You may have a picture in your head of what a nanny is, but in actuality, the job of a nanny can look wildly different from family to family. Nanny is a broad term that simply means: in-home child care support on a regular basis. That’s it. What’s great about that, is parents like you can tailor your search to find the right person with the right schedule for your family. If you’ve never hired a nanny before, here’s how.

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Step 1: Understand Your Family’s Needs

It may sound obvious, but you can’t find what you need if you don’t know what that is yourself. However, that may be easier said than done—especially if this is your first time looking. Never fear, there’s help!

The Sittercity Planning Assistant

Take this 2-minute quiz to send you down the right path of what kind of child care help you need. We’ve taken the time to think about what questions parents should be asking themselves, and your personalized result will guide you onto the next step in the process.

Make a List

Have each parent spend 5 minutes writing down everything you could possibly need help with about the house and with your children. Compare your lists to see what you’re on the same page about. It’s important for both parents to be involved in the child care search from the beginning.

Step 2: Begin Your Search

Finding the perfect sitter begins with creating a Sittercity job post that attracts the best talent for your family. Here are a few tips to help the job post you write to attract the candidates best for your family:

Offer An Appropriate Rate

It’s important to know what the going rate is for babysitters and nannies in your area. Make sure yours is competitive.

Write a Descriptive Title

Use clear communication from the start. The title is what will stand out when nannies are searching for jobs—make sure yours does.

Make Your Expectations Clear

Use your results from the Planning Assistant and the list you made to clearly outline not only what kinds of responsibilities the nanny will have, but also what kind of energy you need this person to bring to your home.

Personalize It

Adding in details about what your kids are interested in or insights into your family culture will also help to attract the professional that will be the right fit.

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Step 3: Screen & Narrow Down Your Options

Screening is the most important part of your child care search process. While it would be nice to have a nanny as quickly as possible, you need to make sure that the person you’re hiring to care for your child is someone you can trust and is a good fit for your family. Here are screening tools on Sittercity:

Detailed Profiles

When you receive applicants for a job or search local caregivers, closely review their experience, education, certifications, and bio.

Parent Reviews

See what other Sittercity parents who’ve hired a particular caregiver in the past have to say.


Messaging with your top options to make sure the practical information (schedule, rate, etc.) is in alignment before booking an interview.


There’s no substitute for the give-and-take of an interview with a potential babysitter or nanny. You can have your more in-depth questions answered and also get a feel for the sitter as a person.

Run Background Checks

For extra peace of mind, you can run background checks on the candidates you’re interested in—both criminal and motor vehicle. See what each check covers here.

Reference Checks

Reach out to the references listed on the caregiver’s profile to gain additional insight, and don’t hesitate to request more references. Here are some examples.

Step 4: Set Up Your HR Team

Becoming an employer is not something that families set out to do when looking for help with child care. We completely understand. But when you’re providing an opportunity for someone to earn an income of $2,700 or more in a calendar year, that money is subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes.

It may seem tempting to pay your nanny “under the table” and you both can avoid the cost and hassle of paying taxes. However, when you take into account the financial and legal risks of avoiding taxes and the benefits of taking the proper legal steps, paying your nanny “under the table” is really just not worth it.

That’s why Sittercity has partnered with GTM Payroll Services. They know that the responsibilities of hiring a nanny are a full-time job in and of itself. That’s why they offer a suite of benefits to make this process so much easier for busy parents. This includes:

  • Comprehensive Payroll Services—Including FREE Direct Deposit for your nanny
  • Tax Filings (Quarterly, Annual, State, Federal)
  • Workers Compensation
  • Secure 24/7 Access to All Your Data
  • Employee Online Access to Pay Stubs
  • Compliance with Tax and Labor Laws
  • Tax Savings Health Reimbursement Accounts
  • Timekeeping App
  • Retirement Plan

That’s the beauty of it—they handle all the details and you can reap the significant tax savings benefits of a Dependent Care FSA and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.

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Step 5: Set Everyone Up For Success

Introducing Them to the Family

Just as you’ve had time to get to know the new nanny through the interview process, the rest of the family (especially the kids) will need time to get familiar with and adjust. You know best how your children do in new situations with new people. But we also have some tips for making the transition a smooth one.

Monitor Your Relationship

Once you’ve hired a nanny, it’s important to make sure that they continue to be a good fit for your family by keeping communication open and frequent.

  • Daily Check-ins
    When you get home, ask for a brief progress report on how the day went.
  • Ask Your Kids
    Ask your children open-ended questions about their day, but try not to judge or lead during the discussion. Respect your children’s feelings and always take them seriously, especially negative comments.
  • Schedule Regular Performance Reviews
    There’s definitely value in making sure you and your caregiver are on the same page, and it’s important to keep the lines of communication open. A performance review is one way to do that.

Ready to get started? Start with Step 1 and make sure you know what your family needs. Then post your job on Sittercity and you’ll be well on your way to hiring your first nanny. Don’t forget to reach out to our partner GTM Payroll Services to make sure you’ve got all the important details squared away.

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