I compiled these questions from a few different sources, as well as friends who had been through the process themselves. A few things I would like to address before jumping into the questions:
- In my opinion, WOM (Word Of Mouth) is best. Your children are your most precious entities, and you want to feel great about who you are leaving them with when you are not around. If you can’t find someone through WOM, then go with a well respected, well talked about Nanny agency. You might have to shell out the big bucks up front, but in the long run, it’s worth it to have the right person.
- Emotions are high during this time. Remember that this person is not replacing you, they are merely an extension of you. They are someone who can support you in getting what you need to get done so you can be the mommy. Let them do the little things like dishes, packing lunches, getting clothes out so you can do the big things like reading books, tucking them in at night, and having dinner with them.
- Mommy ALWAYS trumps the nanny. Now, don’t take this the wrong way and put your nanny in the position of not feeling supported, but if you begin to feel like the kids are more excited to see her than you, then you might want to take a step back and ask why. It might be her, it might be you, but in the long run, you’re the mama, and no one trumps the mama. For example, one RockStar Momma would tell her nanny what she planned on buying her son for Christmas and his birthday, then the nanny would show up with the same gift for the little boy the day before to look like the hero. Uh-huh. No way. Time to cut the cord. There’s other great people out there, you’ll find them, even if it takes more time than you’d like.
- You are hiring someone to support your life, not the other way around. If they don’t get that, you don’t have the time to keep them around. Don’t compromise! You will end up feeling frustrated and disappointed in the end if things aren’t going the way you want them to. You don’t have to be mean about it, just candid, honest and transparent about your needs and the kind of person you are looking for. And make sure you continue that transparency in your communications throughout their employment so everyone understands their expectations. Think worse case scenario…there might be a day when they have all 4 kids, laundry, dishes, homework, baths and dinner. You might need them to help you getting your own laundry done, or putting your clothes away, or attending an event with you and your kids. Things will come up that you won’t even be able to fathom at your interview, or you think you’ll be able to handle it on your own, then when it’s D-Day, you realize you need help. Is this person someone you can rely on to throw things at and they’ll run with it, or are they going to hold you to the exact words you spoke at your interview?
- Be OK with you, so you can be OK with them. It’s hard to bring someone else into the family, but think about the opportunities your kids might be missing out on to have someone amazing in their lives. Think about the opportunity you might be missing to have that person in your life. Someone you can trust whole-heartedly so you can do what you need to do, knowing your kids are happy and safe. Isn’t that a win/win for everyone? The tinge of guilt I feel as I am getting ready to meet my husband for dinner dissipates when I hear my daughter planning their evening of painting nails and board games, my son asking her a thousand questions about Rain Forest Animals, or the babies squeal with delight when she picks them up. It tells me right away that I made the right choice. I never doubt for one second that they would choose her over me, but it’s a great feeling knowing that for a few hours, they are OK with her and I get to be me.
- Finally, treat them with kindness, respect, and take care of them. They are people, too, they are loving your kids, and helping you get through life. Throw them a bone every now and then…you will be glad that you did. (A lesson my RSH has taught me, more than once.)
Nanny Interview Questions:
*Upfront I always ask for a resume so I can see their experience with children. If I like them after the interview, then I request References. Make sure the resume includes all their contact info, and file it away so you have it if you choose to hire them.
Why are you a nanny?
Tell me about your experience with children?
How many different families/for how long/how many children/ages of children etc.
Why are you looking for a new position?
What do you like best/least about the job?
Describe your ideal family/employer—What do really want from a family?
What do children like best about you?
What are your favorite activities to do with a child the age of mine? Are you willing to play with them and be silly with them, sing the same songs repeatedly? Would you be willing to engage in activities I want the kids involved in even if it is not your favorite thing to do?
How do you deal with discipline / sharing issues / tantrums? What do you do when you become frustrated with toddler behavior?
Would you be willing to follow my rules and disciplining/comforting strategies even if they’re different from yours?
What are some of the rules you have followed in other households that seem to work well? Which ones haven’t worked for you?
Do you have the patience to help teach skills such as getting dressed/undressed, using a cup, sorting, following directions, ect.
How do you deal with comforting a child? Separation anxiety?
If totally structured and feeling lost without keeping a strict routine is on one end of the spectrum and totally go with the flow cannot keep to a schedule to save your life is other end of the spectrum, where do you tend to fall?
Are you willing to provide a short written idea of how the day went each day (activities/how the babies ate/nap time)
How do you feel about taking charge with the kids while one of us is home?
Proactive- how do you work with little direction? If my attention is elsewhere, and you need to make decisions or if there is downtime, what do you do?
Multi-Tasking- how do you handle stress? How would you handle juggling two babies and two kids plus any additional activities?
Patience- what do you do when you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed? How do you handle being pulled in three different directions? If two babies are crying, one needs help with homework and the other just wants your attention, what would you do?
Cooking- How do you feel about making baby food? Dinner for kids? What is their diet like? Do they have special dietary needs? Are they creative in the kitchen or do they need direction?
Comforting- how would you handle comforting two babies at once while mom is busy with kids?
Are you willing to do basic cooking for the kids meals?
Are you willing to do light chores while our baby is sleeping? Which ones?
- Babies/kids laundry
- Picking up playroom/other messes from the day
Are you able to be reliable? Able to be here every day and if you need to be gone able to call us ASAP?
Are you willing to work if one/both of the babies has a cold?
What would you do in case of an emergency or if one of the kids has an accident?
Are you willing to keep the cell phone off while taking care of the kids?
Would you ever be available to work evenings or weekends?
Can you provide references? yes / no
Would you mind if I ran a background check on you? yes / no
Do you smoke? yes / no
Do you like dogs? yes / no
Are u CPR certified? First –Aid Training? yes / no
Are you looking for live-in? How do you plan to get back and forth? Do you have a car?
Would you be willing to travel with our family?
What are your expectations for your own personal vacation? Sick Days?