You may have left your baby with grandparents for outings in the past, but taking the leap to a more permanent form of childcare can be a scary thought! Choosing a nanny to look after your most prized possession is no small decision. You want to choose someone who has the temperament, experience, and education needed to handle your baby or toddler’s every need with ease. Most parents approach this in at least a two-step process.
If you’ve ever taken a look at childcare websites, you know just how many babysitters, nannies, and au pairs there are to choose from! To get started, you’ll need to whittle the local choices down to a few top candidates. Take a look at their CVs to see their education and experience – whether they have completed childcare courses from training.com.au, taught at a preschool in the past, or have children of their own. With this information, you can then conduct a short phone interview at first to get a feeling for their qualifications, choosing only five or so to interview.
The next step is to interview the nannies on your short list. If you find this a daunting prospect, just remember – the nanny is probably more nervous than you are! It’s best to keep children out of the room at first, although you can bring them in later to see how the nanny interacts with them. Put her at ease with a bit of small talk about the position and your children, and expect to be asked some questions in return. The best interviews are more like conversations than interrogations. Stumped about what to ask? Here are a few ideas.
- Why did you choose to become a nanny?
- What qualities do you think are most important in a childminder or nanny?
- Do you have any professional qualifications in childcare?
- What type of first aid training do you have? What would you do if my child had a fever or fell on the playground?
- Do you have a flexible schedule if I am stuck at work late one day? How far away do you live?
- Are you looking for a long-term position? Do you have plans such as university or having children of your own in the near future?
- What ages of children have you cared for in the past?
- Describe your last position and why you are looking for a new one.
- How would you spend a typical day with my child?
These are just a few ideas of questions to ask during the interview process. You can tailor this to your child’s age and your personal household needs. At the end of your questions, be sure to give the nanny time to ask questions in return, and perhaps meet the children.
It’s a good idea to take notes as you meet each candidate, not only about their answers but also about your first impressions. This will help you narrow down the field and make the right decision. If you don’t feel happy with any of the interviews, go back to the drawing board and schedule some more from your first list of candidates. Above all, trust your gut and don’t settle for a nanny you don’t feel 100% comfortable with!
*Written in collaboration with Rachel MacDonald