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How do I choose a good nanny?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

The most important criterion for a nanny is that she share your ideas and values about child rearing. That is best determined not only in a personal interview but also while watching her interact with your child. Accordingly, we suggest hiring her for a trial day before you seal the deal. Of course, you’ll also check all references, and in conversations with her former employers listen for nuances carefully. What is her approach to discipline? Nutrition? Sleep? TV? Is she a homebody or does she like to spend time outdoors? Is she someone who will take the initiative to make playdates for your child, take her to the zoo, the park, or enrichment classes? How are her language skills? Is she comfortable reading to your child and playing number games? Does she talk or sing to her, or does she spend more time chatting with friends on her cell phone?


As wonderful as a nanny may be with your child, it’s also important that you find someone who meets your needs. If you work long hours, can she come early and leave late, or does she have family obligations of her own? How is her health? Is she energetic enough to care for a young child? Does she know CPR? If not, you should arrange for her to take a class. If you need her to travel, is she comfortable doing so? Will you require her to do additional household chores, such as shopping, cooking, cleaning, or laundry? Be up-front about your expectations, as well as about salary, vacation, and sick days.

YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade

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YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.