Posts Tagged ‘hire’

Top 4 Reasons Professional Nannies Work with a Local Nanny Agency

February 25, 2015

Local Nanny AgencyOriginally posted here.

As a career nanny, you have a number of avenues for finding a job, but finding just the right family can be a tricky task. You want to be respected for your experience and knowledge, compensated fairly, and treated as a professional. Using a local nanny agency can meet your needs and offers you peace of mind:

  1. Personal Attention & Support: When working with a local nanny agency, you will have all the personal attention you deserve throughout your job hunt. Look for an agency with a caring, professional staff to guide you through your job search. A veteran agency with a tenured staff will also have a great deal of knowledge and expertise in the industry. They will match your unique skillset and personality with the right families, and offer you jobs that meet your needs.
  2. Industry Knowledge & Professionalism: When you decided to work with a local nanny agency, you can expect to be treated as a professional. Seek out an agency who is involved with the nanny industry at large, and who knows what is standard for compensation, benefit and vacation packages. A local nanny agency has first hand knowledge of local wage and benefit packages. Families who work with nanny agencies are well educated, and treat their employees with the respect they deserve.
  3. Long-term Success: Families who work with a referral agency have realistic expectations about hiring a nanny. Look for an agency that provides families with an employment contract that outlines the job description, duties, compensation, paid time off, etc. You will also want agencies who educate their families on recommended intervals and processes for reviews to keep open communication between nannies and families.
  4. On-going Support: Local agencies offer ongoing support even after you have been placed with a family. Professional agencies will host events for nannies to network with fellow nannies, as well as ongoing training opportunities for development. They will seek to expand your skills as a nanny professional. Your agency should also offer unbiased counseling and/or mediation should you have any issues with your placement.

Nanny Background Screening is more than a Nanny Background Check

January 1, 2015

Originally posted here, by the International Nanny Association.

Nanny Background ScreeningThe nanny industry – nannies, nanny referral professionals, nanny background screeners and educators – share an overwhelming concern for the wellbeing of the children being cared for by a nanny in their home. We are all child care professionals. Sadly, there is yet another story making the news rounds about a nanny hired from an online venue mistreating the children in her care. The nanny was ‘caught’ on a nanny cam.

The International Nanny Association (INA) and the Alliance of Premier Nanny Agencies (APNA) want to inform parents that a computerized background check is quite simply insufficient ‘screening’ to evaluate a nanny applicant. The digital, criminal “background check” creates a false sense of security for families.

True nanny background screening also must include careful, probing interviews, and thorough reference checks. INA  and APNA agency members are experts at nanny screening.

So what do families need to do to carefully screen a nanny applicant?

Verify Applicant Identity: It is only logical to first confirm that the individual applicant is who she says she is. Government issued photo identification should be reviewed at the beginning of any nanny interview. This can be a drivers’ license, passport, or a state-issued identification card.

Gather a Comprehensive Work History: INA member Daryl Camarillo, Stanford Park Nannies, recommends that families “Verify and interview all previous employers (even non-childcare related) and do a thorough accounting for all gaps in work history.”

Interview Carefully: A common mistake families make is using the interview to determine if the nanny is agreeable to hours, pay and scope of duties. This is totally insufficient to find out if this candidate will be a quality nanny. A good rule of thumb is if the interviewer is talking more than the person being interviewed, you are not asking the right questions. Behavioral interviewing is the gold standard.

INA member Marc Lenes, Wee Care Nanny Agency, states that “It is imperative to meet and get to know the potential nanny in person. Together you should go over a comprehensive employment application and zero in on gaps in work history, discuss previous jobs in detail and gauge responses to gently probing questions that will help with the vetting process.”

Australia’s Placement Solutions’ Louise Dunham shares “Three techniques we use are 1) listen carefully for the pregnant pauses when questioning a referee ..the nervous schooled referees sometimes confess here; 2) asking an open ended question such as “Describe  to me your typical day looking after a baby and a toddler” will soon show you whether they have actually spent a day doing that and whether they are proactive carers and 3) lastly a trick question ” under what circumstances would you smack a child?” The ONLY answer we want is ‘Never ‘.”

Sandra Costantino, Neighborhood Nannies, has more than 30 years experience matching nannies and families. She reports “So often we are told by our families about “gut reaction.”  There is absolutely no substitute for that than in meeting a potential candidate in person and looking into their eyes and understanding their body language and their answer to questions asked and their comments in general.  A wealth of knowledge is transferred without even knowing it. You cannot get that ‘online‘.”

Verify References: HomeWork Solutions’ Kathleen Webb advises families to “Personally speak to all references. Verify how they know the applicant. Ask questions and wait for answers. Avoid giving verbal clues of agreement or disagreement.”

Fake references are a real problem for families hiring a nanny. Experienced nanny agency staff are highly skilled at detecting references that are simply “off.” When checking a work reference, you may want to ask questions such as “When did she work for you?” or “Tell me about your children – how old were they?” You will be surprised how often the person coached to give the reference trips up on the fine details.

When talking to a nanny’s references, experienced reference checkers often try to obtain a third party or ‘wild card’ reference. This would be someone else known by both the reference and the candidate whom you may use as an additional reference. Third party references are invaluable, as they have most likely not been cherry-picked by the candidate and have not been briefed on the reference check ahead of time.

Schedule a Second, Working Interview: Bring the candidate back at a time when you and the children are both present. Allow the applicant to observe your typical family rhythms, patterns, and interactions. After some orientation, step back and allow some time for the applicant to interact with the children independently (you observe). Of course you will pay the applicant for her time.

The International Nanny Association (INA) is dedicated to helping families find quality in-home childcare. The APNA is a regulated membership organization that establishes standards in the nanny and household staffing industry. Both organizations recognize that families are increasingly turning to online nanny recruiting venues when hiring. The INA and APNA feel strongly that the information above can assist a family to better screen their nanny job applicants. We further recommend that families who are not confident in their interview and screening skills, or simply do not have the time or talent to perform this thorough vetting, strongly consider engaging the services of a professional nanny referral agency. “Liking a nanny isn’t enough, we’d would argue your children deserve more,” advises Jami Denis, ABC Nannies.” Hiring a professional nanny agency to walk you through the screening, interviewing, hiring and employment process allows parents peace of mind when they need it most.”  INA member agencies can be found in the online directory at

Nannies: The Best Childcare Option

April 23, 2014

Originally posted here.

Parents have to make big decisions for their young children starting even before they are born. Will they name the baby after crazy Grandpa Cornelius or wacky Grandpa Walter? What kind of diapers will be used? Will the nursery be painted yellow or green? While the effects of having a unique name may last a lifetime, there is one decision that will make a huge impact on how a child develops: what kind of childcare to use? According to the National Network for Childcare, “quality child care has the capability of promoting trust, autonomy, and a true sense of happiness and well-being in children. It can lead to positive social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development.” What more could a parent ask for?

More than two thirds of children in America have working mothers and therefore are in need of childcare. Most parents must choose between finding an opening in a daycare center or hiring a nanny to care for their bundles of joy. As with most major decisions, many factors must be taken into consideration. However, after closer inspection, it is clear that nannies can offer everything a daycare does and more.


Gaining social skills is crucial for children to grow into intelligent, compassionate adults. However, a daycare may not be the best way to accomplish this as many would assume. A good nanny knows how important socialization is in a child’s development and will cater to those needs. The nanny can accompany her charges to early childhood classes and play groups where they can interact with the same children repeatedly and build relationships. They can also attend fun outings such as the playground, library, or the grocery store. Taking turns with others on the slide, asking the librarian for help finding books, or putting groceries on the conveyer belt for the cashier are all forms of socialization. Being exposed to a variety of people, environments, and situations will broaden a child’s skill set and knowledge of the world.


Children who are cared for by nannies receive more one-on-one attention than those in daycare centers. According to, “one of the most important quality indicators for child care centers is its staff to child ratio. The fewer children served by each staff member is critical to higher quality care.” Depending on a child’s age, the staff-to-child ratio in daycare centers may be anywhere from one adult for every 3 to 15 children.

Nanny Joy Schreiber of Des Plaines, Illinois, recalls her days working in a childcare center. “Having worked in infant classrooms, I would say that for infants it would be much better to hire a nanny. There is no possible way for an infant in daycare to get the one-on-one attention that they need. Some days all you can do is meet basic needs of feeding, diapers, and naps. By the time you get done with one round, it’s time to start the next.” Only being able to meet the basic needs of infants is sufficient. In addition to food and sleep, babies need physical, emotional, and mental stimulation.

For older children, one-on-one attention is just as crucial. Nannies can tailor activities to a child’s individual interests. Nanny Carrie Corbin of Chicago, Illinois explains, “I come up with age-appropriate activities that I know the child I watch will enjoy. At a daycare, where there might be a variety of ages in one setting, those age-appropriate stimulating activities may be harder to come by.” Toddlers have their own interests and preferences, which nannies can use to enhance learning opportunities.


Another great reason to hire a nanny is convenience. Many parents do not work nine-to-five jobs, which means the cookie-cutter start and end times of daycare centers will not meet the family’s needs. A nanny can start and end her workday at any agreed upon time. Many nannies will also be flexible with their schedules as we all know things don’t always go as planned when there are little ones involved.

Having children be able to spend their days in the comfort of their own home is an attractive idea to many parents. After all, home embodies all a child really knows about the world. There are favorite toys for entertainment, loveys to wipe away tears, food chosen by Mom and Dad, and a familiar bed for naptime.

A nanny also means there is an adult at home during the day. This allows a world of tasks to get done that would not with a daycare. Nanny JoAnna Ryan Becker of Perkasie, Pennsylvania, lists “children’s laundry, homework help, meal preparation, grocery shopping, accepting deliveries, and being home for service people” as some of the many ways she helps make her NannyFamily’s life more convenient.


Consistency means that rules and expectations are the same at all times. Consistency makes the child’s world predictable and less confusing. Hiring a nanny allows the parents to choose a caregiver that will be consistent with their style of parenting. For example, new mother Haley Williams of Olympia, Washington, explains why she hired a nanny. “We knew that going with a nanny would allow a constant in my daughter’s life instead of the constant turnover of other daycare kids and teachers. Ideally, we’ll have the same nanny for several years so that she’ll become close with us, understand our family, and ultimately care for my daughter the same way that we would as her parents.”

All children learn at a different pace and go through phases that require special attention. Whether it’s potty training or transitioning to sleep in a big kid bed, nannies and parents can work together to provide consistent encouragement and learning experiences while helping kids meet developmental milestones.


Hiring a nanny is the best childcare option. Nannies can provide children with everything a daycare offers and more. With individual attention, socialization, and consistency between parent and nanny, children can grow into confident, happy people.

Westchester Family Article by Susan Tokayer

July 6, 2013

0July’s Westchester Family Magazine features an article written by Family Helper’s owner and president Susan Tokayer. From the first interaction to the final background check, Susan discusses the steps Family Helper’s recommends when vetting a caregiver.

Check it out here: Hiring a Nanny: How to do a Background Check

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