Nanny Trial Do's and Don'ts
A trial run with a potential nanny is crucial for both nannies and families to ensure that personalities, belief systems and methods of discipline all match up or compliment each other in a positive way. A nanny can say they are loving and caring in the interview, but what are they really like when your child is actually crying in front of them? A family probably won’t bring their children into the interview process, but a trial run is a great way to see how the nanny blends into the home and interacts with the children. We can’t tell you how many nannies have done great in the interview but didn’t meet the family’s needs in the trial, or how many nannies were shy in the interview but absolutely flourished in the trial. The idea of a trial can feel overwhelming, but we’ve broken it down into easy steps to assist you in making sure your trial is productive and beneficial to finding your family’s next nanny. If you have additional questions or need help with any of these steps, reach out to us!
Agree on Expectations
Communication is the foundation of every relationship. Discuss expectations with your prospective nanny and have them written down and displayed in a space where they can see. Before the trial begins, go through each task or desire point by point to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Not everyone can get it right the first time, but if the nanny isn’t following instructions or taking direction well during the trial, that’s a very telling sign. But if they go above and beyond what was discussed, asking questions and taking direction well, that’s a great candidate. We have an agreement forms and checklists on our resources page to assist families in brainstorming what you may want or need from a nanny, and how to articulate those needs to maximize the relationship. Let us know if you have any questions or need help forming and articulating your expectations for your nanny’s trial.
Trials are Paid
Even if you decide not to hire a nanny, a trial is still a day spent working and they deserve to be paid for the hours given. A trial period is typically paid in the same hourly amount you are offering for the job.
communication is key! It’s imperative that both you and your nanny are open with each other about expectations
Set Yourself up for Success
Every household is different, and every nanny comes in with a different background of experiences. It’s important to communicate your expectations and have your trial period reflect what a day would be like for the nanny and your children. If your nanny is thriving, so are your children. Help your nanny help you by giving them clear instructions and information they need such as allergies, restrictions like limited screen time or snack time, information on the best ways to put them down for a nap, etc. Don’t leave your nanny to guess what you need, you want to see how they follow directions. If you are unsure what a day for your nanny would look like, reach out to us and we can help you create a schedule for both your trial and your nanny’s day-to-day life.
We can’t say it enough: communication is key! It’s imperative that both you and your nanny are open with each other about expectations. After the trial, ask them leading questions about what’s high on your priority list: were you comfortable driving to the park? how did you feel correcting our child’s behavior? was cooking meals too much? Inversely, be honest in answering your prospective nanny’s questions. Kindly offer suggestions on how they could do better next time, but give them the room to find their footing, it’s not easy entering someone else’s home! The communication during the trial period with your new nanny is your chance to set boundaries and groundwork for your future in working together, it’s much easier to correct behavior in the beginning and steer the course towards success than it is once you have all settled into a routine.
Make Yourself Available
Ideally, during the trail you would be able to walk your prospective nanny through the day, showing them what parks to go to, when to give snacks, where to find certain necessities, how to handle certain situations. Of course with busy schedules, it is not always possible, but you should set aside a little time to observe the nanny with your child, stepping in when needed and being there if the nanny has any questions. It is also valuable for your child to get one on one time with the nanny to give them room to see if they are a good fit for each other.
Even if the nanny has every qualification and seems to be everything you wanted on paper, but something in your gut says it isn’t working out – listen to it! This is what trials are all about. Maybe the right candidate doesn’t check all of your boxes in the interview, but during the trial they connect with your child like no one else has. Be honest with yourself and with your potential nanny and move forward if your gut believes it’s the right move, and let it go if it’s not.
Let us know how your nanny trials have gone! If you are interested in learning more about how to conduct a nanny trial, or are ready to begin your search for your perfect nanny, reach out to us. We are more than happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have, even if you are not registered with us. Let me know your trial top tips below!