Nannies. They're all around you, and yet, somehow the perfect one seems so unattainable. How do you find a nanny in New York City? Where do you look? What do you look for? How do you know they're the right one? And what do you do once you get them? How much will you have to pay? And can you find someone to work the crazy hours you need? I don't have all the answers, but I'll give you my honest, hard-won, down-to-earth experience with this issue and you can add it to all the other junk you hear and make up your own mind.\n\nThis is going to be a several part series on childcare. Today's post is all about how to find a caregiver in NYC.\n\nWhere to find a caregiver\nLike many other things the best place in NYC to find a caregiver for your children is through word of mouth. This could mean a friend who is letting their baby sitter go just when you need one. If you are so lucky, consider yourself blessed and go out right now and buy a lottery ticket. For us mere mortals word of mouth could mean going up to a babysitter you've seen and admired at the park repeatedly. Good nannies tend to have good nanny friends and, truthfully, who your nanny is friends with can make a big difference in your happiness (more on that later). If the sitter you approach seems like your dream nanny, they might well have a great friend who is looking for a job.\n\nAnother, almost-as-good-as-word-of-mouth way to find a nanny is to look for ads on Craigslist (the childcare boards are in the community section.) that are posted by a parent who is giving up their caregiver. Of course, you need to make sure the post is really by a parent and not a tricky nanny and also that this person really loves their nanny and isn't just trying to pawn them off on you out of guilt. It is good to have a long conversation with this person. Get to know them as well as just hearing about the sitter. Turning them into a ten minute friend will reveal a lot and hopefully give you a sense of any subtle misgivings that might not have come out in a quick reference check.\n\nWhere not to look for a caregiver\nWhen I was looking for my first baby sitter, I posted an ad in the Irish Echo and it worked. I did hire a babysitter found through that ad. But I also got 300 responses. I would never go through that again. Even posting an ad on craigslist means sorting through dozens of replies, trying to figure out by an email which ones are worth responding to. I would never go the newspaper route again. It's just too big and random.\n\nMuch better to post in your micro-local area, ask around your neighborhood. Post on a neighborhood message board or craigslist. Craigslist is the default classified ads of NYC and you can find good quality people there. you will also find flakes and nuts. So it requires some screening, but I did have a successful search on craigslist which ended with me finding a lovely person and it was a little bit of a hassle, but not too bad.\n\nFive or ten years ago there were job boards for the colleges, but those seem to have disappeared as Craigslist has taken over. Craigslist seems like the place to go for college sitters now.\n\nWhat about Nanny Placement Services?\nI have never used a service. I'm a do-it-yourselfer. But I also am OK spending the better part of a week sorting it out. If you don't have a word of mouth connection and the time or patience to sift through the craigslist wackos, a service is the way to go. They'll do the background checks and will screen out the losers so you should be able to choose one of several qualified people for the best fit. Some services will also do the payroll, taxes and other administrative stuff associated. Very convenient.\n\n4nannies.com is a national online network of nanny postings and information. You can search the database for free, but have to join to get contact information.\n\nLocal company, More Than a Nanny will give you the personal attention as will our advertiser College Nannies and Tutors. College Nannies also employs the nanny for you so they take care of all the payroll and taxes. Our first month College Nannies Contest winner is going to have her free night of babysitting soon so we'll get a report back on how that went in the near future.\n\nOne service I've been intrigued by over the years is TeacherCare. Their concept is that they hire former teacher and other experienced caregivers who act more like tutors than baby sitters. They're expensive, but if money was no object, who wouldn't want that?\n\nWe'll be continuing the theme of childcare in NYC in the coming days. If you have a specific question or issue you'd like to hear more about leave a comment below or email us.\n\nIf you liked this article, consider subscribing to Mommy Poppins with an RSS or email subscription which you'll find in the sidebar of the site.