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Finding a reliable nanny or babysitter without an agency

5 easy tips to finding your personal Mary Poppins

by Sandhya  |  9410 views  |  2 comments  |        Rate this now! 

So, you've decided that you want to hire a nanny or babysitter for your precious little baby. The question is, how do you go about finding one? You want to make sure you employ someone who will treat your child respectfully, pay them mindful attention, and genuinely enjoy being around them. This might feel like one of the most important decisions of your life - and it is! But it certainly doesn't have to be overwhelming.

If you live near a nanny agency, great! They do all the legwork for you, so you don't have to do anything but say, "You're hired." (More about that on my blog.) But what about the rest of you? If you live in a small town like I once did, it's quite possible that you don't have access to a licensed nanny agency. Relax! You, too, can find that perfect nanny or babysitter. Here's how:

1.) Place an ad for a qualified nanny or babysitter in your local newspaper and on the Craigslist for your city. Be as specific as possible -- mention your children's ages, how many hours you need a nanny, and if you have a specific wage in mind, mention that, too. 

2.) Once you feel like you've gotten a good number of responses, you can set up interviews with those you feel sound promising. Remember to ask them to bring references and past work history with them to the interview. If you need help thinking of interview questions, here is a good start.

3.) Once you've narrowed your choices down to a few candidates, ask them if they'd be willing to take a criminal background check. This check will tell you everything you need to know about any convictions they might have on their record. They can request a copy of their background check for you.

4.) Ask them for a copy of their driving record. You should be checking to make sure there is nothing on there that would be a major cause of alarm, like DUIs or several reckless driving citations.

5.) Assuming they've come out clean, you can then call their references. Ask a lot of open-ended questions. This will force the references to give you more details on the type of childcare their children received from your potential sitter or nanny

And you're all set! If you're still uneasy about leaving your children, you might set up a nanny cam. This option is not for everyone, but proponents of nanny cams say it's definitely worth it since you are trusting your child's life with a stranger. Before you do this, make sure to check on the legalities of nanny cams in your state.

About the Author

Sandhya F. is a freelance writer who lives in SC. Her current obsessions are anti-frizz cremes, circle pendants and MomLit. You can pick her brain at:

Read more by Sandhya

2 comments so far...

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    Flag as inappropriate Posted by ndks eihds on 17th June 2011

  • Thank you for this great article. You provide a good step by step approach. Recently I had to change nannies and this time instead of going to the agency as I did last time I placed an ad in the local paper. I was getting two calls per hour. I set up interviews and then picked one, checked her reference and her documents, made copies. It's been two weeks and I am very happy with my new nanny. And it's cheaper to get someone from an ad then agency. I don't find agencies beneficial. They really do not do anything that you can't do yourself and you save hundreds of dollars.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by on 24th July 2008