The "How" and "Why" of Nanny Trial Days

Are you in the final stages of hiring a nanny?  You’ve interviewed several nannies, and found someone you absolutely love!  She has tons of experience, great references, and you immediately hit it off.  Now what?  A trial day (or two) is typically the final step before offering the nanny a position with your family. What is a nanny trial day?

A nanny trial day is the final check of a nanny’s compatibility with your family before offering her the position.  This is a time when parents, children, and the nanny can all spend time together, get to know one another better, and answer any final questions before extending the official offer.  The trial day should be held just before the offer is extended (assuming all goes well).  If possible, every member of the family that will interact with the nanny should be present.

What do we do while the nanny is there?

While the main purpose of a trial day is to make sure you’ve found the right fit, you can also use it as a training day for the nanny.  This is a great opportunity to show her around your house, go over the children’s typical schedule, and discuss any household responsibilities that are part of the position.  If she will be transporting your children this is a great time to drive around the neighborhood and point out the children’s school, location of after school events, or places where she may run errands (dry cleaner, grocery store, post office, etc.). If you find yourself at a loss for what to do after covering the suggestions above, head to the park!  Allowing your children time to interact with the nanny in a fun environment is a great way to begin building their relationship.


A few additional tips for nanny trial days:

  • Set a reasonable time period for the trial day.  Most trial days are 4 - 6 hours long, shorter than the standard work day for a nanny.  Since the parents will be present for all or most of the day it’s generally unnecessary for the nanny to be present for an entire day.  Most families have 1 - 2 trial days before offering the position.
  • Try not to hover.  Even the best nanny can feel put on the spot if a parent is scrutinizing every move she makes.  While it’s important to be present for the trial day, try to give the nanny a little breathing room.  Time alone with the kids can give the nanny and children a chance to get to know one another and begin the process of bonding.  Knowing you’re just a room away may give your kids the security they need while getting to know the nanny.
  • Keep expectations reasonable.  Incorporating a nanny into your family’s routine takes time, and she will probably make mistakes along the way.  A trial day is great for ensuring that you’ve found someone who is compatible with your family and will work to become the perfect fit, but it takes time!
  • Pay the nanny.  A trial day is typically paid at the hourly rate you will be offering the nanny for the position.  Remember, this is work for her, even if you’re around!

A trial day is a great final check before hiring a nanny.  Spending time with her after the interview may bring up new questions and help you feel more comfortable leaving your children in the nanny’s care when her first day rolls around.