How to choose a nanny | My Super Nanny

This person is going to be looking after your children, let’s make sure they’re up to the task and not (too) crazy.

Step 1. Shortlist your candidates

Our search engine will match you with a list of potential candidates. Take the time to go through each profile and condense your list down to your favourites. Maybe they can cook spaghetti-o’s with their eyes closed, they’re pros at hide ‘n’ seek, or they know all the lyrics to the Frozen Soundtrack.  Also look for non-negotiables and bonus extras like certificates, background checks and licenses.

Step 2. The interview

Whether it’s over the phone or in person; talking directly to your candidates is the quickest and easiest way to decide if they are right for your family.

Be sure to ask them every question you planned as well as any others that may arise along the way, like what their action plan is if someone swallows Lego, or who their favourite Madagascar character is.

It’s also important to include your kids in the interview process. After all, they’ll be the ones stuck with a nanny they potentially don’t like to torture.

Start by introducing the candidate to your kid/kids. After they start chatting you can politely suggest your child shows them their room or maybe their soccer skills. You don’t need to suddenly transform into a spy, but use your parenting ninja skills to keep an eye on how they interact when you’re not around.

Step 3. Check references 

Once your potential nanny has left, you can now check references.  If you haven’t checked references before it’s quite a simple process, unlike trying to figure out what colour foods your kid is eating this week.

The first thing you’ll want to do is introduce yourself and tell the reference why you are calling – don’t forget to say that the babysitter referred you.

“Hi, this is (your name). I’m calling because (candidate’s name from MSN) listed you as a nanny reference, and I was wondering if now was a good time to ask you a few questions about their personality and performance.” 

In very rare cases, the reference may not seem to feel comfortable speaking to you. They may not have agreed to be a reference in some cases and might be a bit surprised. Note to self: this is not a great sign.

If you’d like to give the sitter the benefit of the doubt, continue on with another reference they’ve provided you. Otherwise, cross them off your potential candidates list.

Next step: chat.

The questions below are merely suggestions:


  • How well do you know he/she?
  • In what capacity did they work for you?
  • How long did they work for you?
  • How would you describe them?
  • What are their best qualities?
  • What are their worst qualities?
  • Did your kids like them?
  • Were they happy to see your kids?
  • Did they have a set routine/schedule for your kids?
  • Did they drive your kids places?
  • Are they flexible with time?
  • Are they mature?
  • Are they patient?
  • Are they timely?
  • Are they energetic?
  • Can you give me an example of their quick thinking in an emergency situation?
  • Did they ever do an overnight job for you?
  • How well did they complete tasks you gave them?
  • How much supervision did they need?
  • Did they need much direction?
  • Did they clean up after them self?
  • Were there any areas they could have improved in?
  • Would you hire them again?
  • Why did you stop working together?
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • Can I contact you again if I have any more questions?

At the end of the day, use your judgment when it comes to calling and trusting referees as your gut feeling is usually right.

Repeat this process with all the candidates on your shortlist.

Step 4. Choose your Super Nanny.

By now you should have a good feeling about who is right. Once you have made your decision and are completely happy with it – phone the lucky Nanny and let them know.

It is also polite to notify the unsuccessful candidates.

So you’ve found a Nanny – what now? – Introducing your Nanny to your household...

Nanny meet house, house meet Nanny.

You’ve found a nanny. Hurray! Now it’s time to introduce them to your home. Every family and house has its different nuances. Here’s a few tips to make sure your new nanny feels welcome and comfortable in your home.

Note: cake, balloons, bunting, and a marching band are lovely but unnecessary. Except for the cake. Cake is always necessary. 

The grand tour.

When your nanny arrives offer them a quick tour of the house. There’s nothing worse than looking for the bathroom and walking into a cupboard that explodes with board games and retired toys.

Remember to explain any:

  • Heating or cooling systems. They may seem simple to you but very confusing to an outsider.
  • Alarms. You want to scare away intruders, not your nanny.
  • Electronics. Which of these ten remotes turns on the t.v.?
  • The Kitchen. Point out the basics, like where you keep your tea and coffee, which dish cloth is for the dogs bowl, and how the microwave works – or doesn’t.

The bed time battle.

Don’t let your nanny go into the bedtime battle blind; explain your kids’ usual night time routine. Include bed times, location of pajamas, bedtime books, favourite toys, and any other arsenal they may need to get your little one off to slumber land. 

Set boundaries.

Let your nanny know what is and isn’t allowed i.e. “You can use the internet but please don’t download the whole season of Orange Is The New Black”.

Feed your nanny.

A nanny has to eat. As do your kids. Give the nanny a tour of the kitchen and let them know what snacks they are welcome to devour. Make sure snacks for the little ones are set out, as often kids can have the habit of taking advantage of a new nanny’s naivety. This has been known to result in entire ice cream tubs being empty by the time parent’s return.  

Phone numbers.

You should leave a list of relevant phone numbers your nanny can contact you on if necessary, like mobile numbers or the name of the place you’re going.  Also include a list of emergency contacts if the unlikely occurrence arises and you are unavailable.

Sick kids?

We advise against leaving sick kids with a nanny if possible. We find mum and dad are the best equipped to rub sick tummies, wipe snotty noses and cuddle away icky germs. However, at times this may be unavoidable. Out of courtesy, inform the nanny as early as possible of the situation, and make sure you have the house well equipped with everything the nanny will need to alleviate their sickness. For things like asthma, allergies, bumps and bruises, make sure you show your nanny where to find what they need, when they need it and who needs it.

Cancellations/change of plans?

Let the nanny know as soon as possible if there are any changes to the night, particularly if you wish to cancel their booking. Think about how you would feel if they cancelled on you.

Don’t wait up. Or do.

Going out for a child-free night on the town? Before you throw away your inhibitions (or throw too many drinks back) advise your nanny of what time they can expect you home. Sometimes a set time can’t be given, if so – advise an approximate time. If you are going to be late - call or text the nanny to make sure this won’t be a problem in case they need to be somewhere at the crack of dawn.

Pay up.

You should discuss and agree on rates before booking your nanny. That way when the time comes to pay, there won’t be any awkward battering situations. It’s also important to make sure you have enough cash before you get home; an unpaid nanny is a cranky nanny and even a Super Nanny is unlikely to have an Eftpos machine in their purse.

Thank-you and goodbye.

When the time comes for your nanny to go home, ask how the shift went and answer any queries they may have. At night, if their car/transport is far away, offer to walk them there for safety as a courtesy.

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