NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Parents may be busy hauling the family to the beach, mountains and ballgames this summer, but things are only going to get busier in a few weeks when kids go back to school. Back-to-school shopping, figuring out bus schedules, lining up after-school activities and getting kids to doctor and dentist appointments are all challenges to busy working parents who have to hit the career track full speed after Labor Day weekend. That burgeoning "to do" list has many parents turning to nannies -- a rescue squad for the harried working parent who can afford it. According to AmericasNannies.com, there are 860,000 nannies in the U.S. today, with 433,000 of that number self-employed. these steps before signing on the dotted line with a new nanny: Think about what you want. The goal is to create a thorough list of "must haves" for your nanny search, a list that must include a proposed schedule, disciplinary practices and the demonstrated ability of any potential nanny to care for more than one child. "Knowing your priorities will not only help you attract the right candidate, but also make the right decision," the firm advises. his or her future nanny, bring your child to the job interview. Watch how your son or daughter interacts with the candidate. Encourage your child to ask questions, and see how he or she reacts -- and how the nanny reacts. Get good help. To get the information you need -- including background checks, reference checks and salary estimates -- hire a dependable nanny selection service. Know your financial obligations. Nannies, by law, have to earn at least minimum wage and are eligible for overtime. Prepare to file a 1040-ES file with the Internal Revenue Service, along with a 1040 tax form and a W-2 form. "If you pay a seasonal nanny more than $1,000 per quarter or $1,800 per year, you most likely need to pay the 'Nanny Tax' (which includes Social Security, Medicare and the Federal Unemployment Tax)," SurePayroll says. Also, don't pay cash to your nanny. Always pay via check or direct deposit. That way you have legitimate documentation for your tax files.