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Finding The Right Caregiver For Your Child

Are you going back to work or just need an extra pair of hands to help around the house? Here are some points to consider when looking for a caregiver to you child.

First and foremost, this is one area you shouldn't compromise on — your child deserves the best caregiver you can find, so be prepared for a long search. You'll need to be patient and resourceful, consulting everyone from friends and family to nanny agencies about possible candidates. It's important to get recommendations from whoever you choose to hire regardless of where you get them from, so you can get a sense of their interactions with others who are in a similar situation to yours.

To start, you'll need to identify your priorities - what are your specific requirements. Consider talking to your partner about what your ideal sitter or nanny would be like. Would it be someone older or younger? Starting our or more experienced? Is a degree in early childhood education important to you? Make a list you can refer to when you start interviewing applicants or talking to nanny agencies.

Next, do your research. Get the word out to friends and family. Being able to get references from someone you know will be the most reassuring. If you belong to any mommy groups, or attend parenting classes such as Mommy and Me and more - they would be a great resource to ask. You can also post an ad in local online message/bulletin/job boards like craigslist, or ones more specific to parenthood.

If you'd like to try out the pros, you can visit nanny referral sites such as,,, or to find ones in your area. You can do a specific search for locations, wages, gender, languages, etc. - so you can be as choosy as you'd like. These online nanny referral services post listings from parents and prospective nannies are less costly than local agencies, but not free. Fees range from $30 to $500, depending on how long you keep your listing active and the type of service you need but the basics usually include helpful guidelines and forms, with background checks available for additional fees. You can also try websites such as which are clearinghouses for many online agencies and offer helpful guidelines and forms, as well as information about taxes and any special offers available from its members.

Once you are ready to set up interviews, talk to as many applicants as you can. Ask specific questions about their work experience and childrearing philosophies as well as personal habits and background. Be sure to include your child when you meet with candidates so you can see how the they interact. This can be very telling. Trust your gut. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

When you've narrowed down your top candidates, make sure to call their references. Ask former employers about the nanny's strengths and weaknesses and why they're no longer using her. It's important to know how this person has and hasn't worked out for other families.

If you're still contemplating, ask your favorite contenders to come to your home one at a time for a few days' trial run. Pay each for their time and observe how they interact with your child. Try leaving for a short period of time to give your child minimal time alone and gage their reaction when you come back. This will not only help reassure your child but you as well.

Here are some sample questions you can ask when interviewing caregivers:

- How long have you been a nanny?

- How old were the other children you cared for?

- Do you have any formal early childhood development or childcare training?

- Do you have emergency training? CPR/First Aid?

- If not, would you be willing to take CPR classes and first-aid training?

- What would you do if my child was sick or had an accident?

- Would you mind if I ran a background check on you?

- Describe your discipline technique?

- What has been your biggest challenge on the job?

- What is your favorite thing about being a caregiver?

- Describe your ideal family/employer.

- What are some of the rules you've followed in other households that you think worked well?

- Would you be willing to follow my rules and disciplining/comforting strategies even if they're different from yours?

- What type of activities do you like to do with children?

- If I'm working in the house, will you be able to keep my child happily occupied without involving me?

- Do you have future plans (school, job, marriage, etc.) that would put a limit on how long you expect to be a nanny?

- Do you have a well-functioning car, with appropriate safety belts and room for car seats?

- Are you willing to do light chores while our baby is sleeping? Which ones?

- When would you be able to start working?

- Would you be available to work evenings or weekends?

- Would you be available to travel with our family for weekends/vacations?

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us via email at, or call us at (818) 380-3111

For more information about A Mother's Haven feel free to check out our website. You can also follow us on facebook and twitter!

Visit us at:
16101 Ventura Blvd. Suite 230
Encino, CA. 91436
p. (818) 380-3111 w.


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