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Archive for the ‘Ultimate Nanny or Babysitter’ category

UltimateMama encourages your nanny or babysitter candidate to bring a resume and list of references with them to the first nanny interview.  If the nanny candidate does not have a formal resume make sure you ask her for references from the last three (or more) families she worked for as a nanny.  Ask the nanny candidate for specifics such as names, phone numbers, duration of job, and why the job ended.  If the nanny candidate hesitates then you may want to delve into why they are not forthcoming about references. 


If you are considering the candidate then call these references and ask them some questions that you have prepared.  You will find that many families are very open when it comes to the delicate subject of childcare.  Some references may even offer to meet you face to face to answer any questions you may have about the nanny.


Do not interrupt the references when they are speaking.  By allowing them to talk freely you may learn more than you even thought you would.  If something they say is unclear than ask for clarification.  If something they say is unsettling to you then make sure to ask the other references similar questions about the nanny to find out if they give you the same response. 


You may consider asking the family references the following questions: 


– how many children did the nanny watch?

– what were the ages of the children the nanny cared for (when the job began and ended)?

– how many hours and which hours the nanny worked?

– was the nanny punctual?

– describe the nanny’s personality or general mood?

– what was the nanny’s daily routine with the child (children)?

– what are some of the nanny’s positive characteristics or traits?

– what are some of the nanny’s negative characteristics or traits?

– what was the duration of employment?

– is there anything that I should know about the nanny (positive or negative) that I did not ask?

– would you re-hire the nanny?

– would you recommend the nanny for employment?

– why did the job end?


The last question is very important because you will get an idea of who ended the relationship—the nanny or the family.  Some nannies enjoy change and do not stay with the same family for long durations.  Perhaps the family moved to another location and it was no longer convenient for the nanny to commute.  Maybe the children got older and their childcare needs changed.  Of course there could have been an incident that led to the nanny’s departure and uncovering that is critical.

Take it from UltimateMama, compensation is never a pleasant topic to discuss but if
your nanny or babysitter interview is going well you will want to address it upfront.  You should have an idea of what you are
willing to pay the nanny for their services before you enter these discussions
with them.  Wages vary greatly across
geographic regions so there is no rule of thumb regarding compensation.  If you are unsure what is appropriate pay for
your nanny it is a good idea to ask your close neighbors or family members what
they pay their nanny. 

You should consider the following when thinking about nanny

– how many children you have (volume discounts usually do
not apply to nanny care)?

– how many hours the nanny will work per day/week?

– is there a certain hourly, daily, or weekly rate you want
to set?

– will the nanny work “non-traditional” hours?

– will the nanny be paid daily, weekly, bi-monthly?

– will you pay for “overtime” (additional hours from the
agreed upon level)?

– will you provide the nanny with certain snacks or meals?

– will you also pay for the nanny’s transportation to and
from your home?

– will you pay for late-night or off-hours transportation
for your nanny to get to their home?

– will you give the nanny a “raise” for good performance?

– will you give the nanny a yearly “bonus” for good

Would you ask your Dentist for a discount on a filling?  Of course not.  So, do not try to be “cheap” when it comes to
paying your nanny.  Make sure you are
paying the nanny a fair rate that you can afford. 

Giving your nanny the afternoon off (with pay) or coming
home early and allowing her to leave your home a little early are examples of
little ways you can reward your nanny for her childcare efforts and create
goodwill.  Additionally, by giving her a
few surprise breaks she may be more flexible when you need her to stay later
one evening or work a few additional hours on the weekend. 

If your nanny is doing a great job with your child you
may also want to supplement other rewards as tokens of your appreciation!

UltimateMama knows that whether you work the late shift, travel frequently, or
desire an evening alone with your partner away from home then you may need
overnight childcare services.  If you
believe that overnight childcare assistance will be necessary then ask the
nanny candidate upfront if she is comfortable staying in your home alone with
your child overnight.  If she agrees to
stay overnight then make sure you discuss her expected compensation ahead of time. 

You may want to consider the following:

– Was her overnight work in addition to the regular
childcare hours she works for you? 

– Did you adjust her regular childcare hours for her
overnight work?

– Will you provide additional meals for her such as dinner,
breakfast, and various snacks?

– Is she familiar with your child’s nighttime routine? If
she is not then give her a schedule and any additional information she may
need. Take into consideration bathing, additional feedings, bedtime stories,

– Is she comfortable in your home?  Remember, your big city-living nanny may not
be comfortable sleeping in your home which is in the middle of the woods and
lacks curtains. 

UltimateMama believes that whether your job needs you to stay late or you just want to
have a nice date night with your partner, then you may need a nanny that will
give you additional hours.  If you
require your nanny to work extra hours then compensate her accordingly. 

For example, you may want to consider:

– giving her money for dinner or having dinner available for

– paying for her cab fare home or providing her transportation

– paying her extra money for the special favor

Many nannies appreciate the extra income that is associated
with additional hours.  One mother was
thrilled when her nanny asked for additional hours around the winter holidays
so she could have more money for holiday shopping. The mother was able to
attend holiday parties while the nanny was happy to put in extra hours.  It was a win-win situation!

Just make sure you are not overworking your nanny because
you do not want her to be burned out from taking care of your children! 

UltimateMama realizes that many parents do not work 9 AM until 5 PM.  While some parents need a few more hours on
the earlier and later side, others need a whole different schedule
altogether.  Be upfront with the hours
you expect your nanny to work on a weekly basis.  Do not be afraid of scaring them or driving
them away.  You need to establish an
honest dialog from the start or else you may be disappointed when you find
out that the nanny cannot alter her schedule to fit yours. 

You may be surprised to discover that you will find certain
nannies are quite happy to work non-traditional hours because they can spend
their “off-work” hours with their own families, furthering their education, or
working in another capacity. 

If you expect your nanny to work non-traditional hours you
should think about the following:

– do the non-traditional hours impact her ability to commute
to your home? (bus schedules, train schedules)

– how many hours total do you need the nanny each week?  will you need her to work “overtime”? (if
YES, then perhaps adjust her pay accordingly)

– what is your back-up plan if the nanny gets sick or cannot
come to work for some reason? 

– are you expecting her to sleep over in your home?  (if so, then you must provide her proper

– will your hours “rotate” day to day, week to week, or
month to month?  (detail your schedule

– will you let her watch your child (children) out of her

– do you expect your nanny to be “on-call” to your needs and
completely flexible with your schedule?  (if
this is the case, make sure you hire a nanny that is extremely mature and

UltimateMama knows that every community is very
different and there is no one source to turn to in the nanny or babysitter search.  Moreover, you will most likely have to
conduct your thorough search via several sources which may include: 

– word of mouth (friends/relatives)

– referrals from other parents or other nannies

– religious organizations or religious leaders (newsletters,

– college bulletin boards/college newspapers/college web

– local schools

– physician’s offices

– birthing centers

– nurses and receptionists

– health care workers

– prenatal exercise studios

– agencies (be prepared to pay appropriate fees)

– community centers

– local newspapers or publications (hard copy or online)

– local women’s clubs with message boards or networking

– playgrounds or parks

UltimateMama feels that you and your partner should create a “nanny contract” or a
“nanny responsibility code” before hiring your nanny.  First, it will force you to come to an
agreement on exactly what you expect of her. 
Secondly, the contract will give you a chance to put everything in one
place so there are no future debates or arguments about her role.  Thirdly, by reviewing the document or
agreement together as a team you will begin your relationship with your nanny
with a solid foundation.

It is important that you allow her to communicate to you any
questions, concerns, or comments she has regarding the contract and make
alterations if necessary.  Also, make it
clear that you understand that certain unforeseen events may come up and you
will respect her and treat her fairly. 
For instance, if she is normally on time and happens to be late for work
one day due to the subways not running on time let her know that she will not
be penalized as long as she contacts you.

UltimateMama lists some items or terms you may want to include on your nanny

– the date

– your name, address, and phone number(s)

– your child’s name

– the nanny’s name, address, and phone number(s)

– hours and days of week she is expected to work

– pay as well as overtime pay if applicable

– vacation days/personal days/holidays

– emergency contact information

– specific responsibilities

– house rules

– transportation requirements

– your signature/date and the nanny’s signature/date