How to Find a Nanny

Find a nanny

It’s a daunting task finding someone you can trust to look after your little treasures/tykes while you’re at work or away - but worry no more. Here at Sitters, when it comes to nannies for hire, we’ve come up with a foolproof plan to help you in your search to find someone who’ll give Supernanny a run for her money. 

The main ways of finding a nanny are either a) via an agency, b) advertising, c) recommendations from friends or family. Start by writing a job description of what you’re looking for, skills required, experience and what kind of person you would like to welcome into your family home. Be specific to cut down on time wasters so you can find one who’s ‘practically perfect in every way’. 

Looking for a nanny using an agency  

There are lots of nanny agencies who can help you with your search for your very own Mary Poppins (see list below). While your bank balance might feel a sting from their fees, they can take the pressure out of checking references/backgrounds and Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) checks.


Look out for agencies registered with associations like the REC (The Recruitment and Employment Confederation) or ANA (Association of Nanny Agencies) who are at the top of the pick.

Nanny agencies near me:

Advertising for a nanny

Can’t afford an agency? Then here’s where to start; Put adverts in local newspapers, local magazines, playgroups, colleges, the noticeboards of local shops, in schools or on websites such a Gumtree. So what do you need to include in the ad? The hours required for the potential nanny to work, a list of their duties, your location, details of your offspring(s) ages and gender. Don’t include personal details like your address yet, but do put: Your telephone number, your email address, what you require from them (ie, their CV and covering letter) and not forgetting their net wages. 

What qualifications does a nanny need?

Nannies don’t actually need to have any formal childcare qualifications; so experience and references can be key. Any college qualifications in childcare is a plus and a CPR and first aid certification is commonly required.  


Various forms of nanny training include: An NVQ (National Vocational Qualification). An NNEB (National Nursery Examination Board) certificate. A CACHE (Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education)  certificate/diploma. Or a BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) national certificate/diploma.

Although nannies can work without having to be registered, they can choose to voluntarily register with the following, which means they have a basic understanding of children's needs, are up to speed in an emergency and have had a criminal records check. 

Public bodies are as follows across the UK: England Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education). NB. Ofsted-registered nannies will have enhanced CRB checks. 

Wales: Childcare at Home Approval Scheme.
Northern Ireland: Home Childcarer Approval Scheme.
Scotland: Nanny agencies can register with Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS)

Nanny references and important questions 

Speak to as many families your potential nanny has worked with. Don’t be scared to go Sherlock Holmes when it comes to investigating as this can be equally as crucial as formal training. Questions to ask referees include: Why did she leave? How long was she with them? Would they recommend her? What were her positives? Any negatives? How would the children describe her?



It’s also important to clear any grey areas when it come to a potential new nanny. Aside from looking after the children, what else is expected of her? Washing up/cleaning/tidying/cooking/the school run/classes?

It’s important to establish: What hours/days they’ll work. If the nanny is a live-in or live-out. Payment options. Do they need a driving license? Their approach to discipline/routine.

Dietary requirements. Can you see this person fitting well into your family home? What’s been her best/worst job? What are her best/worst qualities? How would she describe herself? What activities would she do with the children? Is she flexible when it comes to overtime?

Communication is key: Establish what is the period of giving notice is for you/and her. Sickness/absence pay. Is there a probation/trial period? Would they consider doing a trial for a day? If they won’t, they’re probably not right for you.

Blog link test

Go with your gut

Once you’ve held Skype meetings/FaceTime phone calls with your potential nanny, it’s time to come face to face with them. And when you do, do you get a good feeling about them? Do they interact well with the kids, are they confident and warm? What’s their body language like? Paperwork is key, but even more so is personality. 

Need a Nanny urgently?

Here at Sitters, we can be used instead of a nanny for flexible childcare – daytime or evening. Faced with an emergency? if your nanny is off sick and you need help ASAP, we can get a sitter to a family in as little as 90 minutes. You’ll have a perfect nanny in place before you can say ‘Mary Poppins’… 

Sign up now to receive more great parenting content and newsletters

Need a babysitter?

Enter your postcode below to find out if we have Sitters in your area: