Finding and Keeping A Great Nanny

The task of finding and keeping a great Nanny is not an easy one. You are entrusting this person every day with not only the care and safety of your children, but also welcoming them into your home and your extended family. This person will be privvy to the workings of your household, witness any family drama and will share special occasions and moments that you may not be able to attend due to work commitments, all whilst washing your delicates and bathing your dog! (if required). So how do you find this angel? The Australian Nanny Agency has years of experience in placing the perfect candidates with their dream-fit families and have all the advice you need to find and keep a great Nanny

Know What You’re Looking For

Have a solid idea of your perfect candidate and type out an appropriate job description, outlining the role and its responsibilities. If you need a candidate that can cater to a unique family situation, special needs or an unusual roster, don’t be afraid to outline your requirements. Having an outline on paper will assist you in deciding what type of Nanny your family needs before you start looking.

Be Honest and Open From The Beginning

Most Nanny/Employer relationships go sour when expectations and special considerations are not disclosed at the initial interview.  Some issues to contemplate discussing include:

·         Long term or short term role
·         Salary, hours of work, leave entitlements
·         Other duties required outside the scope of general Nanny duties, such as general housework, pet care, driving, tutoring, social events and participation in child/rens activities
·         Expectations - separate from duties, these are issues such as behaviour management, parenting styles, religious acknowledgements, social behaviours, manners etc. These are what you expect from your Nanny on a more personal level - unique to your family.
·         Foreseeable dramas/issues
·         Parenting style and methods - crucial for continuity and routine for children.
·         Important Family Values - include things such as culture, backgrounds, values, foods that you like to eat, that you don't eat, whether you let your pet be part of the family, whether you like the beach or the park. Make clear what is important to you. 
Know Your Rights and Obligations

When you engage a Nanny, you are an Employer and have legal rights and obligations to uphold. Not only do you have to ensure they are being paid correctly, with superannuation benefits and insurance coverage, you need to ensure tax is paid to the Australian Tax Office, as well as holidays and sick days accrued and issued. Working conditions and break times need to be recognised, as well as suitable accommodation provided (for live-in roles) and a safe and insured vehicle provided (if required).

Know Their Rights and Obligations

Just like any employee, your Nanny will have rights but will also have an obligation to uphold the conditions outlined in their contract and to provide a safe and caring environment for your child. They are required to ensure all their clearances and necessary permits or visas are current and hold an obligation to fulfill all responsibilities set out in their contract, which are usually, but not limited to:

      Baby care - feeding, nappies, bathing
      Supervising and managing children’s wardrobe for activities, school, sports etc
      Washing and ironing children's clothes
      Planning and preparing meals for children
      Cleaning and washing up after children's meals
      Shopping for children's requirements
      Scheduling and coordinating children's activities
      Transporting children to school and other activities
      Planning, participating in and supervising appropriate creative, educational and outdoor activities with the children
      Assisting with homework
      Tidying children's bedrooms and play areas
      reinforcing appropriate discipline and implementing daily routines for the children
      Doing required and agreed upon housework duties and errands
Conduct A Thorough Background and Reference Check

Many services are available online to conduct checks on your potential Nanny. If you are hiring through an agency, a reputable recruiter will carry out these checks for you and provide the record on request. If your Nanny will be driving your children (in your own car or their vehicle), be sure to obtain as lengthy a driving history as possible.

References are a valuable insight into the Nanny in a true working environment and are very rarely bias or dishonest when it comes to caring for children. Other families will be able to provide the more personal aspect to a reference, such as how the Nanny interacted with other family members or the special qualities they have that can soothe separation anxiety. Obtain as many references you can to build a true picture of the Nanny in action.

Trial Period

A trial period is beneficial in any work environment, and when you are employing someone to come into your home and personal space, allowing time to settle and see if it is the right fit is essential. Most families will find that the children (and adults) will all be excited with the new guest and be on their best behaviour at first, but the dust will settle quickly and you will be able to learn a lot about your Nanny’s versatility and flexibility, their ‘parenting’ style and their personality in the meantime.

Be sure to conduct the trial/s during the days of the week and times of day when you want your Nanny to work. Should you wish your Nanny to only work during the week, don't try to simulate a weekday job during weekend hours as the atmosphere and routine is very different. Likewise if it is a weekend role, you require your Nanny on a rotating roster or a bit of both, simply request a trial on both a weekday and a weekend day.

Create Boundaries

Although this Nanny could seem like your new guardian angel, they are still your employee. As close as your Nanny gets to your family, your children, your pets or your mother-in-law, it's up to you to set the boundaries required between employer and employee. Granted this working relationship is one of the closest in the world (you are sharing the parenting role of your children, after all), clear boundaries need to be set and enforced from the commencement of the contract to avoid conflict and undesirable behaviours.


Communication is key between parents and is vital between a parent and the person they trust with the care of their child/ren. The proven way to facilitate healthy communication in busy households between parents and Nannies is the daily debrief system. Take time at the beginning and the end of each day to debrief with the Nanny and if this isn't possible, introduce a diary system, which allows the nanny to record the events of the day including appointments, meals, social outings, sleep times and medications as well as the child's developmental achievements and anything of significance that happened throughout the day.You could also consider a weekly review which involves an informal discussion allowing both parents and the Nanny to give and receive feedback, share some funny moments and discuss the plan for the following week.

Like all staff, Nannies thrive on appreciation and recognition - this is not an easy profession! Provide positive feedback and praise for a job well done; conversely, if you are unhappy in any way with the Nanny's performance, discuss this immediately. Festering problems only cause tension and underlying conflict, which does not make for a happy home.

Considering hiring a Nanny? The Australian Nanny Agency is Australia’s leading recruiter of Australian temporary, full time and travel nannies, nurses, maternity nurses, governesses, personal assistants and household staff. With an extensive database of highly qualified, experienced candidates, we assist families world-wide in finding the perfect Nanny and are bound to have the right candidate for your unique needs. 


Fees and T&C

At the Australian Nanny Agency, we are really strict with our policies. To know more about the fees as well as with the terms and conditions, please feel free to visit our fees + t&c page.
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