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Hiring a Nanny: Top 5 steps to take

Laura Willard is a law school grad who has successfully avoided using her education for eight years and counting. She's a wife and an adoptive mom to two kids. Motherhood is the best job she never knew she wanted so much until she had it...

Homework before hiring a nanny

You’ve determined you need a nanny, you’ve found a great candidate and you’re ready to hire her. Stop! Before you officially hire a new nanny, make sure you’ve done these five things so that you -- and your new nanny -- can feel confident about the situation.

Homework before hiring a nanny

Sometimes you meet someone and your personalities mesh. Perhaps this happened when you were interviewing nannies. You just know that you found the right person. And while you probably did find the perfect nanny for your family, Candi Wingate, president of, cautions you against hiring her before you take the following five steps.

1Run a background check

It's almost entirely likely that your new nanny is telling the truth when she says she does not have a criminal record. Nonetheless, you're trusting her with your children and that calls for more than just good intuition. Plus, background checks are standard for most jobs. Many nanny agencies will run a background check for you, but if they don't, make sure do.

2Obtain her driving record

If your nanny will drive your kids, make sure you get a copy of her motor vehicle record for each state in which she has had a license. Nobody's perfect -- let's be honest, we've all gone a few miles over the speed limit -- and you have to determine what you're comfortable with as far as driving infractions. However, if she has multiple speeding tickets within a short period of time, or more than one at-fault accident, perhaps this isn't the person you want behind the wheel of a vehicle carrying our children.

>> Get more info on checking your nanny's driving record

3Call references

Calling references is a waste of time, right? Nobody would use a reference that can't give a good review! Actually, you'd be surprised. Wingate insists that it's extremely important to always call references and ask them about their experience with your nanny candidate. She also recommends asking for landline numbers instead of cell phone numbers, as this allows you to independently verify the validity of the reference.

>> Get tips on how to find a perfect caregiver for your child

4Draw up a contract

Creating a contract for your nanny is a must. "Sit down with your nanny and discuss it. Be sure to include anything pertaining to the job so that she understands what is expected of her," Wingate explains. "Lay out each of her responsibilities, the pay day, whether she will be using your car, keeping track of mileage if she uses her own car, etc." By addressing all of your expectations and the details of the job up front, you will avoid misunderstandings and frustration in the future.

5Make sure you nanny has met your children

This seems obvious, but some parents skip this step. If you interview nannies without your children present, make sure you schedule time for her to interact with your kids. You might have found a wonderful nanny candidate, but it's possible her personality and your child's personality won't mesh.

"Some families will have the nanny come over and spend several hours with the kids -- maybe a couple while one or both parents are home and a few while they run an errand," says Wingate. After all, no matter how much you like her, if your children don't mesh well with your new nanny, the situation won't work.

>> Do you have any must-do tips for your fellow moms before they officially hire a nanny? Please share them in the comments section below.

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