How to choose the right nanny for your family

During the summer holidays, many parents’ attention turns towards childcare and for some families, hiring a nanny, childminder or other professional will be the only option.

There are many different types of childcare providers, which can offer you flexibility and enable you to get the exact support you and your child need. However, this range of options can also make it difficult to know what type of childcare is right for you, and what skills or qualities you need in a nanny.

In this article we explore what you need to consider when choosing the right nanny for your family.

Trethowans
Trethowans

Why it’s good to involve your child in the process

Perhaps the most important thing for your child’s wellbeing is that they like their nanny. The role of a nanny is similar to that of a parent, and nannies must embody a combination of friendliness and authority that will enable them to support a child’s creativity and imagination, while also instilling discipline and teaching the child responsibility.

Involving your child in the decision-making process when hiring a nanny can be a good way to assess this, but even before this stage, there are things to consider about the kind of support you want your nanny to provide.

What can different nannies provide for your child?

Many nannies will have qualifications in childcare, and all providers of care to children aged from birth until four years old must learn and utilise the early years foundation stage statutory framework, which means they will be able to provide for all of the basic needs your child might exhibit.

However, the best nanny for your family will specialise in the areas and types of care your child needs – whether that means managing a schedule of regular playdates and extracurricular activities, helping them with homework, or ensuring they maintain a balanced diet.

For example, some nannies are extremely organised, meaning that if your children have regular appointments or a set schedule, they can ensure this is carefully maintained. Others might have an educational background and be able to support your child’s development, be good at discipline, or have a vivid imagination and encourage your child in play.

You need to know your goals for child development

It is important to understand your goals for your child’s development in order to identify the strengths you are looking for in a nanny.

Nannies can provide a variety of different childcare services, including driving children to and from appointments, arranging playdates, dropping off and collecting from school, preparing simple meals, supervising homework and other tasks.

In some cases, they may also be able to undertake light housekeeping duties, but you may need to hire a nanny housekeeper for this, or determine which duties you expect your nanny to fulfil before you sign a contract.

What types of extra support can a nanny provide?

If your household has complicated needs, it may be valuable to keep in mind that you can often find professionals with additional skills that can complement the childcare services they provide.

For example, nanny housekeepers can get your children ready and take them to school, undertake housekeeping duties like basic tidying or cleaning during the day, and then collect the children and supervise their homework in the evening, which is ideal for families with this combination of needs.

More specialised skills are also available, including nanny grooms who can take care of horses, so it can be important to look around at the skills on offer before you choose a nanny or agency to speak to.

Think about the needs of your household and whether it would be more efficient to hire one person to take on multiple responsibilities, or better to have a few professionals working for you, each of whom specialises in a particular skill set.

There are limits to how many hours a nanny can work, so if your household has a variety of complex needs you may be better served by hiring multiple professionals who can coordinate their efforts to ensure everything is done to a satisfactory standard.

Check your nanny is registered with Ofsted

Another thing to consider is whether your nanny is registered with Ofsted. Nannies do not have to register, but many choose to do so or will be registered by the agency they work for.

If your nanny is a registered childminder, you may be eligible to benefit from childcare subsidies from the government that can help you pay for their services. In many cases, this can cancel out the cost for nannies to register with Ofsted, and as such, some families pay for their nanny to register in order to qualify for these government subsidies.

Speak to a specialist agency

With these factors in mind, and a good understanding of your child’s needs, you can find a childcare professional who will support and nurture them.

Speaking to a specialist nanny agency is often the best way to ensure that you have a range of suitable options to choose from, but as long as you know what you are looking for, you can make sure to ask the right questions and find the perfect match.

Nannies Matter is a family-run business, with over 20 years of recruitment experience in meeting the demands of discerning clients in Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

Photo by Marisa Howenstine