How to find a nanny

For many working mums, nannies are the ultimate choice in childcare – looking after your child the way you want in your own home.

Find out what considerations you need to take into account when looking for a nanny, and how you can find the right one for you and your family.

Training and qualifications

There’s no legal requirement for a nanny to have any qualifications in childcare. Some nannies choose to study for formal qualifications, while others simply have plenty of experience.

Some of the qualifications a nanny may have include:

  • Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education (CACHE) diploma in childcare and education.
  • BTEC national certificate or diploma in children’s care, learning and development.
  • NVQ in children’s care, learning and development.

Nannies can also choose to be registered with OFSTED (or Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales or Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland).

The personal connection

As important as qualifications and experience are in choosing a nanny, it is essential that you find someone that you and your child like and trust.

A nanny will be spending all day in your home with your child – and may even live with you, so you need to make sure that you find the right person. It’s a good idea to spend as much time as possible with a potential nanny before you make a final decision. Interview them yourself, and introduce them to your child.

You also need to check that your nanny is happy with your home, family and local area. If they don’t feel comfortable or settled with you they won’t stay long, and you could find yourself looking for a new nanny in a few weeks time.

Practical considerations

Aside from qualifications and personality, there are important practical considerations to take into account when looking for a nanny. For example, if your local transport network isn’t great you may want a nanny who can drive.

You may also want a nanny who is a good cook, or who speaks a foreign language. In a cases where the latter is high up on your list of your priorities, it may be worth looking beyond the traditional nanny route and instead opting for an au pair, as they can help immerse your child in new cultures and language from a young age.

You can read more here about the examples of cultural diversity that can be promoted by an au pair. Similarly, if you’re a particularly sporty family you may prefer a nanny who enjoys taking your children out for games of football or bike rides.

It’s important to establish from the outset your approach to discipline too, and ensure that your nanny understands and is happy to follow it.

Working hours should also be discussed before making a final decision. If your work involves long or unpredictable hours, you need to agree what help and flexibility you expect from your nanny.

Where to find a nanny

Before approaching agencies or placing an advert for a nanny, write a clear job description for the role you want to fill. Define the skills, experience and personality you’d like your nanny to have, and what you expect of them.

To find the right nanny:

  • Register with nanny agencies (you can find local nanny agencies here).
  • Place an advert in the local papers, nurseries and shops.
  • Ask friends, family and other mums for recommendations.