How to Choose the Right Nanny

Finding the right nanny for your family requires patience and perseverance.  Remember that one of the most important factors in choosing a nanny is finding a candidate that fits in well with your family.  Evaluating your family’s needs and preferences provides essential information for hiring the right caregiver.

Things to Consider

  1. Does the nanny seem to really love and connect with children?  Does she/he love being a nanny?
  2. Does the nanny communicate well with the children?  Does she/he use appropriate language and get down on their eye level?  Do the children respond well to the nanny?
  3. Can the nanny clearly describe a philosophy on discipline?  Is it consistent with your own views?
  4. Is the nanny trained in Infant/Child First Aid and CPR?  Is she/he knowledgeable concerning children’s health issues including common childhood illnesses?
  5. Doe the nanny demonstrate an understanding of children’s developmental stages, especially the stages your children are in and are moving toward?
  6. Can the nanny give examples of age-appropriate activities that she or he will do with your children?  Do these activities meet the emotional, social, intellectual, and physical needs of your children?  Can the nanny outline a typical day’s schedule for you that will meet these needs?
  7. Does the nanny have relevant child care experience?
  8. Will the nanny follow your parenting guidelines?  Will you respect and appreciate her professional opinions?
  9. Can the nanny address the safety issues that are involved with caring for your children?
  10. Can the nanny provide the kind of atmosphere you want your children to be in on a daily basis?
  11. Does the nanny have the ability to plan and prepare nutritious, balanced snacks and meals?
  12. Is the nanny reliable, responsible, nurturing, and professional?  Does the nanny display the kind of maturity needed to do the job you are asking of her/him?
  13. Do you match expectations in regards to salary, hours, job duties, and other basics?
  14. Has there been a complete background and employment screening on the nanny?  This should include a criminal background check, driving record check, reference screenings, and sexual offender registry searches as well as any other screenings needed for that particular nanny.
  15. Have you disclosed all relevant information to the nanny about your family and what you are looking for in a caregiver?  Does the nanny seem comfortable with all that you have shared?


Now that you have found a qualified candidate, you need to make sure she/he matches your family as closely as possible in the following areas…

  • your family’s level of organization and neatness
  • the level of involvement you need in the children’s schedule and activities
  • your need for flexibility
  •  both the nanny’s and your family’s need for privacy
  • sense of humor
  • communication style
  • In general, do you feel comfortable with each other?

Trust your instincts.  The nanny and family relationship is key to long-term, consistent childcare.  Don’t underestimate the importance of good chemistry.  Keep searching until you find a candidate that “feels right”.

Sample Contracts

Looking for a business to help you in your nanny search or other related services such as taxes, training, or developing a nanny/family work agreement?

What questions to ask a Nanny in an interview…

If you are looking to interview a Nanny it is always useful to have your questions prepared in advance. To help you Totally Childcare has listed the following questions you may like to ask at the interview.

  1. Ask about family background – parents, brothers, and sisters.
  2. Where did you spend your early years?
  3. Why did you choose to become a Nanny?
  4. What do you consider are your qualities with regard to looking after children?
  5. What is your current position and why do you want to leave?
  6. Tell me about your previous jobs and why you left each one.
  7. Have you ever had a period of unemployment & why?
  8. What are you looking for in your next position?
  9. Why do you enjoy looking after children?
  10. How would you entertain them on a day-to-day basis?
  11. How would you keep them occupied on a long wet day?
  12. What artistic/creative talents do you have?
  13. Can you cook?
  14. What would you cook for children aged 0-1 and 2-5?
  15. Could you help my child with weaning, table manners, potty training,
    reading, and writing?
  16. Are you trained in First Aid? What would you do in the case of:
    • Bad cuts
    • Burns
    • Blow to the head
    • Choking
    • High fever
  17. How do you see your role in disciplining your child/children?
  18. What household tasks are you happy to perform? (e.g. nursery duties only, light housework, ironing, cooking)
  19. Are you happy to babysit? Would you expect to be paid extra for this?
  20. When did you pass your driving test? (ask to see the driving license)
  21. Have you had any accidents?
  22. Are you able to drive an automatic car?
  23. What type of car do you have?
  24. Does it have rear seat belts?
  25. What type of insurance do you have? (fully comprehensive / 3rd party)
  26. Have you got insurance for taking employers’ children in your car?
  27. Do you understand that smoking and/or drinking alcohol is not permitted at work?
  28. When would you be available to start a new position?
  29. What salary are you seeking?
  30. Would you accept the position if it was offered to you?

An in-depth telephone interview between the prospective employer and nanny is extremely important, especially when a face-to-face interview is not possible. A clear understanding of the job is essential for a successful placement. Both nanny and family should prepare a list of questions to ask, and if possible, take notes of all the answers.

A. Names and ages
B. Current developmental stages
C. Personalities
D. Special needs and requirements
E. Hobbies and activities
A. Each Parent’s occupation
B. Each Parent’s work schedule
C. Previous nannies employed by the family
D. Religion practiced in home
E. Pets
F. Dietary considerations

A. Starting Date
B. Hours and days of employment
C. Additional hours or flexibility needed
D. Daily schedule
E. Nanny’s job responsibilities
F. Light housekeeping duties (be very specific)

A. Salary
B. Medical insurance
C. Car usage
D. Holidays and vacation
E. Taxes
F. Overtime compensation

A. Description of home
B. Where nanny’s bedroom and/or bathroom is situated in house
C. Type of neighborhood
D. Telephone, TV, car and other comforts
E. Availability of public transportation
F. Household rules

A. Discuss nanny’s past childcare experiences
B. Discuss family values
C. Modes of discipline
D. Parenting style


Living in a family’s home goes beyond the normal employer/employee relationship. Both nanny and family should feel that their personalities are compatible. Hopefully, all of the above questions will help you find the right childcare for your family.

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