Looking for a nanny for the first time
30 September 2022
30 September 2022
As a new parent, we are faced with many new challenges. Probably one of the more difficult is arranging childcare for the first time. Sooner or later, due to work, illness, changes in family circumstances, or simply making time for hobbies and other activities, you will need childcare support.
This article is about how to approach the search for a childminder (nanny or babysitter) in Germany based on my personal experience.
First the good news: Yes, it is possible to find the right childminder and it can be a very enriching experience for both parents and children. The problem is that finding the right nanny takes time and patience. Keeping an open mind and having a positive attitude will help you along your journey.
Where do I start?
Firstly, note down what you need. For example: how many hours a week should the carer be with the children? What days and hours do you need covered? Or are you flexible? What level of level of experience, education, language ability or other special competency would you expect your nanny to have? Does your nanny need to be able to drive to pick up the kids from school?
Secondly, calculate what you can afford to spend on childcare. Bear in mind the more experienced or skilled the nanny is, the higher the wage the nanny can command. It is also important to inform yourself about existing contract types. For example, the simplest and most commonly used in Germany is the so-called “mini job” contract, but there are many more which I will write about in further blog posts.
Once you’ve considered all these factors, you are ready to start searching.
There are many ways to find potential nannies. For example, you could ask your friends and acquaintances. They can often provide you with direct references, but the scope is limited. Another option could be a nanny agency, where they do the searching for you, but this is often costly due to the personalised and exclusive service. You could also place ads on specialised internet portals, which are effective and economical.
When the first responses come in, the hard work begins. The clearer you are about your needs, the easier it will be to make the first selection. I recommend doing a telephone interview before meeting the nanny in person. A trial day before settling a contract will give you both the security that you have found a good match. However, don’t forget that the decision is a highly personal one that often takes place in the first seconds of the interview.
Finally, although a nanny can never replace the parents, having a nanny greatly enhances family life by incorporating new ways of doing things and bringing a fresh perspective to the table.