Hiring a nanny can be a rewarding experience for both you and your children. However, in order to reap the benefits of a nanny service, it is important to find someone who fits in with your family, shares your same values and is qualified to care for your kids.

While a professional nanny caregiver is convenient, it is important to be very selective and do your research. After all, this person will be spending several hours a day being in charge of the care and well-being of your children!

Whether you decide to conduct your research privately or go through an agency, you should understand what to look for, both legally and professionally. Below is a checklist to help you find the right nanny for your family.

  • Determine how much time you require of your nanny. Nannies can be available on a regular full-time or part-time basis. You can have the option of hiring someone who lives with you and your family or off-site.
  • Do your research. Ask friends and family for referrals or visit such websites as Canadian Nanny or Canadian Sitter. Both websites provide databases filled with qualified, experienced nannies in your area.
  • Interview candidates. Ask questions that highlight his or her skills, qualifications, and experience. Excellent questions to ask may include:
    • Do you like children?
    • Have you had previous paid experience looking after children around the age of (your child’s age)?
    • How many children have you cared for at any given time?
    • Have you ever been involved with an emergency? If so, what was the emergency and how did you handle it?
    • Do you have your CPR and First Aid training certification?
    • What are your child-rearing beliefs and expectations?
    • Do you have current references from past/relevant employers?
  • Obtain at least two references and conduct a criminal background check (obtain the applicant’s name, address, date of birth, social insurance number and driving license number for criminal background check)
  • Draw up a detailed job description and contract. Visit Human Resources Development Canada for employment standards. This contract should detail:
    • hours of work
    • wage
    • length of employment
    • the duties and responsibilities of each party
    • discipline
    • what is and isn’t acceptable
    • “house rules” (phone use, petty cash, use of your car, etc.)
  • Have a lawyer oversee the contract as this will be a legal document meant to protect the rights of yourself and your nanny.
  • Hold a trial meet and greet between nanny and your children.
  • Schedule evaluations with your nanny on a regular basis. Keep communication open to ensure you, your caregiver and your children are content and up-to-date.

Your nanny will have a significant impact on the quality of life of both your children and your family as a whole. Finding the right nanny will require in-depth research and patience. However, you’ll find that once you have selected the right person to care for your children, the long-term rewards will have been more than worth the effort.