Basic rules for choosing a nanny


Leaving your child in the care of another person can be an emotional event in a parent's life, but there are steps you can take to make sure you pick somebody you trust. Once you've made the decision to bring a nanny into your home, do your homework and find the right person. 

Let the professionals help
There are no national standards to which nannies are held, so making the process of selecting one seem a bit harrowing. Don't fret though, there are plenty of reputable nanny agencies that will take care of background checks for you. Choose someone who belongs to the Alliance of Professional Nanny Agencies to increase your chances of getting it right the first time. The going rate for such an agency is 10 percent of a nanny's salary, and an application fee of $100 to $300. 

Even if you choose the Cadillac of nanny agencies, check up on the applicant's references and past employers. Move at your own pace and don't allow yourself to be rushed through the process. If at the end of your research everything looks OK but you still feel apprehensive about the potential nanny, trust your gut and don't hire him or her. 

Meeting the candidates
When searching for a nanny, cast a wide net even if it ultimately means you'll just end up cutting more people. Interviewing is probably going to be the make or break moment when deciding whether or not to hire a particular candidate. Don't hesitate to get a little personal – you're going to be leaving this person alone with your child after all. In addition to questions about the person's thoughts on raising children, ask about what he or she likes to do after work and what his or her home life is like. You don't want somebody with a chaotic life coming into your home. 

Observe the candidate in a natural environment
Giving your potential nanny a brief probationary period is a perfectly reasonable thing to do so long as the candidate is paid for his or her time. If you think that you've found somebody who's a good match for your household, let them watch your kids for a few days while you're there. This is a great way to figure out not only how you feel about the potential hire, but to see if this is somebody your children will respect and like. 

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