Nanny / Au Pair

By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.

Hiring a private nanny for your child can be extremely beneficial to your child's development. However, this option is rather expensive. Besides, due care has to be taken by the parent to ensure that the best nannsy is hired for the child. There have been many tragic cases of negligence caused by nannies in America.

The process of finding the right nanny requires immense patience and resourcefulness on part of the parent. A simple ad in the local newspaper should be good enough to generate a huge number of responses from prospective nannies. Other ways to find a nanny is by placing ads in the school newsletters and bulletin boards, local shops, and even through the Internet. Nanny training programs as well as Nanny Placement Agencies can also be a good source.

Whatever method you choose, you are bound to be inundated with applications. You should take care that you sort out the best ones through the huge pile and list a few that best serve your criteria. To do this you need to sort out your priorities. Make a list of the top 5 priorities and mark each nanny on how well they meet each of these priorities.

Once you have your final list, set up an interview with all the nannies. While interviewing you should ensure that the nanny has enough credentials for the job. Cross check references - this is crucial. Ask specific questions about their work experience and childrearing philosophies as well as personal habits and background. One mistake most parents make is not to include their child during the interview. This is important and can serve as a great indicator. See how the nanny interacts with your child.

As stated earlier, hiring a nanny can be rather expensive. Depending on where you live you may pay a nanny between $300 and $700 a week, plus health insurance. However, you may not choose to provide this added benefit. In such cases, the nanny may choose her own plan and you may pay for part of the premium.

Signs of a good Nanny

It is highly recommended that after hiring a nanny you observe her for a few days while your home. This may be difficult for most parents, but remember, you wouldn't want to leave your child with a complete stranger without ensuring that it's okay to do so! You have hired a good nanny if:

  • Your child lights up at the sight of her
  • She always has creative solutions to everyday nuances and is committed to the development of your child
  • She always arrives on time
  • Your child keeps talking about the nanny even when she is gone
  • She keeps you updated with your child's daily activities
  • Your child is clean and so is his / her room
  • Accidents rarely occur

Au Pairs

Au Pairs are young foreign females generally between the ages 18 to 28 who take care of your child in lieu of accommodation in your house, food, and a weekly stipend. This could be anywhere from $100 to $150. Au Pairs generally take care of your child at least 6 to 8 hours every day and expect to take the weekends off.

The best way to look for Au Pairs is through organizations. The most popular Au Pair organization is the "Au Pair in America" ( The program fee is $4,200 plus an application fee of $300, which is the same regardless of the number of children.

Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center,