7 Tips for Picking a Nanny: Advice from Expert Tammy Gold

Whether you are a new mom or a seasoned mom, searching for a nanny can be a challenge, to say the least! From where to find someone to what questions you should ask at that first meeting to when is the best time to start, the search can be overwhelming. Let’s face it: there is nothing or no one more important than your child. Finding the right person to help you care for your little one can seem nearly impossible.

To help soothe your nanny nerves, we sat down with Certified Parenting Coach, Licensed Therapist, and Founder of Gold Parent Coaching Tammy Gold ( to get the seven best tips on how to find a nanny. Here’s what she had to say….

Rule #1: Don’t rush the process of looking for a nanny.

When you’re worried about childcare, it’s extremely hard not to rush, especially if you need coverage immediately. But you must force yourself to fight the initial panicked instinct to hire the first remotely qualified nanny and put her to work right away. To make a good decision, you need data. You want to allow yourself plenty of time and ideally be under as little pressure as possible so that you can go through the entire process carefully, complete the necessary due diligence, and feel great about the person you hire.

Rule #2: Do the work to figure out what you need.

Your nanny will be intimately involved in raising your child, so you want to really hone in on the quirks and nuances of your family, as well as the nanny personality and skill set that you need. You’re the employer, so you get to create the job, and it can be whatever you want it to be. But you need to be absolutely clear about the requirements and expectations from the get-go. Things get complicated when a nanny feels misled, you feel like you’re not getting what you pay for, or you try to change the job and modify the nanny’s responsibilities along the way.

Rule #3: Have realistic expectations.

There will be pros and cons to every candidate, and every nanny will occasionally make mistakes. But that doesn’t mean that she can’t be a wonderful caregiver or that she isn’t the right fit for your family.

Rule #4: Don’t project too far into the future.

When you sit down with a nanny, try not to think, “Is this the person who’s going to care for my child for the next ten years?” Don’t worry about whether this is a life-long match or whether you can see her being at your child’s wedding someday. Most nannies don’t stay forever; they typically stay for a few years and then move on as the family’s needs or their needs change. So, all you have to decide is whether this person is the right caregiver for your child right now and whether she will still be able to meet your needs one to two years down the line.

Rule #5: Remember that, during the nanny interview, your nanny is also interviewing YOU.

Yes, you are choosing to hire a nanny, and yes, as the employer, you are in the driver’s seat. But in the nanny’s mind, she is also deciding whether she should work for you, and any really good nanny will have her pick of jobs. Be aware that, at any given point in the process, she will be asking herself, “How do I feel about this family? Do I like how they handle things? Do they make me feel respected and understood?” You are two equal parties in every sense of the word, and you want to think about it as an equal relationship from the start.

Rule #6: If you like someone, keep the process moving.

Remember that, when nannies are interviewing with you, they are also interviewing with other families. If you like someone, make sure she knows that you’d like to move on to the next step, and give a specific timeframe so she knows what to expect. You want to keep the nanny in the loop so she knows you’re serious and hopefully will not jump to accept another offer.

Rule #7: Keep the faith!

Nanny searches require stamina, and just like job searches or dating, they can have ups and downs. There will be setbacks. A nanny may do everything right and then be terrible in the trial, or your frontrunner may get another offer that you can’t afford to match. You will sometimes feel like you are getting nowhere—and then suddenly, you’ll meet the right nanny and feel that “click.” The key is to be patient and continue with the process. If you stay the course, it does work!