Hiring a nanny can be exciting but also a scary time for parents. I mean, how can you be sure you’re bringing in the right person to care for your child? They’re someone you need to be able to trust, whether it’s for a few date nights or many years to come. That’s why we’ve come up with this guide to help you pick out the BEST nanny for your family.
How to Select a Nanny for Your Family
Knowing how or where to start when it comes to finding a trustworthy nanny can be confusing. The terms “nanny” and “babysitter” are often used interchangeably, which adds to that confusion. The most significant difference we’ve noticed is that babysitters tend to be more of a sporadic or one-time person that provides care for your child from time to time. A nanny is a person who will consistently care for your child on a more regular basis. To find a nanny, you can follow the steps below.
Be Clear About Your Expectations
If you know you are looking for a nanny to provide care regularly, make sure you state that in the job description. Here are a few other details you should include in the description to ensure those that apply have a clear idea of what you’re looking for:
- General location (main city or town)
- Age(s) of the child needing care
- Hours/days care is needed
- Your budget
- Any special requests (ex: experience with special needs child, experience with a household with pets, etc.)
Ask for Recommendations or Search Via a Trusted Site
Often, many parents end up finding nannies through their personal friends or family members. Word of mouth goes a long way. If you don’t have any friends or family members who can suggest a reliable nanny, you may also have success posting a job search in your local online parenting groups, asking a local childcare center for references, or through a reliable site like Care.com.
One of the benefits of using a website like Care.com to find a nanny is that it background checks all the caregivers for you! If you have a bad or not-so-great experience with a caretaker, you can file a report right then and there through their website. Just another way to ensure you have access to qualified nannies and caretakers that just might be an excellent fit for your family.
MUST Ask Nanny Interview Questions
Now that you’ve found your candidates, you need to make sure you know exactly which questions to ask the potential nanny for your child. These questions will range from professional experience to their basic lifestyle. They can sound intimidating. But you must find someone you trust and have n0 doubts about. These nanny questions can help you figure it all out.
Basic Nanny Interview Questions:
- How long have you been caring for children?
- Why did you get involved in child care work?
- How many families have you worked with?
- What makes you interested in this position/caring for my child?
- What is your availability?
- Are you familiar with (any age-related tasks or routines that apply to your child)?
- Where are you located? Are you local to the area, or have you recently moved here?
- What are you looking for in your next nanny job?
- Have you had or do you plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Professional Training & Education Questions:
- Are you CPR certified or First Aid trained?
- Have you taken any extra certification training or college courses about child development/education?
- What was your background before becoming a nanny?
- What is your education level?
- What languages can you speak, and which are you most comfortable speaking?
- Do you have any questions about this position?
Nanny References & Work History:
- Why did you leave your last job?
- Can you provide references from your most recent clients?
- What are your favorite ages to care for and why?
- Can you describe a difficult time you experienced as a Nanny and how you resolved/worked through the problem?
- What do you find to be the most challenging part about working with children?
- What do you find to be the most rewarding part about working with children?
- Do you have experience with children with medical needs?
- Do you have experience with children with intellectual disabilities?
- Are you familiar with following nap and feeding schedules?
- Do you have experience following dietary restrictions and avoiding food allergies?
- Do you have experience introducing solid foods to a baby?
- Can you share an example of what your day would look like while watching my child?
- Do you have experience staying in the home for a few days if needed?
- Do you have experience traveling with families for a few days if needed?
- Any special duties you’ve been responsible for you feel are worth noting?
- Do you have any experience working in a home with pets (such as — list your pets)?
Nanny Questions About Their Lifestyle:
- Do you have a reliable form of transportation?
- Are you able to send regular/frequent updates throughout the day?
- Do you have a reliable mobile phone if I need to contact you, or if you need to contact me for an emergency?
- Are you familiar with where the local emergency hospital is in our area?
- Do you have any job restrictions or other responsibilities that could prevent you from caring for my child?
- Outside of caring for children, what other hobbies or interests do you have? What do you like to do in your free time?
- Do you see yourself being a caretaker for the rest of your life? Why/why not?
Nanny Questions About Their Caretaking Style:
- How would you handle behavioral challenges and tantrums?
- How would you approach discipline with my child?
- How do you feel about screen time?
- Are you familiar with (insert parenting method here, for example, time-ins, gentle parenting, mindful parenting, conscious parenting, child redirecting, etc.)?
- What are your favorite playtime and learning activities to do with ___-year-olds?
Keep in mind, you can tailor these questions to fit your family’s needs as much as possible and you should! You should also know that there are some questions you cannot ask your potential nanny. Such as anything considered to be discriminatory, intrusive, or illegal. If you reside in the U.S., you can review the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Prohibited Employment Policies/Practices here.
How to Interview a Nanny
Now that you know which questions are of the utmost importance to ask during your nanny interview, you’ll want to decide HOW to interview your selected candidates. We always suggest a pre-screen phone interview to ensure you still have a good feeling about the nanny before inviting them to your home. If there are any major doubts, it isn’t worth the invite.
Pre-Screen Phone Interview
From personal experience, I once had a nanny who I thought would be a fantastic caretaker for our son based on all the qualifications she raved about online. I was very clear about the position and my expectations. After going back and forth with her for a few days, I noticed a few red flags.
- She never answered her phone. Like ever.
- She took a long time to call back (or respond to texts for days at a time).
- She’d call back at the most inconvenient times (we’re talking late at night or super early in the morning).
If I’m going to pay someone to watch my children, I need to make sure I can reach them effortlessly. No lingering phone tag every time I try to give them a ring. So, unfortunately, she was never invited to do a home interview. These are the types of things you can screen for when communicating with your potential caretaker via email, phone calls, or even through text (before your in-home interview).
Once you feel confident you’ve made the proper selection(s), you can invite the candidates over to your home for a formal interview/meet and greet. Some parents prefer doing an interview separate from a meet and greet, but I found combining the two was helpful. I was able to see how my children reacted and how the nanny interacted with them. From there, if the interactions went well, we proceeded with the interview. If it was flat-out horrible (which didn’t happen), I had plans to end the interview there.
Again, it’s up to you and your family how you feel most comfortable interviewing the prospective nanny for your child. Once you select the nanny you think is the best fit, schedule a time to set up a trial run. This trial could be for a few hours or a whole day, depending on your preference.
We understand how tough and nerve-wracking it can be to find a reliable nanny. But we hope with these pointers you’ll find a dependable, caring, and trustworthy nanny in no time.