Questions to ask when hiring a nanny

In the U.S., where 50 percent of families have both parents working, finding childcare is a necessity. If you’ve narrowed down your choice of childcare options and decided that hiring a nanny is the right option for your family, you’re probably wondering how do you go about finding the right one?

Whether it’s filling in for before and after school or even summer break, a nanny can be the conduit to keep your family a well-oiled machine. Your relationship with your nanny is as important as the nanny’s relationship with your children.

So, when you’re looking to hire one, knowing what to ask is crucial. We’ve compiled a list of questions broken into training, previous experience, discipline and developmental categories to help with your interviewing process.

Training and education

  • Have you taken classes in child care? Would you be willing to take classes if necessary?
  • What is your education level?
  • Are you trained in CPR? First Aid?
  • What would you do if a child was choking?
  • What would you do if my baby had a fever?
  • What if she fell and became unconscious?
  • Are you fluent in any other languages besides English?

Previous experience

  • How long have you been caring for children?
  • What is your favorite age to care for? Why?
  • Do you have other work or life experience that helps you as a nanny?
  • What was your most recent position? If there was a gap, what did you do on your hiatus?
  • What was your typical daily routine with your last family?
  • What were some of the best things about your previous job? The worst?
  • Have you had negative work situations? If so, what have you learned from them?
  • How have you handled difficult situations, like a baby crying uncontrollably or a child talking back?
  • Have you ever had a child care emergency? What happened?
  • What is your experience with children who have/need/are [insert specific situation]?
  • What was your longest stay with a family? What was your experience with them?
  • Are you looking to stay long-term with a family or what is your time frame for your next position?
  • Have you had experience of potty training and how do you go about potty training children (if applicable)?

Education and development activities

  • In view of our children’s ages what areas of development would you be concentrating on and what sort of activities would be suitable?
  • How would you plan a typical day?
  • What are your favorite activities with children?
  • How would you occupy our children during the day?
  • What kind of equipment or materials would you need?
  • How often would you use the library?
  • How do you feel about children watching television or playing games (i.e. Fortnight, online games, etc.)?

Discipline

  • What would you do with a child that threw a tantrum in the middle of a shop?
  • How do you introduce good manners for children?

Discipline is an area that needs to be discussed up front to avoid any differences of opinion on how the children should be disciplined – as the parent you should be telling the nanny what you find acceptable or unacceptable in terms of disciplining your children.

Did you love their responses? It’s time to introduce him/her to the kids. Whether it’s the same day or another scheduled time, monitoring how they interact with the kids is important in order to understand their style.

Questions you cannot ask

As with any formal employee hiring process, you have to follow legal guidelines about the questions you ask. Even though hiring a nanny is a highly personal decision, you cannot ask a candidate about their age, race, religion or political views, sexual orientation, marital status, disability or arrest record.

However, we highly suggest doing a background check on anyone that you are allowing to bring into your home and care for your children. Some sites like care.com, sittercity.com or other certified nanny or au pair agencies may offer this as part of their services.

Hiring someone can take some time. On average, we suggest starting the hiring process four to six weeks before the start date.


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