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Childcare Advice: Tips for Interviewing a Nanny

Interviewing a Nanny Finding the perfect nanny for your home and your children is vital. This is someone who will be in your life and in your children’s life day in and day out. You need to ask the right questions so that you can find the most qualified, most reliable caregiver for your children.

Hiring a babysitter or a nanny is a time-consuming process, but you don’t want to rush it because your child’s safety is most important.

There are a few tips to consider before you start interviewing nannies:

Prepare A List of Your Wants and Needs

Before you start your interview with a nanny, be sure that you sit down with your family and write out a list of everyone’s wants and needs. Your wants and needs is a list that includes things like daily duties, discipline procedures, chores, behavior and things like vacation and compensation. It is important that you know before you begin what kind of nanny you are looking for and what you expect from that nanny.

Do you want a live-in nanny, or a caregiver that lives outside the home? Do you need a full-time caregiver, or a nanny that works part-time? Do you want your nanny to be CPR certified and have an early childhood education background? What qualifications do you want in the childcare provider? Do they need to have a college degree, or just a high school diploma?

Interviewing the Nanny

When interviewing the prospective nanny, go over your list of wants and needs with the nanny. Watch the nanny’s face for any signs that she may be uncomfortable with anything. Let the nanny ask questions.

Once you have done this, be sure to go over what a typical day would consist, from start to finish. Then go over what a non-typical day may look like, like a grandparent’s visit or doctor’s appointment. Let the nanny respond.

Be sure to ask scenario questions to make sure that the nanny has common sense in those specific situations.

Interview Questions for the Nanny

Before the nanny arrives for a face-to-face interview, you need to prepare a list of questions that you sincerely want to know about the nanny.

Here is an example of a few questions you can ask:

  1. Is there any task that you will not do?
  2. What was your reason for leaving your last job?
  3. Give them a hypothetical situation and ask the nanny how she would respond.
  4. Do you have training for emergencies?
  5. Do you have CPR or first aid training? When did you take it?
  6. What do children like best about you?
  7. How old were the previous children you worked for?
  8. What are your beliefs about childrearing?

Most likely the nanny will ask you questions in return. This is completely normal and fine. You want the nanny to ask questions. Questions may be something like, “What is your policy on discipline?” or “What about vacation time?” Answer them honestly.

Background Check and References

Be sure you ask the nanny if you can do a background check on them. If they say no, that is a warning flag. Also, get a list of references from the nanny and start making calls. Most references are aware that they will be contacted so they should know why you are calling, when you do call. You need to call all of the nanny’s references. This is your child’s safety, after all!

Introduce the Kids

If you feel that the nanny could be the one, introduce your kids. Let them spend a short time interacting and talking as you supervise. Your kid’s opinions are very important and it is also good for the nanny to get a feel of your children too.

Once you have done so, don’t make a decision immediately. Talk it over with your family and sleep on it. Tell your nanny that you will contact them soon.

You may also consider asking the nanny or caregiver to do a “trial day” before you officially hire them.

Be Patient

Now that you have some tips to consider before interviewing your nanny, start looking! Keep in mind your children’s interest and yours. Be prepared for the interview and don’t worry if it takes you awhile to find the right nanny. Remember no one is perfect, but keep an open mind and heart and you can always find someone that you think will be a great influence in your home.

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Special Thanks to My Guest Writer… 

Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at H.smith7295 [at] gmail.com.

About the author: This blog post was written by a guest contributor. If you’d like to guest post for Hip Chick’s Guide to PMS, Pregnancy and Babies, please read my Guest Writing Policy for a guideline of what I am looking for. All guest posts need to be at least 500 words and be original to this site only.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • January 18, 2012, 11:30 am

    Thanks for sharing this post, and thank you Heather for writing it. There is some very vital information in here when it comes to picking the right nanny. It’s your child’s safety after all, and what parent doesn’t want the best for their kids?!

    – Jessica

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