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When is the Best Time to Look for a Nanny: Tips and Advice

Updated: Jun 28

Nanny building tower with young girl

Are you considering hiring a nanny and wondering how long the process might take? Is there a best or 'right' time to look for a nanny? How long it takes to find the perfect nanny for your family might depend on your circumstances. In all cases, we recommend you allow a minimum of 6-8 weeks to complete the process, but we can also find excellent nannies who may be available for an immediate start if your request is urgent.

If you're a family looking for a nanny for your child or children, here are some tips you might find helpful during your search.

Are specific times in the year 'better' for hiring a nanny?

Nannies are available all year round as they may leave existing jobs for various reasons. For example, the family may be relocating, or the nanny could be moving and decide to give notice to the employer.

However, there might be seasonal times when placements tend to come to an end naturally, and more nannies become readily available. Often, these periods coincide with children starting nursery or school. The summer months (June through September-October) can be a popular time for nannies to look for new jobs. Some children also start nursery after the Christmas or Easter holidays, so January and March-April can also be times when more nannies are looking for new families.

How long does it take to find the perfect nanny?

Depending on your circumstances, you might need more or less time to look for a nanny, so you must start the process early enough. Here are a few scenarios we regularly come across.

You're having a baby and are looking for a maternity nanny or night nanny

If you're having a baby and are looking for a maternity nanny or night nanny (also known as a maternity nurse or nanny nurse), we recommend you start as early as possible.

Maternity nannies focus on new-born care and offer essential support and assistance to new parents during the postpartum phase. They provide round-the-clock new-born care, guidance on feeding, sleep, and even emotional support.

A night nanny or night nurse offers overnight care and support for new-borns and infants, allowing parents to get much-needed rest and sleep during the night. They assist with feeding, soothing, and maintaining a healthy sleep routine for the baby, ensuring their well-being, and providing peace of mind for parents.

If you're looking for a maternity or night nanny, we recommend you start the search as early as possible as these types of nannies are highly qualified and sought-after, so they tend to be booked up quickly. Most parents start looking as soon as they find out they're pregnant!

You can read more about the topic of maternity nannies or night nannies in the blog posts:

You're going back to work after maternity leave

If you're returning to work after maternity leave and are looking for a nanny, we recommend you start your search 2-3 months in advance. This is to take into account that some of the nannies you might be interested in hiring could be working elsewhere at the moment, and they will typically have a notice period of 4-6 weeks. With that in mind, starting your search approximately 8 weeks in advance could be sufficient.

You have a nanny, but you're looking for a new one

We also work with families who may already have a nanny but either want some additional help or find that things aren't working out with their current nanny. If you're desperately looking for a new nanny because you've had a change of circumstances, there are always going to be excellent nannies who are looking to find a new position immediately. In these situations, we're always able to find someone quickly and support our clients, even within short timeframes.

Nanny smiling with baby girl and toys

Why does the process of looking for a nanny take 6-8 weeks?

Let's break down our process and discuss timelines in more detail.

1. Conducting an in-depth initial consultation

When you first contact us asking for help to look for a nanny, we typically carry out an initial consultation on Zoom (or in person if preferred). This will last approximately one hour, but we are flexible and accommodating with the timing, depending on your availability. During the consultation, we ask objective questions to determine what type of nanny would work best for you.

For example, we talk about:

  • Preferred nanny schedule and duties, including household tasks (i.e. cooking and laundry for the child, etc.) and admin assistance (answering emails from the nursery, etc.) When (days and times) would you like the nanny to work, etc.?

  • Children's routines, preferences, and any special needs or allergies. What are the children's likes and dislikes? What interests them? Or what are their characters and personalities like? Do you follow a strict routine or are you more child-led? What does the daily routine look like and what activities or classes does your child attend? Do you need a proactive nanny to suggest suitable classes based on your baby’s interests?

  • Parenting style and expectations for nurturing and care. Would you like a gentler approach to parenting where the nanny holds your baby until they fall asleep, so they don't cry for longer periods? Perhaps you want the nanny to take the lead, based on her professional experience and training, and are open to learning from her? Do you need a nanny with specific qualifications such as Montessori or CACHE level 3?

  • Family interests, values, and traits sought in a nanny. What's important to you? How do you enjoy spending your time? What type of person do you want your nanny to be? For example, are you cultured and educationally focused and want a nanny who shares the same interests? Or maybe you're looking for the opposite, such as a more outdoorsy nanny to balance out activities with your child. Do you speak other languages at home and need a nanny who can promote this and ensure your child is bilingual?

  • Feedback from previous nanny experiences. Did you work with a nanny before? What did you like and what worked well? Or what could have been improved or done differently?

Getting the full picture

As you can see, during the initial consultation, we gather a lot of information. This is so we can get a clear picture of what type of nanny you're looking for.

Further details we might discuss include:

  • Workspace considerations for parents working from home. Will the nanny have a designated space? How will the routines work?

  • Sleeping arrangements for a live-in nanny. Will they have their own bedroom or share a bathroom with your child? Is it on the same floor as the family or separate?

  • Handling visits from family members or working with other household staff (such as a cleaner or housekeeper), if applicable.

  • Involvement with pets. Do you have any pets? Is the nanny expected to walk the dog while your child is at nursery, for example?

  • Babysitting needs (how often and how will it be paid?) and additional educational support if needed, such as help with homework or exam preparation, for example.

  • Travel plans with the nanny including payment and logistics. Do you plan on travelling with your nanny? If so, how often? Will the nanny have to be able to swim, etc.?

  • Driving needs and transportation arrangements to get to and from nursery or school.

  • Salary discussions and market rates.

  • Interview preferences - video or in-person arrangements. We can advise on what questions to ask and how to arrange a trial with your nanny.

  • Do you have any additional requirements as a family?

Nanny and computer with young boy in playroom

2. Looking for the perfect nanny for your family

By the time we start looking for the perfect nanny for you, we have a lot of useful information. While this allows us to narrow down the search to candidates who meet your requirements, finding the nanny that ticks all the boxes can take time. How long this part of the process will take depends on how easy your requirements are to fill. If several nannies are interested in the role, we can move quickly. But if your requirements are more specific and harder to fulfil, finding the right person might take longer.

In a nutshell, here's how we conduct our search:

  • After clarifying your wishes and needs, we advertise the role on different platforms so that nannies can apply for the job. If we're familiar with the nanny already (because we've interviewed her or placed her in the past), we can move quickly. If the nanny is interested in the role, and she's a good match for you, we'll put her forward as a potential candidate for you to interview. With new candidates, the process can take longer as we first have a pre-screening call to determine whether we want to invite the nanny for an interview with us. If so, we take them through a thorough one-hour interview on Zoom to decide whether they're suitable for the role. We also need to speak to their previous employers to ensure she has outstanding references and whether she will be a good fit for your family.

  • The next step is for you - the family - to interview the nanny. How and when this is done will depend on your availability. Some parents work during the week and can only meet nannies on weekends. If that's the case, it can take some time to interview the 2-3 candidates we shortlist for you.

  • Once you're happy with one or two candidates, we recommend you arrange a trial with the nanny.

All in all, this part of the process can take several weeks. And we always recommend you meet a few candidates before placing an offer.

3. Hiring your nanny and beyond

If you decide you want to make an offer to a nanny, we start talking about the different aspects of the contract. We'll advise you on what needs to be included and help you create a draft contract. Through this process, you can agree with the nanny on the various conditions you want to include.

We'll also refer you to our payroll provider Nanny Tax (unless you have your own), which you'll be working with directly.

Our role doesn't stop there though. We also give both you and the nanny our full support throughout the placement. We check in regularly (especially at the beginning) to make sure everything is going well or to help iron out any teething problems. Our support can be the determining factor in the success or failure of the professional relationship. So, we aim to be as supportive as we can.

Families often come to us when going through a change of circumstances. For example, if you're having another child, or your child starts nursery or school soon, you might have specific questions. Or perhaps you want to review the nanny's salary a year down the line, and we can advise on that.

If you want more information about the process, head over to the blog post: Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Nanny in London with Homebodies.

Nanny reading on carpet with two boys

Would you like Homebodies to help you find the perfect nanny for your family?

Looking for the perfect nanny to care for your child is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration. Whether you're expecting a new-born, returning to work after maternity leave, or seeking to replace your current nanny, finding the right match for your family can take time. We pride ourselves on guiding you through a comprehensive 6-8-week process tailored to your specific needs and preferences.

If you're ready to embark on this transformative journey of finding the ideal nanny to support and nurture your child, contact us today to see how we can help.

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