top of page
  • simone620

How to Choose the Perfect Nanny for Your Family

Updated: Jun 28

Nanny feeding young boy sat on green hairchair

How do you choose the perfect nanny for your family? Hiring the right nanny for you can make a world of difference in your daily routine and the well-being of your children. Knowing where to start can feel overwhelming with so many different types of nannies available. If this is your first time looking for a nanny (or for a different kind of nanny), you may have questions about what to look for. How will you determine whether a prospective nanny is qualified, experienced, and a good fit for you?

In this blog post, we help you break down the process of understanding your family's unique needs and preferences and answer some of the key questions families have about the nanny hire process.

Understanding your requirements upfront

When you hire Homebodies as your nanny agency, we help you look at the bigger picture and discover your requirements before we even start looking for a nanny. When you start working with us, we schedule an introductory meeting (either on Zoom or in person) at a time that suits you best. The purpose of this consultation is to explore your preferences and needs.

For example, we discuss:

  • Expectations regarding the nanny's schedule and responsibilities.

  • Your children's habits, likes, and any specific care requirements.

  • Your parenting approach, your preferred nurturing methods, and the qualities you seek in a nanny. We do this while ensuring your family's values and interests are taken into account.

  • Also, what are your needs and plans over the next 2-4 years? Do you have an idea of what you want to happen when your child goes to school? Are you planning to expand your family at some point in the future?

These types of practical, meaningful questions help us decide what type of nanny might be a better fit for you. This is not only about the duties you may want the nanny to perform but also about finding someone with the right qualifications, training, experience, and even personality and childcare style.

Deciding on the type of nanny that's right for you

Not all nannies are the same! As your children get older (and your family grows) your circumstances might also change. There's a good chance you might need different types of nannies for different stages of your family and your children’s lives.

Here are some of the types of nannies we place with our families:

  • Live-in nannies. They provide childcare and live in the family's home, usually with their own private living space.

  • Live-out nannies. They provide childcare during specified hours but do not live with the family. For more information, you can read the blog post Do You Need a Live-in or a Live-out Nanny? What's Right for Your Family?

  • Night nurses/nannies or maternity nurses/nannies. They specialise in providing overnight or 24-hour care for newborn babies. You can find more information in the blog post The Homebodies Maternity Nanny Package Explained.

  • Rota nannies. Rota nannies work on a rotational schedule, typically alternating blocks of time on and off duty with another nanny 24/7. This allows for continuous care and provides both the nanny and the family with consistent breaks.

  • Nanny housekeeper. This type of nanny combines childcare with light housekeeping duties to help maintain a clean and organised home while caring for the children. They can be live-out or live-in.

  • Nanny governess. They are responsible for the education and care of children in addition to their basic daily needs. A nanny governess will typically have a background in teaching or childcare education and is hired to provide a structured and educational environment for the children in her care.

  • Nanny PA (personal assistant). A nanny PA also assists with household management tasks and administrative duties for the family. In addition to caring for the children, she may also schedule appointments, organise the family's calendar, run errands, and manage household finances and other administrative tasks as needed.

Fully discovering your requirements for the perfect nanny

Additional requirements may also come into the picture. For example:

  • Do you need a nanny who will travel with your family and provide childcare and support away from home?

  • Would you prefer a younger/older nanny for any particular reasons?

  • Does your nanny need to speak a particular language?

  • Are you developmentally focused and want someone who is an educator? Would you like a nanny with specific training or qualifications? Perhaps you're interested in a nanny trained in the Montessori method?

  • What is your parenting style? Do you follow a holistic, child-led, gentle approach or are you more routined, structured, and disciplined? Do you let your baby cry (when sleep training, for example), or will you always comfort your baby and don’t believe in this approach?

Fully understanding your needs and requirements upfront allows us to shortlist 2 to 3 candidates who are most likely to be a great fit for your family.

Nanny holding baby boy playing with an orange toy ball

What to look for when it comes to experience and qualifications?

Experience and qualifications are essential when looking for a nanny. An experienced nanny will better understand child development, safety protocols, and problem-solving skills - making her equipped to handle any situation that may arise at home. Many nannies have qualifications such as CACHE-level, NVQ, Montessori, Norland, Chiltern, or teaching qualifications from their country of origin. Knowledge and CPR and Paediatric First Aid may also be a must for you.

Ultimately, hiring a nanny with the relevant experience and qualifications ensures your children receive the best care possible. This is why at Homebodies we thoroughly screen and assess potential candidates by reviewing their qualifications and experience before presenting them to you. We tend to value experience more than qualifications, and candidates with proven experience and outstanding references from past employers may be considered even if they have fewer qualifications. As a general rule, we prioritise finding professional candidates with at least five years of childcare experience.

You can find out more about our process in the blog post Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Nanny in London with Homebodies.

Do I need to do background checks for my nanny?

On top of checking references, we recommend you ensure your prospective nanny has the following documentation:

  • DBS check. This is a criminal record check that provides information on whether the nanny has any criminal convictions or cautions.

  • Right-to-work check. This ensures that the nanny is legally allowed to work in the UK.

  • Qualification checks. If the nanny claims to have specific qualifications or certifications, these should be verified to ensure they are legitimate and up-to-date.

  • Health check (optional). Some families may require the nanny to undergo a health check to ensure they are physically fit to care for children.

When you're working with us, we can not only request this information from the nanny on your behalf, but we'll also organise for the nanny to have or update her checks.

Do I need to check references for my nanny?

We also verify references directly by contacting old or existing employers. By asking the right questions, we gain a lot of insight into the nanny's personality, style, and ways of working. It will also tell us whether she's used to working in an environment and setup that's similar to yours. This helps us understand whether they might be a good fit for your family.

How to assess the nanny’s approach to childcare

How will you know if the nanny you choose is going to be a good fit for your child or children? A nanny's approach to childcare can be assessed through interviews, reference checks, and trial periods. For example, during the interview, we ask questions about the nanny's childcare philosophy, disciplinary methods, and communication style. We also check references from previous employers to get a sense of their past experiences and how they interact with children. When it comes to your interview with the nanny, we also help you with tips and specific questions you can ask.

Finally, we also recommend running a paid trial before you make your final decision. By allowing the nanny to spend time with your child, you can observe their interactions and assess her overall approach to childcare. Pay attention to how the nanny engages with your child, their energy level, and (if your child is older) whether they share common interests. A trial also allows you to assess how the nanny manages herself and get a feel for her organisational skills.

Nanny holding baby wrapped up and in pink hatby and a toy train on the ground

How to negotiate a salary for your prospective nanny

If you decide to hire one of the candidates we put forward, we will assist in finalising the placement, negotiating the salary offer, and reviewing the contract details. Key elements of a nanny's contract of employment include:

  • Salary.

  • Overtime rates.

  • Probation and notice periods.

  • Holiday and sick pay.

  • Work hours and duties.

  • Travel rates (if required).

When employing a nanny, it's important to understand your obligations as an employer and consult a specialist nanny payroll service to ensure compliance with regulations. This is why we recommend our clients to get in touch with Nanny Tax for their payroll and HR services.

Before you agree on a salary, you also need to consider the difference between net and gross salary. Net salary is the take-home pay after deductions, while gross salary includes deductions such as tax and NI. Nannies should generally be paid a gross salary, except in cases of maternity or night nurses who are self-employed. Generally speaking, paying a gross salary benefits both you (the employer) and the nanny in terms of tax liabilities, stability, and budgeting.

Market rate salaries for nannies can vary based on experience. To give you an idea, live-out nannies could be earning in the region of £20-23 gross per hour. Live-in nannies, on the other hand, typically take home £500-700 net per week. Offering a salary increase (typical increases range from 5-10%) or bonus annually can also help retain a nanny. We can advise on a case-by-case basis as we remain available to both our families and the nannies beyond the point of contract signing.

For more details, head over to the blog post Everything You Need to Know About Working with a Nanny in London.

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

We'd love to help you find the perfect nanny for your family. Our high-end, award-winning nanny agency can guide you through the whole hiring process. Whether you're considering a live-in, live-out, or a specialised nanny, we'll help you make the right choice. Contact us now for an informal chat about how we can help.

If you'd like to receive the Homebodies Guide to Hiring the Perfect Nanny, email us at, and we'll send you a copy.

18 views0 comments


bottom of page