Why You Need a Nanny Trial

A woman and two children dancing in the kitchen

You’ve searched, you’ve interviewed, you’ve run background checks, and you’ve finally narrowed down the list of candidates for your nanny job. But don’t make a hiring decision yet!

Invite your top candidate for a nanny trial to see them in action. 

What is a nanny trial?

A nanny trial is when a potential nanny comes to meet your children and perform some of the responsibilities of the job. You’ll be there for most or all of the time, so you'll get to see them in action.

During the trial, the nanny candidate will take care of your children as if you aren’t there. This process helps you gain valuable insight. You’ll see how they make decisions, manage time, and handle real-life situations that come up. These are things you'd miss if you only did a standard interview. With a trial, you’ll have no surprises with the candidate you hire.

Many families do a trial for one full workday. Others choose to do a half-day or a full week. If you’re looking for a long-term nanny, a month-long probation period might be best. Think about your family’s needs.

Why do you need a nanny trial period?

Whether you’re deciding between a few candidates or wanting to make sure you’ve found the right one, nanny trials are essential. A nanny trial helps you make sure you’ve found the right candidate or choose between your top choices.

Benefits of a trial day

  • Watch the nanny in action with your children.
  • Observe how the nanny responds to challenges throughout the day.
  • Gather information about how the nanny manages time and transitions between activities.
  • See how your children respond to the nanny.
  • Clarify the nanny’s job expectations and roles and see how they live up to those standards.
  • Make onboarding easier once you hire the nanny since they will already know your kids and be familiar with your routines.
  • Know before they start if they’re the right fit.

A trial benefits the nanny too. They get a clear idea of what the job is actually like, including the commute. They learn how you operate on a daily basis, so they’re ready to fully commit if they accept a job offer.

Nanny trial tips

Get the most out of your trial time with the nanny by staying organized and planning ahead. Keep these tips in mind as you plan:

  • Set a schedule. Choose when and how long based on your needs. Not sure how the nanny will handle drop-off? Schedule the trial in the morning. Does your schedule vary day-to-day? A one-week trial will teach you how the nanny navigates each routine. 
  • Clarify expectations. Set clear expectations in advance. What do you want to see the nanny accomplish during the trial? Tell them what skills you’ll be looking for, like time management or the ability to handle naptime. If you’re planning a nanny share, discuss expectations with the other family in advance.
  • Pay the nanny. A working interview is still work for the nanny, so pay the standard rate and set the payment in advance. Then once you’ve made the hiring decision, you can start a nanny contract with that person.
  • Put the nanny to work. Let the nanny interact with your children and actually do some caretaking. Resist the urge to step in or take over for a diaper change or a snack, for example. You want an opportunity to observe how the nanny completes these tasks.
  • Get out of the way. Don’t be afraid to step away to give kids and nanny a chance to interact without you as well. They need time to get to know each other without you.
  • Stick to your routines. Keep the schedule as routine as possible. A trial will run smoother if your kids are in their element and following their usual routine. This is not the time for a big outing! You want to see the nanny interact with your kids in the activities that they will be doing most of the time. This will give you a more accurate picture of how things will be when you’re not there.
  • Talk to your children. If your children are old enough, ask them for feedback afterwards. They'll be spending a lot of time with this person, so their opinion is important! Is your child too young to give you their thoughts? Watch closely for their reactions while they interact with the nanny. Do they seem comfortable and happy?
  • Check-in at the end. Set aside time at the end of the day to chat one-on-one with the nanny. Ask any questions that come up for you throughout their time and allow the nanny some time to ask questions too. You can provide some feedback, and don’t forget to request feedback from the nanny.

After the nanny trial

At Nanny Lane, we know how difficult employment paperwork can be. That’s why we have all the services you need to onboard and pay your nanny. We can help you set up a nanny contract and offer full-service payroll management. Get started today.


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