10 Questions You Should Ask When Looking for a Nanny
You’ve vetoed daycare, but it’s time to go back to work. Now what? Unless you’re lucky enough to have someone who can care for your kiddo full-time, it’s time to start thinking about how to hire a nanny. They’re more than someone who simply sits for your littles every now and then: This person is about to become part of your family. And, most importantly, they’re someone you’re going to trust with your child. Obviously, you’ll want to know all the important facts before making a decision — but what is important? If you’re finding yourself at a loss for what to ask your would-be new nanny, we’ve got you covered.
1. Why do you want to work as a nanny? This question is first on our list for a reason: The answer will separate the ones who are in it for the joy of helping your kiddos grow from those who think it’s a fun way to make a few bucks before they get a “real job.”
2. What do you think the nanny’s role is in the child’s life? While the nanny will become an important person to your child, ultimately, they aren’t the parent. That’s a clear line you need to draw from the start, to designate where the nanny’s job ends and yours begins. While love and caring are part of their work, you don’t want to end up feeling like an outsider in your own child’s life.
3. What practical experience do you have working with children? Yes, a master’s degree in early childhood education might make a potential hire super-appealing. But don’t assume that education is synonymous with experience, so make sure that your pick has actually worked with kiddos before. This doesn’t mean a nanny needs a decade of priors, but create your own definition of “experience,” and then don’t settle for anything less. Be sure to ask about specifics, such as the ages of the kids they’ve worked with and whether they were working independently or under supervision.
4. What would your last employer say about you? This question gets to the root of the nanny’s abilities. Look for a detailed list, and not just a few words. General statements such as “I’m a great worker” or “I’m good with kids” aren’t going to cut it here. Plus, even though you want the nanny’s view, be sure to always thoroughly check their references.
5. How long do you plan to stay in this job? Some absolutely excellent nannies are looking for a temporary-ish job as they finish college or grad school. But if you need a nanny who will stay with your family from tot to tween, now is the time to find out whether it’s even a real possibility.
6. How are your time management skills? If the nanny needs to take your kiddo to pre-K, soccer practice, dance lessons, art class, or anywhere else, the ability to stick to a schedule is mandatory. But even a nanny who will be working entirely in the home will need to be ready on time and create a daily structure for your child.
7. How do you handle challenging behavior? Sometimes babies cry with no end in sight, tots throw mega-tantrums, and preschoolers’ precociousness is less than cute. What will the nanny do when a difficult situation (inevitably) happens? Make sure you’ll be getting someone whose child-rearing philosophy is compatible with yours.
8. What’s your favorite children’s book, and why? Anyone who has experience working with kids has read more than their fair share of children’s books. A would-be nanny who can’t name a children’s book off the top of their head or can’t answer the “why” part of the question probably doesn’t have the necessary background in childcare.
9. What’s your favorite children’s activity? A nanny is responsible for keeping your kid busy — and that doesn’t mean sitting them down in front of an iPad for hours on end. This question will help you to determine just how creative the potential hire is and how they can put their child development knowledge to practical use.
10. Is your schedule flexible? Some parents need a nanny who’ll be on call nearly 24/7. If your childcare needs won’t adhere to a strict schedule, nanny flexibility is an absolute.
What would you look for in a nanny? Tweet us your thoughts @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)