Tag Archives: nanny search

When to start thinking about childcare

You’re pregnant! When do you need to start thinking about childcare?

So much of our planning surrounds trying to get pregnant, sustain a healthy pregnancy, and bring baby home that expectant parents sometimes don’t know when to start planning for childcare. Returning to work after having your first (or second, or third…) baby is a sensitive time in parents’ lives. Some of us have the luxury of several months’ leave from our career responsibilities, while many of us have to take far less time. Follow this timeline to achieve quality childcare:

Pregnancy, Months 0-6: Decide on institutional or individual childcare.

Some parents have strong feelings about whether a nanny or daycare program is the best fit for your family. Research and discuss your options before the baby is born, while considering finances and work flexibility.  (Stay tuned for next week’s NannyTracks post which discusses the differences between in-home and outside childcare.)

If you’re choosing institutional childcare, start researching and reserving a spot as soon as you know your return-to-work date, and check with them about phasing your child in part-time for a few weeks before that so all of you can settle into a routine.

If you’re looking to hire a nanny, put out feelers around your second trimester with mention of your ideal start date.

Pregnancy, Months 7-9: Look for recommendations from friends and neighbors.

Whichever type of childcare you opt for, talk to people you know about people they know. Ask friends and neighbors if they know of any nannies who are looking for new work (especially useful if you’re working part-time as many parents enter into “nanny share” agreements with other families). Remember, the best nannies don’t need to advertise their availability—they have new jobs lined up when their old ones expire. And a family who no longer has a need for their beloved nanny always wants, and typically helps, to find them a new family. Regardless of how strong a recommendation is, you should always be conducting additional reference calls for a full-spectrum representation of any nanny candidate.

If daycare is your chosen route, do your due diligence here, too. If you’re cold-calling daycare centers, hang around the parking lot or stroll by at pick-up time and ask parents about their feelings about the program. You can ask for references, too, though clearly these are cherry-picked families who would likely have only positive comments about the facility and staff.

Baby, Months 0-3: Don’t wait too long to commit.

Do the daycare centers in your area involve a lengthy registration process or have waiting lists? Does your dream nanny know that her current job is wrapping up in 2 months? Starting early, while it may seem an overwhelming endeavor while caring for your newborn, will ensure a more seamless back-to-work transition. If you’re interviewing daycares or individuals to hire, you’ll want to start setting up these meetings at least 6 weeks prior to work, so commitments can be made at least a few weeks before you go back to your other job. Conducting necessary and thorough background checks, like the NannyTrack Report, will also take time. Having childcare in place early enough allows for a getting-to-know-you period which provides both you and your baby with a sense of security and comfort.

 

 

 

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BABY SHOW SUCCESS!

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Thanks to Sarah Gardner and the rest of the team from New York Baby Show for making the weekend such a success! It was great to have the chance to speak with some of our current and future NannyTrack families. Here at NannyTrack we feel very strongly about getting parents the best available information about all aspects of hiring the right caregiver for their child, and we enjoyed the chance to spread the word about how NannyTrack fits into that process. Check back next week for a post about when to start planning your childcare (a topic on the minds of a lot of the expectant and new parents we met this weekend) and the announcement of the winner of our FREE NannyTrack report (a $555 value). 

How to jumpstart your nanny search

Most expectant and new parents view the search for childcare with at least some amount of dread, and why shouldn’t they? Whether your search for a nanny has started before your child is born, when you’re frantically outfitting a nursery and coordinating your birth plan, or after, when you’d prefer to spend your few quiet moments sleeping, it’s never easy to hire a caregiver. We get it—each of us wants our child to be cared for by a loving, responsible, individual—a Supernanny. So where to start the search for Mary Poppins?  Here are three ways to identify the best candidates for the job.

  1. Word of Mouth

If there’s one thing you can do with a sleeping baby on your chest, it’s text your pals! Send a mass e-mail to friends in your area asking for recommendations and let them know it’s okay to forward your query on to others. Good nannies tend to find new employment via their current employers, since most families are eager to help their beloved nannies find new work when it’s time for a family to  move on. Make sure you include as much information about hours and days as you can to save yourself the trouble of fielding calls from nannies whose schedules don’t match. If you belong to a parents’ listserv, Facebook page, or other online group, now is the time to harness the power of social media. Post about the position and let other parents send you references, and don’t forget to ask them if they’ve previously obtained background screening on their nanny. (Older searches may need to be updated.)

Tip: Start early.  It may take a couple of rounds of posts and queries before you find a match.

  1. Nanny Agency

Far and away the most expensive option, finding your nanny through a traditional nanny agency can set you back thousands of dollars. If you contract with a reputable agency, your money should be getting you a fully-screened, professional nanny who fits your specific requirements, plus a guarantee from the agency (in your contract) that if the nanny isn’t  a good fit they will assist you in finding a replacement. The very best agencies attract a talented pool of caregivers who have passed several rounds of interviews and all relevant background checks. The agency handpicks nannies from this pool and sends them to you to be interviewed, whereupon you meet a candidate knowing that she’s a fully-vetted professional. Still, there are hundreds of nanny agencies out there, not all of which are rigorous in their selection process. Before you sign on the dotted line make sure you understand exactly what you’re paying for—you don’t want to find out later that a background report isn’t included in the fees you paid the agency.

Tip: Do your homework.  A little research will help you to find a reputable agency.   

  1. Online  Sources

 With most online nanny-finder services, you’ll pay a membership fee in order to access postings or to post your own job advertisement. Remember, these individuals have not been pre-screened so you will need to conduct your own background check. As with nanny agencies, the quality of the service can vary. Good online nanny-finder services can be great resources for accessing a large pool of candidates quickly, and often these sites offer extremely helpful information and tools for you, the employer, relating to a nanny’s hiring, such as your tax responsibilities and salary payment tools.