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Finding your nanny: where to start?


“In every job that must be done, there’s an element of fun”, sang Mary Poppins gleefully. Not many parents desperately trying to find a nanny for their child would be convinced by this statement. As a matter of fact, the whole process of finding the right nanny can often be more stressful than enjoyable.

Finding a nanny for your child can be a stressful and overwhelming process, with no guarantee of success. It may feel like a treasure hunt without a map, and the whole experience can be more frustrating than enjoyable. However, there are steps you can take and things you should know to improve your chances of finding the right nanny. While it may be a challenging task, there is hope for a positive outcome. Here are some tips to make the process easier.

Keep time on your side

We know from our experience that finding a nanny takes anything between one week to one month, it can however take longer depending on the time of the year and your specific requirements. Additionally, other factors like role attractiveness, eagerness, reactivity and availability of all involved may influence the length of the hiring process.

Our most valuable piece of advice? Keep time on your side, and start prospecting as early as possible.

It's important to note that the shorter the time it takes for you to move up in your recruitment process, the more appealing your position will be to nannies who've applied.

Define your needs carefully

We highly recommend that you start by defining your needs, as this will later help you determine the role.

Here are some of the simple questions you can ask yourself:

  • Are you looking for full-time or part-time childcare?

  • A key point to consider is that it's easier to find a full-time nanny than a part-time one. Then what are your options if you only need a few hours of childcare? You could:-

a. Add in some extra hours for housekeeping, weekend help, administrative work etc…and/or

b. Consider offering a slightly higher hourly rate, or

b. Depending on your budget, you could also agree to a guaranteed payment for a set of hours per week. Even if your nanny works part-time she will receive agreed guaranteed pay. Naturally, it is possible to request that she works full-time during half-term if your child is sick or for any other reason.

  • Do you need someone who can drive or someone who lives nearby?

How far your nanny lives is an important factor to consider.

A 45-minute commute is generally well accepted by most nannies especially if the commute is straightforward.

However, if you require your nanny to start early eg 7-7.30 am and finish at 6-6.30 pm, finding one who lives close by is strongly recommended.

  • Perhaps you want your child to develop his second language and need a bilingual nanny?

It is often assumed that any good native nanny will do. For a positive experience for your child, we do however recommend discussing with your nanny the experiences she has with bilingual children and how she will support your child's language development.

  • Is proxy parenting needed or will regular babysitting be required?

The nanny must be comfortable with the idea of regular babysitting if that is an important requirement.

Paying extra and separately for babysitting (rather than including them in her weekly/monthly wages) is a recommended approach for ensuring that babysitting requests are always well received.

  • Is there a particular childcare approach that you would like your nanny to follow?

For your child: Consistency and structure are important for proper child development. It provides children with a sense of safety, positively impacting their emotional, social and cognitive development. For these reasons, make sure your nanny shares a similar childcare philosophy that you do.

For your nanny: Incompatible childcare approaches can cause a lot of misunderstanding, which often results in resentment or resignation from your nanny.

Know yourself

Understanding and verbalising who you are as a family will allow you to recognise the right nanny when you meet her.

There are a few questions you can ask yourself that may be helpful:-

  • How would you best define your lifestyle (health-conscious, sporty, high-profile etc)?

  • Consider your values and the ones you would like your nanny to possess. You’ll get a deeper connection with your nanny if she shares some of the important values you have. For example, if early language development and literacy are important to you an educationally-focused nanny may be a good match.

Create a fictional representation of your ideal nanny

This step is intended to help you clarify what you are looking for in a nanny. Specifically, you will need to establish the experience, skills, values, motivations and personality your ideal nanny will need to possess, to succeed in her role.

According to Nannytax, nannies' salaries have increased by 8% in London and 13% in the rest of the UK.

Define your budget

One of the first questions that will cross your mind is how much to pay your nanny. Here are a few things you should know to assist you.

According to Nannytax, nannies' salaries have increased by 8% in London and 13% in the rest of the UK, compared to 2018/2019 (these numbers are based on their internal payroll records).

Live-out nannies in London earn an average gross wage of £15.03 an hour to £15.75 depending on the area where they are working. It appears that nannies working in west London earn more than those working in central London.

Establish a budget and include a salary range in your job description rather than just "DOE" (based on experience). Disclosing the salary range will prevent candidates who aren't interested in your range from applying.

The interview stage

It is just as important to interview a nanny quickly after first getting in touch, as it is to make an offer as early as possible afterwards. Things should move fast enough to keep everyone warm and more importantly available.

Candidates should receive a response within 2 to 3 days after the face-to-face interview. Keep in mind that it is common for the best nannies to only be available for about 10 days, sometimes even less, before they are hired.

Therefore, the more time you spend interviewing other candidates, the more likely you are to miss out on the right nanny.

Mind your….bias

The unconscious biases we hold about certain groups of people are assumptions or stereotypes we are unaware of. They can be positive or negative and significantly skew our judgement.

The halo effect for example occurs when we have a biased positive opinion of someone. This positive first impression may make us overlook some other negative characteristics of the person.

A good nanny or the right nanny

Our brain loves to simplify everything for us. This helps us make sense of a complex world without feeling overwhelmed by the huge amount of information.

However, it is not always an efficient way of approaching a problem. Instead of reasoning in terms of good nannies vs ‘bad nannies’, remember that context is important.

A family’s dream nanny might be your family’s nightmare nanny. The question you should ask yourself is: Is this nanny right for my family?

Trust your gut vs trust your head

You’ve probably heard this old saying many times before. It is often presented as the key to decision-making.

But is trusting your gut the right thing to do? A psychologist from Stanford University conducted an experiment (2011) to establish which one of these two strategies was the best choice.

It appears that the experiment successfully established that participants who trusted their guts were more accurate than those who didn’t. So consider the hard facts and trust your guts.

With more than ten years within the childcare industry, coupled with expert knowledge in effective recruitment and structured interview techniques, we can help you find the right nanny for your family.

For further information please visit our website at


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