There are many different childcare choices. If you’ve decided that you prefer to have your children cared for in your own home, you’ll want to carefully vet any potential nannies to find a professional caregiver who is a good fit with your family and your children.
To find that fit, there are several questions you should ask yourself and your partner before you even start to interview potential nannies:
- Do we want the nanny to do more than care for our child/children? Consider whether you’re looking for someone who can also do laundry, cooking and errands in addition to childcare.
- Do we want a live-in nanny? If you work long hours or night shifts, it may be important that your nanny be there outside the usual work hours.
- How much can we afford to pay? Know the wage you intend to offer before you start interviewing nannies.
How to find a qualified nanny
You are entrusting your children to your nanny, so it is vitally important that you hire a person who is 100% trustworthy, reliable, skilled and caring. There are a number of ways to build a pool of qualified candidates:
- Ask friends and family who have nannies how they found their caregiver.
- Use a licensed, professional nanny placement agency. Be sure to ask the agency what types of background checks, screenings and training they perform and what fees they charge.
- The International Nanny Association (INA) offers a free directory of placement agencies that are members of the association, which can help you find an agency in your area.
Questions to ask when interviewing nannies
During the interview, it’s important to not only listen to the answers your candidates provide, but also to get a sense of whether they are people you would feel comfortable leaving your children with. They should be dressed neatly and professionally, be engaged in the conversation and ask appropriate questions about the position and your family’s needs.
Key questions to ask include:
- Why do you want this job?
- How would you handle an emergency? Are you CPR and first aid certified?
- What’s your approach to raising children?
- How did you handle a difficult experience on the job in the past?
- Why are you seeking a childcare job rather than another type of job?
To ensure your children’s safety, check all potential candidates’ references. Ask previous employers how long their nanny worked for them, why she or he left and what the former employer liked and did not like about their nanny. You should also check candidates’ driving records, perform a criminal background check and make sure they are eligible to work in the U.S.
Once you’ve narrowed the field, schedule a time for the nanny to spend a few hours with your child while you are home as a trial run. Remember, no matter how good a candidate’s references are, if your gut feeling is that this isn’t the right person for your child, trust your instincts.
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