How Stereotypes May Cause You to Miss Out on a Great Nanny

Choosing the right nanny for your family is a very personal process. There are lots of factors to consider, such as the nanny’s education, experience and caregiving philosophy, along with how she connects with your family. Your ideas about nannies in general also come into play.  Many nanny employers have ideas about certain types of nannies based on their own experiences with previous caregivers or stories they’ve heard from friends and colleagues. Sometimes this type casting turns out to be true. Most often, though, it turns out to be false, and it can end up keeping you from considering a nanny that may be a wonderful match to your family. When choosing your next nanny, make sure you don’t fall victim to these stereotypes.

Young nannies are immature and can’t be counted on to stay in a job for the agreed upon commitment period. There have been lots of young nannies entering the field in recent years. Many are starting a career after graduating from a vocational high school or a community college childcare program, or are moving into nanny care after losing a daycare or preschool job due to the economic downturn. This is a different breed of young nanny than our industry has seen in the past. They often have a solid foundation of childcare education, a lot of hands-on experience and a clear understanding of what working with children on a daily basis means. Although they’re young, they’ve thought through their choices and want a long term job just as much as families want a long term nanny. When choosing nannies to interview, you should take a serious look at any young candidates that have applied for the position. You might find several that bring the maturity and commitment you’re looking for.

Older nannies can’t keep up with my child. Senior nannies are another growing group within nanny care. These nannies are sometimes called Granny Nannies and are often seen as a grandmother figure for the child. In this day and age when so many families have no extended family close by, this can be a comforting view of a nanny. Unfortunately it also invokes the image of an elderly woman sitting in a rocking chair or teetering around the house. Most of today’s senior nannies don’t fit into that picture at all. Yes, if you peeked in on a senior nanny during the day you might find her in a rocking chair soothing a baby to sleep or reading a book to a child. But it’s just as likely that you’d find her playing tag with an active toddler at the playground or taking a preschooler on a field trip to the firehouse. Older nannies are often full of energy and can easily juggle the demands of a nanny job.

Overweight nannies are couch potatoes. The last thing a parent wants is to hire a nanny that’s going to plop their child down in front of the TV all day. Unfortunately this is the image that comes to mind when many parents think of overweight nannies. Because being overweight is associated with a sedentary lifestyle, it’s hard to imagine an overweight caregiver doing much of anything during the day. In most cases, however, that’s simply not the case. Although an overweight nanny may not be able to run a marathon or take an all day bike trek, chances are she won’t have any problems keeping up with your active toddler at the park, spending the day at the zoo, or playing a game of basketball at the local court. A quality nanny, regardless of how much she weighs, is active and engaged throughout the day.

Career nannies are set in their ways and won’t let me parent my way. Nannies that have extensive experience bring a lot of ideas, approaches and strategies to their jobs. Chances are whatever challenge comes up, an experienced nanny has dealt with something similar before. Although she may have seen the situation previously, an experienced nanny also knows that every situation, every child and every parent is different. She understands that while she can offer tricks of the trade and guidance, she’s ultimately there to follow the parents’ lead. As a nanny, it’s her job to support the parents and help them in whatever ways they find most useful. Hiring a career nanny can give you an on-site expert to answer your questions, offer suggestions, and provide experience based solutions to challenging behaviors, all while fully supporting your parenting choices.

Many times the image we have in our minds of a certain type of person doesn’t line up with what that person’s like in real life. When hiring a nanny, those misconceptions can cause you to pass over fitting candidates. Take the time to get to know prospective nannies that you have reservations about because of a common stereotype. You could be very pleasantly surprised.

How to know whether your caregiver is a good match

Do you ever wonder whether the caregiver you have is the right fit for you and your family? If you have to wonder, odds are she probably is not. When you have the right caregiver it doesn’t take long at all to know it. On the flip side, when you have a poor match, it’s usually even more crystal clear, but often out of politeness, sympathy, desperation, or just wanting to give the relationship time to develop, we can live in a bit of denial, delaying the inevitable and paying the large price of our time, affection, and money in the meantime. If you encounter such a match, try hard to move on…in the end, it will save all parties involved unnecessary stress. 

Remember that the difference between a good match and a poor match is often the difference between complete bliss and pure stress. Bliss is the goal! And frankly, it’s the requirement as we pay our hard earned money for quality care for our families. 

Here are some signs that can indicate whether a caregiver is the right match for you and your family.

Good.  Your caregiver is in sync with your family.  She follows even your most vague instructions well, interpreting them and any implied or obvious needs accurately and wisely.

Poor.  Despite reminders about requirements, your caregiver doesn’t follow the instructions or carries out her own preferred method of doing things.


Good.  Your caregiver is punctual and reliable, and respects your schedule.

Poor.  Your caregiver is occasionally late,  misses work, or has excessive obligations that interference with her caregiving obligations.


Good:  Your caregiver regularly communicates the status of events, activities, issues, and responsibilities as well as any needs or concerns.

Poor: You often wonder the status of daily occurrences and have to draw the information out of the caregiver to find out, leading you to worry about how well your family is being cared for.


Good: You are confident and comfortable leaving your caregiver to perform her responsibilities.

Poor: You are uncomfortable and worry about leaving your caregiver to perform her responsibilities.


Good:  You feel like your caregiver does a stellar job of helping care for your family’s needs.

Poor: For whatever reasons, you feel like your caregiver does a poor job of performing her responsibilities.

You and your family are the gauge for what YOU need and know best whether someone fits WITH YOUR FAMILY or not.

What signs tell you whether your caregiver is a good match or not?

How to do backup care at

School will be back in before you know it, and now’s the time to secure back-up coverage so you’re never stuck without quality care. And with more caregivers than ever looking for work, your search has never been easier.

To find backup care at, follow the same necessary steps as finding standard care, except we recommend accumulating a small pool of people you can call on when needed.  Here are the steps:

  1. Post your job (optional) and search for and interview potential candidates who have indicated they’re available for “occasional/as-needed” and/or “back-up/short-notice” assignments (show advanced search options for this search).  
  2. Screen: Checks references, run a thorough background check, and do trial session(s) on final caregiver(s).
  3. When backup care is needed, call your desired caregiver(s) to request backup care.

Run a quick search today to find nannies, housekeepers, sitters, senior caregivers and more!

Attracting Quality Caregivers

Are there secrets to attracting the best caregivers? Not really. In a nutshell, quality positions attract quality caregivers. To attract, hire, and RETAIN top-notch caregivers, offer a quality position and more importantly COMMUNICATE those offerings! Here are some guidelines for presenting your position:

  • Fringe Benefits.  Identify any large or small perks of your position.  Whether it’s access to use a club membership, extra vacation time, travelling with the family, or even free access to sweet goodies baked by a gourmet family member, make sure your prime candidates know the full scope of the benefits you’re offering.
  • Full picture. It’s fair game (and encouraged) to let a candidate know about your super well-behaved children (or whatever their special characteristics may be), your fair and easy-going family, and whatever other family or home characteristics will help give her a good idea of the overall working environment.
  • Compensation.  Don’t miss the opportunity to present your FULL compensation package. Base wages are a given, but also consider that annual bonuses (if more than a token amount), any mileage reimbursement (if applicable and offered) and even a signing bonus (with contingencies) can help sweeten a pot for someone you think may be in high demand. Also be sure to communicate your schedule for merit reviews and possible wage increases.
  • Accommodations.  If your position is live-in, share as many features of your accommodations as you can think of. These accommodations will be the home of your caregiver, so comfort and conveniences are key. Consider making small investments that can have a large impact (e.g., a flat screen TV, an elegant bed linen set, or luxurious bathroom toiletries and dispensers).
  • Avoid overstating the benefits.  The purpose of finding your ideal caregiver is not to hire her, but to keep her! Overstating the benefits and attractiveness of a position will almost certainly lead to dissatisfaction down the road.  Be as clear about the job responsibilities and expectations as you are about the benefits to the candidate.  Setting the precedent for clearly stating what’s needed is absolutely essential at this stage and will set you on the right track going forward.
  • Riding the fine line.  It’s important that your caregiver be confident that she will be comfortable in a position, but ultimately, it’s the actual care she’ll provide that she must be MOST comfortable with. So balance stating the responsibilities of the position along with the benefits and watch for signs that the responsibilities are equally as attractive to a candidate as the benefits!

Do you have any effective techniques for landing quality caregivers? Feel free to share!

How to transition from a Nanny to a Nanny/Housekeeper

With the economy only slowly recovering, many caregivers are continuing to diversify their services, with many offering additional housekeeping or personal assistant services to help increase their work hours, as well as to make themselves of greater value to families.

As a result, many caregivers are transitioning from a strictly nanny position to more hybrid positions, such as Nanny/Housekeeper. If this is the scenario for you, you or your caregiver may find yourselves in search of the perfect balance of childcare and housekeeping to meets your family’s needs.  Here are some things to keep in mind, if so:

*  Priorities.  Make sure your caregiver is aware of what the priorities are.  If you’re like most families and prefer that your child(ren) have the caregiver’s full attention (when they’re not napping or at school), be very clear about that.  If there are exceptions (e.g., you need a particular task urgently done on a certain day and it would be okay to complete the task while your child is playing), be clear about such exceptions as they occur.

*  A schedule.  What works well for many families is to distribute housekeeping responsibilities throughout the week. So perhaps Mondays are for kitchen and living room, Tuesdays are bathrooms and dining room, etc.  And along with such a schedule, tidying and keeping all common areas of the home neat can be an every day responsibility.

*  Be flexible.  Always understand that in a Nanny/Housekeeper position, since childcare is involved, sometimes there simply will not be time for housekeeping. Make sure your caregiver understands that prioritizing is just as valuable as everything getting done.  Try to build in times/days where you know the caregiver will be able to catch up on housework if needed so she can have the best opportunity to be successful at (and take pride in) her job!

*  Maximize non-childcare time.  When your child(ren) are napping, at school, or for whatever reason don’t need care at given times, make sure it’s clear to the caregiver that she is to maximize that time for housekeeping.

As always, feel free to give us a ring if you have any questions!

Your Team
(877) 466-2664


Effective ways for improving your caregiver’s performance

We all know that having a caring, hard-working, accommodating caregiver makes life bliss. But what do you do when your caregiver, while generally a good performer, needs to kick it up a notch in a certain area?

Here are a few effective tactics you can use to help boost performance:

  1. Communicate.  This is the most obvious and most effective way to initiate an improvement in performance. Sometimes we’re reluctant to communicate concerns with our caregivers because we don’t want to upset them and want to make sure they’re as happy and satisfied as possible since they’re caring for our loved ones and/or home. However, to prevent the situation from worsening and to make sure you’re getting what you need, it’s important to be as direct as possible that you need to see improvement in the desired area. For example, you can let your caregiver know that “while we’re extremely pleased with your care overall, unfortunately, for this position we HAVE to have someone who can be proactive and identify things that need to be done around the house without being told.” This lets them know that the improvement is a condition of employment.
  2. Make it Measurable.  Try to be as specific as possible when discussing any issues. When the area needing improvement is broad (like in the example above), give the caregiver examples to better illustrate the need. Identifying measurables will allow both you and the caregiver to track progress better and is the best way to help your caregiver be more successful.
  3. Follow-up.  When you request improvement in an area, let the caregiver know how you’ll work together to follow-up and measure progress. For example, “Let’s touch base each Friday afternoon when I get home to see how we are both feeling about progress.” Then be sure to make note of any examples of improvement or areas needing improvement so you can give both positive and constructive feedback during your follow-ups. Offer several examples to continue to make the objective more and more MEASURABLE during each follow-up.
  4. Instant feedback.  In addition to follow-ups to measure progress, be sure to give your caregiver instant feedback (or even tokens of appreciation) when they’ve shown improvement in an area. Praise is a great motivator and can go a long way toward consistent, real improvement (and is a critical part of fostering a satisfied caregiver, in general).
  5. Know when to say when. Identify when the issues you’re facing reflect areas which can be improved upon and when they are ones that are indicators of a bad fit. If the latter, you may be faced with the harsh reality that it’s time to move on. Living with a poor performer or a bad fit can sometimes be WORSE than having no care at all. Realize if that’s the case and begin taking steps toward finding a better match for your family. We know moving on is a lot easier said than done, so feel free to let us know if there’s any way we can help!

The Nanny Cam Question: To Cam or Not to Cam?

It’s always a big question. Should we use a nanny cam or not? The answer can be different for different families.

In-home surveillance devices, often referred to as “Nanny Cams” or “Granny Cams” (for seniors being cared for) can be used as a valuable tool for BOTH family and caregiver.

The cameras can either be hidden or out in the open. Most hidden cams are wireless and can come in the form of anything from a clock radio to a stuffed animal or they can be small cameras hidden throughout the household. Prices range anywhere from about $50 for basic functionality to up to $500 for digital systems that offer live video feeds to your mobile device or computer.

So when presented with the nanny cam question, we always recommend that a family do what they are most comfortable doing, but always remind them that if having a nanny cam would make them more comfortable, then they should base their decision on THAT comfort level rather than any discomfort they may face when discussing the issue with potential (or existing) caregivers.

Here are a few things to consider when considering whether or not to use a nanny cam:

  • Age of the child/senior.  If a caregiver will be caring for someone who can not talk or reliably communicate such as very young children, special needs children, or in some cases very elderly seniors, nanny cams can offer valuable confirmation of quality caregiving, help identify any issues or concerns, or just help identify simple adjustments that you may prefer take place.
  • Make it a positive.  The use of a nanny cam can be a positive thing for all involved. Let your caregiver know you’d like to use it so you don’t miss precious milestones, allow the video feeds to be shared with distant grandparents, allow you to “be there” during the day when you can’t physically be there, or whatever scenario applies. You can even solicit the caregiver’s involvement by asking her to showcase milestones into “one of” the cameras in particular (without divulging the location –or existence– of any other cameras if they are hidden). Many caregivers embrace the use of a nanny cam so the family can see how well they do at their job!
  • The cam factor.  Keep in mind that one of the main benefits of having a nanny cam is that the caregiver knows about it. The presence of one adds extra incentive to give the best care possible. It’s presence also adds to the peace of mind of the family, knowing they have that extra pair of “eyes” constantly on duty.
  • Red flags.  If you plan to utilize a nanny cam, be sure to discuss this with potential candidates during the interview process (making sure to be clear that they are never placed in any private areas–e.g., bathrooms). Take note of candidates’ reactions. Discomfort from a candidate can be a red flag. Quality caregivers who have nothing to hide typically have no problems with nanny cams.
  • Legal?  It IS legal in all 50 United States to utilize hidden cameras (video) in the home, so long as they are not in private places [e.g., bathrooms, caregivers' private bedrooms (for live-in), etc.]  It is NOT, however, legal to record audio without a person’s consent in the following states: CA, CT, FL, IL, MD, MA, MT, NV, NH, OR, PA, and WA.  And regardless of the state, it is almost always illegal to record a conversation to which you are not a party, do not have consent to tape, and could not naturally overhear.  In general, we recommend consulting with an attorney before recording audio.
  • Other uses.  Nanny cams are also great for surveilling your home when you’re away on vacation, monitoring your home when it’s being cleaned or repaired, etc.

We’ve heard from many families who have chosen to utilize a cam and many who have not. In a nutshell, families should do what is right for their family and makes them most comfortable.

Do you use a nanny cam? What have you experienced? Share your thoughts! 

Schools Out–You’re Not. Benefits of Seasonal Nannies for Winter Break

With December upon us, things can start to get overwhelming –  holiday parties, Christmas shopping, holiday cooking, planning for special events, traveling and more. While children have the joy of looking forward to their winter break, working parents are faced with another task – finding seasonal childcare. To help kill two birds with one stone, savvy families are hiring full-time, seasonal Nannies.


Seasonal nannies are caregivers who take on short term positions for the holiday season. They can be college students or teachers who are looking to earn some money over their

winter break, or currently unemployed nannies that are happy to take on a short term assignment while they continue to look for something more long term. Either way, seasonal nannies can help alleviate many of the holiday stresses for parents. Not only do they offer a solution to childcare, but they can easily take on extra tasks like running errands, assisting with holiday shopping, helping prep or cook holiday meals, and more. Additionally, seasonal nannies often offer evening or off-hour babysitting, allowing parents to attend holiday parties, get some holiday shopping done, or just taking a much needed night off.

Post your Seasonal Nanny Job on
GoNannies has thousands of nannies from which to choose. To find a great nanny, be sure to post your job right away before the good nannies are all booked up. And remember, paid GoNannies members have free access to background checks and online references to help make your screening easier. Run a free SEARCH NOW to view the profiles of Nannies near you!

Do you have other great suggestions for families looking for temporary care? Please share 


How to Find Holiday Sitters

We all get busier around the holidays, which is why the demand for babysitters is the highest around this time of year. Whether you’ll be attending holiday parties, need some extra time for holiday shopping or holiday cooking, or a much needed night out with your spouse, be sure to read our tips for finding a great sitter for the holidays.


  • Start Early!!!
    Parents have already begun securing sitters for the holidays. In fact, most GoNannies families book their New Year’s Eve sitter over a month in advance! If you need a sitter, be sure to get started right away before the good sitters are all booked up.
  • Offer a Competitive Salary
    With sitters in high demand, make sure you’re offering a competitive salary. The average rate for a sitter is about $10-13/hour (sometimes higher in larger cities and for sitters with more experience). However, for nights like New Year’s Eve, which is the most difficult night of the year to find a sitter, families are sometimes willing to pay between $5-10/hour more than the average rate.
  • Post Your Babysitting Job on
    GoNannies has thousands of sitters to choose from. To find a great sitter, be sure to post your job right away. Also, be sure to list all the details about your position, including the dates and times you need a sitter, whether overnight stay is required, etc. And remember, paid GoNannies members have free access to background checks and online references to help make your screening easier! Run a free
    SEARCH NOW to view the profiles of sitters near you.

Do you find it tougher to find a sitter over the holidays? Share your experiences. 

New Hire Checklist – Don’t Miss a Step!

You’ve found your ideal caregiver.  Now what???  Here’s an easy-to-follow hiring checklist so you can be sure not to miss a beat. 


  • Screening Done?    Be sure you’ve performed ALL our recommended screening steps.  These screening steps are the most important factors in making a successful hire!

  • Payroll & Taxes?    Inquire about payroll and taxes and find ways to save both time and money.  Services include tax filing, direct deposit, and more.

  • Required forms?    Be sure you and your new caregiver complete the required hiring forms, including the Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9) and the Form W-4.

  • Employment Agreement   GoNannies recommends having your new caregiver sign an Employment Agreement to minimize the potential for any misunderstandings now or in the future.

  • Training    Invest some time training.  While there’s much that an experienced caregiver will already know, there are always new aspects to any new position and the caregiver deserves some direction that will help them get started on the right foot.

  • Post-hire Screening    Don’t forget that screening should still take place AFTER the hire. Drop in unannounced, consider a mutually beneficial nanny-cam, communicate and evaluate regularly!  Call us to learn more.

Happy Hiring!