One of the most daunting tasks that a parent can face is selecting a caregiver for their child.  Every parent wants to ensure that their child will be safe, loved, and attended to, but how to find that perfect nanny can be challenging.  In order to help parents take this often overwhelming task and make it feel more manageable, it helps to break it down a bit.  First off, ask yourself some questions about who you are as a family and what you are looking for.  Next, figure out how you want your interview with a candidate to go and what information you hope to gain from it.  Last, how will you select your nanny from a number of potentially qualified candidates.

Assess Your Family’s Needs

Think about what a typical day in your house looks like with your children. Here are some questions that you can ask yourself.

  • Are you more hands on and engaged, more likely to promote independence, or some combination of the two?
  • Do your children have any special circumstances such as food allergies, medical needs, or behavioral challenges that might require a candidate with specialized training or experience?  
  • Do you travel often for work or pleasure and would you want your caregiver to be available more hours during that time, or to travel with you?
  • Are there pets in the home and do you have expectations of your caregiver to help with them?
  • Do you prefer having a nanny that lives in your home (and do you have the space!) or one that arrives and leaves each day at scheduled times?
  • Are you comfortable with your nanny driving, walking or taking public transportation with your children to various places? 

Prepping for Your Nanny Interview

Your nanny is a person that will be spending a good bit of time in your home, caring for your most precious possessions.  You will want to determine what type of a personality will make you feel comfortable and happy. A few things to look for that might not be as obvious as specific questions are:

  • Does the candidate have an adequate amount of relevant experience?  This may mean different things to different people.  For example, if a nanny has ten years of experience, but only one of those was with a newborn, a family with a young infant may want to find someone with more infant experience.
  • Check the length of previous employment and be sure to seek additional information on the reasons for any shorter term commitments. 
  • During your interview, is the candidate well spoken and a clear communicator?  Are they able to answer questions succinctly and with relevant detail?

Interviewing For The Perfect Nanny

For every question you ask a nanny, there is going to be an answer you are hoping to hear.  Think through in advance, what you are and are not willing to bend on.  Some things may be non-negotiable (such as your thoughts on discipline or screen time) while others may feel more flexible.  Here are some questions that you can ask your nanny candidates to ensure that you are finding the perfect nanny who will fit your family’s specific needs:

  • What are your philosophies around caring for young children?
  • Do you believe in screen time?  How much?
  • What do you most want the children to gain from their experience with you?
  • What are your beliefs and practices around discipline?
  • Are you comfortable with meal prep/cooking?
  • Are you comfortable caring for a sick child if the need arises?
  • How will you help my child meet developmental milestones?
  • How will you ensure that my child is being challenged and engaged in age appropriate ways?
  • What types of activities might you do?
  • How would you handle a medical emergency?

For families with multiple children:  

  • How will you manage the differing needs of multiple ages (or the same age if twins)?
  • What would you do if two children were upset at the same time?

For families with infants: 

  • Would you spend most of the day holding the baby, or rotating between floor time and carrying them?
  • Are you up to date on your knowledge and training around SIDS (scary question, but so so important!!)?
  • Are you comfortable handling breast milk (if applicable) or making bottles?
  • Do you believe in letting a baby “cry it out”?

Working with a Nanny Agency

A nanny placement agency can help parents (and nannies!) to answer many of these questions and screen out candidates that don’t match up to a family’s specific preferences.  Additionally an agency can provide reference checks, background screening, and even provide support with helping families with tasks such as contracts and locating payroll services.  Agencies are typically aware of industry standards for pay and time off, or other such benefits.  Above all, agencies are able to manage pieces of the nanny search puzzle and alleviate some of the work and pressure for busy parents.

Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny wants to help you find the perfect nanny to match with your children and family’s needs. Fill out our application today and we will contact you to get started!

About The Author

Sarah PSarah Proctor has worked with young children for over 25 years as a teacher, childcare director, nanny, and mom of two girls. She has her Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education and Administration from UMass Amherst. In addition, Sarah has her Director 2 certification from the Department of Early Education and Care.