Find a nanny or aupair

Some parents are uncomfortable with sending their children to day care, but still find themselves in need of a caregiver for their children while they are at work. If you are a parent in this situation, hiring a nanny or an au pair is one possible child care solution.

A nanny looks after your child in your home, and may even live with you. He or she is usually formally educated in child psychology or child care and has a lot of experience with children. While both nannies and au pairs can come from all over the world, technically, an au pair is a young person (commonly a college student) from a foreign country who offers child care and, often, housework in exchange for room and board and immersion in another culture. Therefore, most au pairs do not have the same amount of child care experience as a qualified career-nanny.

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Using a Nanny Agency or Service

While there are many different ways to find a nanny or au pair, most parents prefer to use a trusted nanny agency. Agencies place nannies with parents all over the world, and most are reputable companies that stand behind the quality of care. Nevertheless, you will need to do a nanny background check on any person you decide to hire for your children. Agencies will screen potential candidates, but it is your responsibility to ensure that they are not only safe, but the right person to care for your children.

You can try an online nanny service, but these candidates are not necessarily screened very well, so exercise caution – especially if you are looking for a live-in nanny.

Before hiring a nanny or au pair, decide exactly what you want in a nanny, so you can communicate your preferences to the agency. Do you want a nanny housekeeper or someone to look after your children only? Define the nanny's responsibilities clearly, and if you wish to add or take away some of your nanny's chores, let them know in advance, especially if you are going to adjust their salary.

Nanny salaries vary depending on the nanny's skills and your location. Ask agencies or check around with other parents to see what the going rate in your area is. To keep a good nanny, you may choose to pay slightly above the going rate, or many parents decide to offer a bonus at the end of the year, instead. It's up to you how you pay your nanny, but involve him or her in any salary negotiations.

Building Confidence in Your Nanny

No matter which agency or service you use to find your nanny, you want to feel confident that your child is well-cared for in your absence. Therefore, you may choose to install one of many different kinds of nanny cams in your home to keep an eye on your caregiver and how he or she interacts with your child. Remember, though, that this can feel like a serious breach of trust to a good nanny, so if you choose to use a nanny cam, you may want to let your new nanny know that you will be checking up on them periodically, not because you don't trust them to take good care of your child, but because you would like to ensure that their style of care is consistent with your own parenting style.

A nanny is someone who can really become a part of your family. Make sure that the person you choose is a good fit both with your child and your family dynamic. If there are any problems, make sure to keep open communication with your nanny to ensure that the relationship stays healthy for years to come.