If you’re considering hiring a nanny to care for your children, as part of the interview process, you should find out what types of special training and certifications the candidates who are applying for the job have. In the U.S., there is no license or certification required to become a nanny, but there are a number of important skills the person who’s caring for your children should have to ensure your children are safe and well cared for.
What a nanny should know to keep your kids safer
To help keep your children safer, there are a number of skills and certifications you should ask potential nannies about, including:
- CPR/AED certification
- First aid training certification
- Red Cross water safety certification if your nanny will be caring for your children at a pool, beach, lake or other body of water
- A clean driving record if your nanny will be transporting your children by car
If your child has special needs, you’ll want to find a nanny who has experience caring for children with the condition your child has and/or who has taken training classes to learn how to provide care for special needs children.
Baby care requires different skills
If your child is a newborn or infant, your nanny needs a special set of skills. Ask if they have newborn and infant care specialist training, which covers all the basics of baby care. The Newborn Care Specialist Association offers classes for caregivers and basic and advanced certification.
Is professional certification important?
The International Nanny Association (INA), a non-profit organization, offers a credentialing exam for nannies. The exam assesses a wide range of important skills, including:
- Child development
- Diversity awareness
While earning this certification can indicate that a nanny is skilled in caregiving, a nanny who has not taken the exam, but who has a number of years of experience and good references from previous employers can be as good or sometimes a better a candidate than one with less experience who is certified, so don’t rule out a candidate simply because she or he is not INA certified.
Other skills to consider
Ask potential nannies if they’ve taken any course on positive discipline or have a degree or have taken early childhood education and development courses. If nutrition and fitness are important to your family, find out if the candidates have any experience with healthy cooking and strategies to keep your kids active. The National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association offers courses and certification for Kids’ Nutrition Specialists. American Fitness Professionals & Associates provides certification for Children’s Fitness Specialists.
Other key questions you should ask when interviewing candidates include:
- Are you eligible to legally work in the U.S.?
- Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Regardless of the answer, you should do a complete background check that includes a criminal background check, social security verification, a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) check, and a check of the sex offender registry.
- Can you provide recent references?
- Have you ever been fired from a nanny position and, if so, why?
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