You’re on the hunt for a new nanny. Great! The relationship between a family and their nanny is one that can be quite rewarding!

But finding the right nanny for your family is a process.

Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, authors of The Nanny Diaries, suggest finding someone who really enjoys kids and understands how to strike that balance between being a part of their world (playing with them) and structuring that world (disciplining and teaching them).

We’ve outlined five key things to pay attention for when looking for a new nanny.


“Patience is an obvious essential for anyone who works with kids,” says Kraus. A nanny needs to be able to handle long days spent caring for kids and their emotional needs.


Reliability is also critical when transitioning a new caretaker onto your family’s team. Make sure your nanny has excellent personal and professional references that exemplify this trait. Will the person show up on time, to help your life run smoothly? Weronika Dubois, owner of Mother’s Helper, says, “It is crucial that you find a nanny who is dependable.”


Look for certifications and classes to show that the candidate takes this role seriously and is qualified to watch your child. For example, is your baby’s nanny CPR and First Aid Certified?

Extensive Hands-on Experience

Qualified nannies should have first-hand experience with small babies and young children other than their own. This ensures they can manage sleep training, scheduling, diaper rash, soothing and feedings.

It’s also a good idea to do a test run with your potential nanny. “Shadowing the mother for a few days will give the new nanny a chance to get acquainted with the home,” says Dubois. “It will also give the children a chance to get acquainted with [them].”

Professional References

A caregiver should have, of course, a clean background check and impeccable references. Checking your applicant’s references is the most effective method in measuring their work ethic. If your prospective nanny is reluctant to provide this information, take it as a red flag.

While it’s vital to learn a nanny’s qualifications, you also have to look at the big picture. “[Your nanny] is in your home and interacting with your family on a daily basis. That is why it is crucial to focus on the nanny as a person, not just [their] qualifications,” says Dubois. And most important, trust your instincts. Just because a person looks right on paper doesn’t mean [they’re] necessarily the right person for your family.

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