Finding a Great Nanny: What to Ask

When you have to select a nanny, you may long to see Mary Poppins sailing with her umbrella onto the front lawn, ready to offer her crackerjack services. But when you snap out of the daydream, how do you evaluate the competence and kindness of that shy 22-year-old who actually shows up in response to your ad?

Trust your guts, and use these questions as a guide. Be sure to read them over before the first interview, thinking about which issues are most important to you. This will also help you come up with other questions you want to ask. And be sure to check all her references, every last one.

Applicant Information


Phone number:______________________________________________________


Look for a nanny who has taken care of children before; you don’t want your child to be her guinea pig. Years and years of experience aren’t necessary, but she should know what she’s doing.

1. Why are you a nanny? ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

2. How long have you been a nanny?_______________________________

3. How old were the other children you cared for?________________

4. Why did you leave your previous job? ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

5. Do you have any formal education in early childhood development or training in childcare? ______________________________________________________________________

6. Do you have CPR and first-aid training? CPR: Yes / No First aid: Yes / No

7. What would you do if my child suddenly got sick or had a serious accident? ______________________________________________________________________



It’s important to find out a nanny’s philosophy on childrearing so you know how she’ll care for your child. If her beliefs aren’t in line with yours, the arrangement won’t be successful. Ask each candidate what she enjoys about the job and how that satisfaction reflects her attitude toward children.

1. What do you like about being a nanny? ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

2. What about being a nanny could you do without? ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

3. Please tell me about three things you most enjoy doing with children. ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

4. What are your beliefs about childrearing? Can you describe children’s needs at different ages (or, specifically, at my children’s ages)? What must adults give children so they develop self-respect as well as compassion for others? How can adults help kids develop self-reliance? ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

5. How do you approach difficulties over bedtimes or meals? ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

6. How do you discipline children? ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

7. How do you comfort children? ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

8. How might you and my child spend a typical day? What types of activities do you think are important to include? ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

9. What are some of the rules you’ve followed in other households that you think work well? ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

10. Which rules don’t work for you? ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

11. Describe your ideal family to work for: ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

12. Do you have any pet peeves about parents? About children? ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

13. Will you be good-natured about filling me in on the things my child said and did that I missed during the day? ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

14. Will you be comfortable about filling me in on any mishaps that occur? ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________


Find out if the nanny is available to work when you need her. If you especially like a particular candidate and you can be flexible on the start date, let her know.

1. Do you want a live-in arrangement? Yes / No

2. When can you start working?___________________

3. Are you willing to do light chores while children are napping? If so, which ones? ______________________________________________________________________

4. Do you drive? Yes / No

5. Do you have your own car? Yes / No

6. Will you ever be available to work evenings or weekends? Yes / No

7. Will you be available to travel with our family on weekend trips or vacations? Yes / No

Salary and benefits

Nannies usually charge between $300 and $1,000 per week (or between $12 to $20 an hour), depending on the area where you live and how many hours she works.

1. What is your salary range?___________________________________

2. Do you require benefits such as health insurance? Yes / No

3. How do you prefer to arrange your meals? Do you like to bring your own lunch and snacks? If you expect food to be provided, do you have any special dietary needs? ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________


While she’s in your home, give each candidate a chance to spend some time with your child. Does she seem attentive? How does your child interact with her? Your observations will strongly influence your choice, so invite final candidates to come back for a second visit and spend an hour or so playing with your child, and take a moment to ask yourself the following questions.

1. Does the nanny seem comfortable holding or speaking to your child? Yes / No

2. Is she pleasant to be with? Yes / No

3. Is your child engaged and enjoying her company? Yes / No

4. While you’re at work, will you feel at ease knowing your child is with her? Yes / No


Ask each nanny you’re considering for a list of references. Call these people with specific questions (don’t ask whether they liked the nanny; ask what they liked about her and what bothered them about her).

1. Could you recommend families I can call for references?







2. May I call your previous employer?




Obviously, you will want to make sure your nanny has been vaccinated against COVID-19. Ask for a copy of her vaccination records for COVID-19 and other required vaccinations.


Pantell, Robert H. M.D., James F. Fries M.D., and Donald M. Vickery M.D. Taking Care of Your Child: A Parent’s Illustrated Guide to Complete Medical Care, Eighth Edition. Da Capo Lifelong Books.

CareGuide. Hiring the Right Nanny.

© HealthDay

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