Finding someone to care for your kiddos while you’re gone can be so hard. I promise there is an amazing nanny or daycare out there for you, but how do you go about finding the right one? The process can be laborious, but I’ve found it to be so worth it to take the time to find a great fit for your family so that you can rest assured knowing your kids are in hands you can trust while you’re gone.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you in your search for a great nanny or daycare:
1. Ask parents you trust for recommendations
Talking to friends whose opinions you trust is always the best place to start when searching for childcare. The more positive experiences your friends have with a daycare or a nanny, the easier it is for you to get a feel for how they may work for your child as well. Make sure to be clear about what you’re looking for when you ask your friends for their recommendations. If you are looking for a full-time nanny, you won’t be able to call your best friends’ full-time nanny unless you agree ahead of time to do a nanny share (which, by the way, can be a great option if you both feel comfortable with it).
2. Do a background check
Background checks are a super important step to finding a daycare or a nanny you can trust that many people overlook. Daycares have a license number that you can request and contact the licensing agency in your state or county to get information about any important details you should know from their record. I specifically like to know if there have been any allegations of abuse or misconduct. It is also important to ensure that all people who work at their facility are also background checked.
A nanny can and should also be background checked before you hire them. Many nanny agencies will provide this service for you, but it’s always a good idea to request a background check if you are hiring outside of an agency.
3. Call references
Once you’ve completed your background check and research, ask the daycare facility or nanny if they can provide a few references. When you contact references, ask what their favorite thing is about the childcare provider and their least favorite thing. Ask them to explain any situations that have occurred that caused them concern. For a daycare, is there anything specific you should be aware of concerning their policies? Finally, ask each reference if they had to make the choice again, would they choose the same childcare provider? Why or why not?
4. Do a trial day
If you are hiring a nanny, invite them to watch your kids while you’re home for their first visit. Be available, but occupy yourself in another room while the kids and the nanny play and get to know each other.
If you are looking for a daycare, ask if your kids can visit for one day to check it out before you commit.
Not only does this help you get a good feel for the childcare provider, but it also gives your kids some time and space to adjust and allows them to play a role in making this important decision.
5. Ask your kids questions
After your trial day, talk to your kids. As your child opens up about their day, you will be able to get a really good sense of how comfortable they felt and if this daycare or nanny will be a good fit for them long-term. Ask them questions like: Tell me about your day. What did you do? Who did you play with? Tell me about your teacher. Would you like to go there again? Why/why not?
6. Follow-up on the info you get from your kids
If any concerns came up in your conversation with your child that you want to get some more information on, talk with the childcare provider. Tell them what concerned you and explore how those things could be addressed in a way that makes you feel comfortable.
Finally, trust your gut. It is important to get all of the information you can and then trust your instincts. If you just don’t feel right about something, keep looking. When you find the right daycare or nanny, you will know, and you’ll be so glad you took the time to search until you found the perfect fit. Happy searching!