7 Questions to Ask a Nanny
From the Nanny Doctor
- Safety: First and foremost, it’s important to find out if the nanny meets your first aid and safety requirements for the position. Ask if the nanny is infant/child CPR certified and if they are not, how they feel about obtaining the certification. Additionally, ask them to explain what they would do in certain scenarios to gauge their problem-solving skills in emergencies.
- Interaction and Engagement: Ask the nanny how they plan to spend time with the children. Pay close attention to their responses and listen for activities mentioned that are important to your family, such as reading, singing, or puzzles. Ask for examples of how they can make household tasks, such as laundry, into a fun, learning experience.
- Communication: Discuss how the nanny has handled a conflict, concern, or disagreement with previous employers. Ask about daily communication and check-ins methods that they prefer to use. Remember, communication is key in a cohesive nanny/family relationship.
- Discipline: Every family’s philosophy on discipline is very different. Be sure to ask the candidate how they believe a child should be disciplined. Listen for the nanny to defer to you. Sight some examples of different likely scenarios the nanny may face, and ask how they would handle each situation.
- Nurturing: Discuss with the nanny how they tend to children’s needs. How will they sooth a child who is upset or hurt, what techniques are used if a child is tired and cranky, and lastly, what kind of games the nanny likes to play with children? Listen for nurturing and creative responses for all.
- Nourishment: Ask the nanny about food and feeding familiarity of the age group that your child or children fall into. With babies, ask about timing feedings within their schedule. For older children, ask her to describe a full day’s worth of meals, including all snacks and beverages.
- Personal and Professional: Take this time to learn more about the nanny. Ask lots of questions, from “What interests you in this job?” to “We celebrate Halloween, how do you feel about caring for a child and celebrating this holiday?” Again, this is your chance to find out if the nanny’s personality meshes well with your family’s identity as a whole.
By Lindsay Heller
Dr. Heller, Psy.D., is a mother of two sweet girls. When she’s not playing “tea party,” she’s a professional nanny consultant known as The Nanny Doctor. She blogs, tweets, and Facebook’s endless nanny wisdom. Check her out on TheNannyDoctor.com and on her Twitter @thenannydoctor.
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