckids.org; The Complete Guide to Choosing Child Care by J. Berezin. Random House, 1990; Starting Points: Meeting the Needs of Our Youngest Children by Carnegie Task Force on Meeting the Needs of Young Children. Carnegie Corp., 1994; Galinsky E., C. Howes, S. Kontos and M. Shinn. "The Study of Children in Family Child Care and Relative Care: Highlights of Findings." Families and Work Institute, 1994; Shelov, S., ed. "Part-time Care for Your Child." Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, Birth to Age 5. Bantam, 1991; Willer B., S. Hofferth, E. Eliason-Kisker, P. Divine-Hawkins, E. Farquhar and F.B. Glantz. "The Demand and Supply of Child Care in 1990: Joint Findings from the National Child Care Survey 1990 and a Profile of Child Care Settings." National Association for the Education of Young Children, Washington, DC, 1991.

Summary

  • No one “right way” to find someone
  • Ask same things a center director might ask a prospective child care teacher
  • Hire someone nurturing, warm and dependable

What’s the best way to find someone to come into my home to care for my child?

There really is no one “right way” to find someone to care for your child in your home. Word-of-mouth through friends, co-workers and others often works well. You also can advertise the position by placing an advertisement in a local newspaper or posting flyers in your local grocery store or on a community bulletin board. Or try posting flyers at a local college where you might find mature students looking for room and board in exchange for child care. Your advertisement or flyer should make it clear whether you are looking for someone to live in your house (often referred to as a nanny, au pair or live-in provider) or to come during the day and leave at night (referred to as a live-out or baby sitter).

To save time and energy, you can use an agency that specializes in recruiting in-home child care providers. But the fees charged by placement agencies can be costly.

Are there laws that regulate nannies?

Although most types of child care are regulated, in-home providers are not. Although some states do regulate nanny placement agencies, in general, in-home care comes under the least scrutiny by others.

When you hire an in-home provider, you are assuming the role of an employer and should ask the same things a center director might ask a prospective child care teacher. You can review child care regulations online. The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care has posted all states' regulations at http://nrckids.org/default/index.cfm/StateRegs. 

You also need to understand the laws regulating payment of social security and Medicare taxes (FICA), federal unemployment tax (FUTA), federal income tax withholding and possibly state income tax. If your nanny is from another country, check all immigration papers and make sure she has no problems with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

How important is the personality of my nanny, as long as she is responsible and reliable?

The quality of care your nanny provides will impact your child for years to come. Extensive research has shown that a strong, secure attachment to a nurturing adult can affect a child at the biological level, helping him cope with the stresses of daily life. Make sure that the person you hire is nurturing, warm and dependable.

What responsibilities should I require of an in-home provider or nanny?

First, think about your expectations. For example, will the nanny be expected to prepare meals? Drive the family car? Perform daily household chores? Then write a job description, including specific hours and responsibilities. Make a list of the benefits you are offering, such as vacation time or sick days and specify any days off. The more precisely you can outline your expectations, the better you can troubleshoot any disagreements down the road.

How many hours can a nanny or in-home provider work?

It varies. You should negotiate this carefully together. Nannies can work between 40 to 60 hours a week. Many au pairs are limited to working 45 hours a week; some work fewer.

Should I request references and an interview?

Absolutely. You will want to know the person’s work history, including reasons for any employment gaps during the last 5 years. Ask for names and phone numbers of past employers so you can talk to them directly. You might want to ask some basic questions over the phone and then schedule interviews with applicants you want to meet.

Should I draw up a written contract?

Definitely. Write up a detailed agreement stating all responsibilities and benefits. You probably will want to include a 30- to 90-day trial period to decide if this person is really a good fit.

When a candidate visits my home, what should I look for?

During the interview at your home, you’ll have a chance to see how the caregiver and your child react to one another. Ask as many questions as you need to in order to get a firm grasp of the candidate’s personality and qualifications, such as any child care training courses she may have taken. Be thorough and make sure you ask her why she has chosen to work in child care at this time.

When asking questions, remember to pay attention to more than just the caregiver’s words. Does she seem relaxed? Is she interacting with your child or paying attention to you? Does she seem familiar with your questions and give well thought-out answers?

Invite your favorite applicants back for a second interview, especially if they didn’t get to meet your partner or spouse. Be sure to check at least 3 references.

If you interview a well-qualified and experienced person but just don’t like her, trust your gut feelings even if you can’t explain why.

Source: Alliance of Professional Nanny Agencies, www.theapna.org; International Nanny Association, www.nanny.org; National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care, http://nrckids.org; The Complete Guide to Choosing Child Care by J. Berezin. Random House, 1990; Starting Points: Meeting the Needs of Our Youngest Children by Carnegie Task Force on Meeting the Needs of Young Children. Carnegie Corp., 1994; Galinsky E., C. Howes, S. Kontos and M. Shinn. "The Study of Children in Family Child Care and Relative Care: Highlights of Findings." Families and Work Institute, 1994; Shelov, S., ed. "Part-time Care for Your Child." Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, Birth to Age 5. Bantam, 1991; Willer B., S. Hofferth, E. Eliason-Kisker, P. Divine-Hawkins, E. Farquhar and F.B. Glantz. "The Demand and Supply of Child Care in 1990: Joint Findings from the National Child Care Survey 1990 and a Profile of Child Care Settings." National Association for the Education of Young Children, Washington, DC, 1991.

Summary

  • No one “right way” to find someone
  • Ask same things a center director might ask a prospective child care teacher
  • Hire someone nurturing, warm and dependable

What’s the best way to find someone to come into my home to care for my child?

There really is no one “right way” to find someone to care for your child in your home. Word-of-mouth through friends, co-workers and others often works well. You also can advertise the position by placing an advertisement in a local newspaper or posting flyers in your local grocery store or on a community bulletin board. Or try posting flyers at a local college where you might find mature students looking for room and board in exchange for child care. Your advertisement or flyer should make it clear whether you are looking for someone to live in your house (often referred to as a nanny, au pair or live-in provider) or to come during the day and leave at night (referred to as a live-out or baby sitter).

To save time and energy, you can use an agency that specializes in recruiting in-home child care providers. But the fees charged by placement agencies can be costly.

Are there laws that regulate nannies?

Although most types of child care are regulated, in-home providers are not. Although some states do regulate nanny placement agencies, in general, in-home care comes under the least scrutiny by others.

When you hire an in-home provider, you are assuming the role of an employer and should ask the same things a center director might ask a prospective child care teacher. You can review child care regulations online. The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care has posted all states' regulations at http://nrckids.org/default/index.cfm/StateRegs. 

You also need to understand the laws regulating payment of social security and Medicare taxes (FICA), federal unemployment tax (FUTA), federal income tax withholding and possibly state income tax. If your nanny is from another country, check all immigration papers and make sure she has no problems with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

How important is the personality of my nanny, as long as she is responsible and reliable?

The quality of care your nanny provides will impact your child for years to come. Extensive research has shown that a strong, secure attachment to a nurturing adult can affect a child at the biological level, helping him cope with the stresses of daily life. Make sure that the person you hire is nurturing, warm and dependable.

What responsibilities should I require of an in-home provider or nanny?

First, think about your expectations. For example, will the nanny be expected to prepare meals? Drive the family car? Perform daily household chores? Then write a job description, including specific hours and responsibilities. Make a list of the benefits you are offering, such as vacation time or sick days and specify any days off. The more precisely you can outline your expectations, the better you can troubleshoot any disagreements down the road.

How many hours can a nanny or in-home provider work?

It varies. You should negotiate this carefully together. Nannies can work between 40 to 60 hours a week. Many au pairs are limited to working 45 hours a week; some work fewer.

Should I request references and an interview?

Absolutely. You will want to know the person’s work history, including reasons for any employment gaps during the last 5 years. Ask for names and phone numbers of past employers so you can talk to them directly. You might want to ask some basic questions over the phone and then schedule interviews with applicants you want to meet.

Should I draw up a written contract?

Definitely. Write up a detailed agreement stating all responsibilities and benefits. You probably will want to include a 30- to 90-day trial period to decide if this person is really a good fit.

When a candidate visits my home, what should I look for?

During the interview at your home, you’ll have a chance to see how the caregiver and your child react to one another. Ask as many questions as you need to in order to get a firm grasp of the candidate’s personality and qualifications, such as any child care training courses she may have taken. Be thorough and make sure you ask her why she has chosen to work in child care at this time.

When asking questions, remember to pay attention to more than just the caregiver’s words. Does she seem relaxed? Is she interacting with your child or paying attention to you? Does she seem familiar with your questions and give well thought-out answers?

Invite your favorite applicants back for a second interview, especially if they didn’t get to meet your partner or spouse. Be sure to check at least 3 references.

If you interview a well-qualified and experienced person but just don’t like her, trust your gut feelings even if you can’t explain why.

Source: Alliance of Professional Nanny Agencies, www.theapna.org; International Nanny Association, www.nanny.org; National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care, http://nrckids.org; The Complete Guide to Choosing Child Care by J. Berezin. Random House, 1990; Starting Points: Meeting the Needs of Our Youngest Children by Carnegie Task Force on Meeting the Needs of Young Children. Carnegie Corp., 1994; Galinsky E., C. Howes, S. Kontos and M. Shinn. "The Study of Children in Family Child Care and Relative Care: Highlights of Findings." Families and Work Institute, 1994; Shelov, S., ed. "Part-time Care for Your Child." Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, Birth to Age 5. Bantam, 1991; Willer B., S. Hofferth, E. Eliason-Kisker, P. Divine-Hawkins, E. Farquhar and F.B. Glantz. "The Demand and Supply of Child Care in 1990: Joint Findings from the National Child Care Survey 1990 and a Profile of Child Care Settings." National Association for the Education of Young Children, Washington, DC, 1991.

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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