Hiring a nanny for your children is sometimes seen as an extravagant choice reserved solely for the very wealthy. This is certainly not always the case. While there are nannies with doctorates in family studies and diplomas in childcare who might expect a substantial wage, there are also a wide variety of wonderful child carers on a far more affordable scale.

So what are your options and what should you prioritise when choosing a nanny? First and most importantly, a nanny should always provide verifiable references, have Police vetting and be legally allowed to work in your country (many nannies come from overseas). They will also want to know a few things from you. For example will they live in? Are they required to drive? Would you like them to work weekends? It’s a good idea to write out a list of all the qualities you want your nanny to have before starting the interviewing process. This will help you craft a precise job description that will attract nannies with the qualities you require most.

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It’s important for both parties that a contract is drawn up stating what chores are expected of the nanny. These can vary quite a bit from one family to another. This is where you can spell out everything: salary, job requirements, hours, expectations, etc. The more detailed your contract, the better. Discuss it with your nanny and let her weigh in. Standard nanny duties would generally include light housework, preparing children’s meals and school lunches, homework help, outdoor play time and driving or walking children to and from school, play dates and other social activities.

If you don’t have the time to advertise for potential nannies yourself, using a nanny agency is a great way of letting someone you can trust do it for you. Agencies will have very strict vetting policies for recruiting their nannies. They have their reputations to consider. They’ll also guide and help you with the logistics of finding the best person to suit your family. The agency will keep in regular contact with the nanny to ensure that the conditions set out in the contract are being adhered to.

With the advancements in modern technology, interviewing potential nannies on social media is very popular these days, particularly Skype. You get to speak to and see the person without either party having to travel. It’s also a great way of seeing how your potential employee interacts with your children. Introduce them and let them speak to each other.

Sometimes you just know when you have the right candidate. Trust your instincts if you connect with one nanny over the others. Remember, you can propose a trial period of a week or two in case the situation doesn’t pan out. Just work that into your contract. Hiring a nanny can be a wonderful experience for everyone involved. The right person will add so much to your children’s lives and you will always be grateful for the love and attention they lavish on your children.