When and How to Plan Your Nanny Search

a mother holding her baby and toddler and sitting on a sofa in a living room. the mother is holding an ipad and looking at it with the children

The question of timing often pops up when parents consider bringing a nanny into their home. Truthfully, the right moment to dive into your nanny search largely hinges on your family’s circumstances. That being said, it's wise to kick off the hunt 1-3 months before you hope to have your nanny onboard. And for those awaiting the arrival of a new bundle of joy, launching your search during the third trimester is a savvy move. Why such a head start?

Well, for starters, finding the perfect nanny requires careful thought, reflection, and a good measure of patience. There's the initial sifting through applications, followed by interviews, reference checks, and trial runs. Plus, leaving this crucial task to the last minute might corner you into making hasty decisions, and let’s be honest—rushed choices and childcare don’t mix well. There’s also the possibility of unexpected hiccups: maybe a promising candidate decides to take a different offer, or perhaps during the trial, you realize it's not the perfect fit after all.

By allotting ample time, you're not just giving yourself a buffer against unforeseen setbacks. You're also granting yourself the luxury of choice. You can thoughtfully compare, contrast, and make a decision that truly resonates with your family’s ethos. So, go on, start early and remember - this is about finding the right companion for your child's growing years, and that journey shouldn’t be rushed.

What do I need to do to find a nanny?

Every family's nanny search is a unique journey. While some find their match in just a few days, others might take a bit longer – and that's perfectly alright! No stress. To make things easier, we've put together a basic timeline to guide you along the way. 

1. Before you start your search 

  • Outline your family’s needs by creating a job description. Whether you post the description online or not, it’s important to have a detailed description of what you’re looking for.
  • Consider specifics like live-in vs. live-out, driving requirements, certifications, responsibilities, etc.
  • Decide on a budget that works for your family. If hiring a private nanny doesn’t fit into your budget, consider nanny sharing,  where you share the nanny and the cost with another family. 

2. Advertising and initial screening

  • Post your job. Use social media or reputable sites like Nanny Lane, CanadianNanny.ca or Sitter.com to get your needs out there and start collecting inquiries. Don’t forget to ask your friends and family if they have any local recommendations. 
  • Begin reviewing applications and resumes. As you come across nannies you’re interested in, reach out to potential candidates.

3. Interviews and trial runs

  • Discuss the general job requirements over the phone or email. Here, you’ll talk about wage expectations, experience, and required tasks (e.g. pick up/drop off).
  • Conduct face-to-face interviews. Get to know the nanny candidates better and assess their fit for your family. Here, you'll ask behavioural questions such as, “What would you do if the child bumped into a table and got a cut?”
  • Book a trial run with the top 1-2 candidates to see which you and your children connect more with.

4. Make an offer and finalize details

  • Discuss pay, benefits, and start date.
  • Draft a nanny contract to outline expectations and responsibilities.
  • Run a thorough background check.
  • Call previous employers and references.
  • If your new nanny is employed elsewhere, they will be responsible for providing two weeks' notice

What else should parents consider when looking for a nanny?

Current childcare situation: 

Assess how long your current childcare solution (if any) can be sustained. If your current option ends soon, you might need to expedite the nanny search or consider a temporary arrangement. If you’re expecting your first child, start your search 1-3 months before your wee one is due. 

Flexibility at work: 

Can you adjust your work schedule if the nanny search takes longer than anticipated? Some employers may offer flexibility, while others may not. If you don't have flexibility at work, you must start earlier in case things don’t go as planned.

Availability of temporary help: 

Consider if you have any family members, friends, or short-term babysitters who can step in if the hiring process is extended. This can alleviate some of the time pressures. Think about the worst-case scenario. If the search takes longer than anticipated, do you have backup childcare options, even if they're not ideal?

Budget constraints: 

While the urgency to hire quickly can come with a heftier price tag, there are services tailored to streamline the process without compromising on quality. Nanny Lane Plus is a great service designed to expedite your search with dedicated hiring services and support. If you're weighing time against cost, remember that managing the search process independently can be more budget-friendly.

Level of specificity:

Families with very specific requirements (e.g., a bilingual nanny or someone with special needs care experience) might find their search takes longer. Consider how flexible you are with your requirements.

Local market conditions:

The demand and supply of nannies in your area can influence the timeline. The process might be quicker in areas with a plethora of available nannies, while the opposite might be true in places with higher demand than supply.

Sometimes, it doesn’t work out:

Finding the ideal nanny for your family is much like piecing together a puzzle; sometimes, the first piece you pick doesn't quite fit. It's natural to hope for an immediate connection, but reality might offer a different narrative. While the initial realization can be disheartening, it's crucial to remember that every family and nanny dynamic is unique. Restarting the search process, armed with the insights from the previous experience, often guides parents closer to the right match. After all, ensuring the well-being and happiness of your children is paramount, and it's worth the extra effort to find the perfect fit. Consider this when starting your nanny search and plan some buffer time. 

Every family is different, and moving faster or slower is okay. What’s most important is ensuring you feel confident in your decision. If you’re in a time crunch, consider temporary solutions, like babysitters or family help, while you continue your nanny search. Trust your instincts and prioritize your child’s safety and well-being above all.

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