Guest Author - Lisa Polovin Pinkus
Hiring a nanny or babysitter to care for your children is a heavy-duty responsibility for a parent. We want to make sure we hire someone who will be another adult role model, who will treat our children the way we want them to be treated, and – ultimately – who will become part of our families. Places to look for a caretaker include the local college, referrals from friends, an older child of one of your friends, or professional agencies who do a lot of the work for you.
When conducting your interview, be thorough with your questions, collect several references, and observe potential candidates interacting with your children. Here is a list of questions to choose from when creating your interview questionnaire.
Ask prospective hires to tell you about their childcare experience –
Do you have experience with newborns?
How many children have you supervised at one time?
Tell me about the other families you have worked for.
Why are you looking for a childcare position?
Inquire about their future goals –
Where would you like to be in five years?
For candidates currently in school – what are you studying?
What are you hoping to do once you graduate?
What do you like to do in your free time?
What other responsibilities do you have outside of school?
Be sure to get some information about their skills and certifications –
Are you CPR and/or first aid certified?
If not, are you willing to get CPR/first aid certified?
Do you possess a valid driver’s license?
Have you ever received a ticket?
Have you ever had to handle an emergency while caring for a child?
How thorough has your candidate contemplated the care of children –
What are your personal beliefs about discipline and setting limits?
If they differ from your household, you may need to get more information –
Are they willing to unite with your household expectations?
Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve observed a parent handling a situation in a way that was uncomfortable for you? What did you do?
Asking questions about their family life might help you to see what kind of relationships they form –
How many siblings do you have?
Are you close with your family?
Would you be willing to let me call your parents? I have never really called someone’s parents – I just want to know if they are willing to let me speak with them.
Throw out some of the parenting challenges that can happen on any given day –
What would you do if my three-year old was having a tantrum and wouldn’t put away her toys?
How would you handle the bedtime routine when one of the children is having a hard time settling down?
How would you balance the varying needs of different aged children?
What type of activities would you suggest to engage the children?
Make certain to have a list of responsibilities you expect the person to manage –
Do you mind doing light housekeeping – putting away toys, wiping off the kitchen counters, putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher?
Can you help with homework? How will you help the older children with homework and supervise the younger children?
Are you willing to prepare light meals for the children, bathe the children, and drive the children to after-school activities?
Are you looking for a long-term position? Or just a summer position?
These questions and a thorough discussion with potential sitters will help you get to know each other. Beyond that, your mother’s instinct will also assist you in determining if this person is a good fit for your family.
When you hire the right caretaker for your children, you gain a new member of your family. It is nice for children to have an adult influence and role model aside from parents and other family members. A caretaker can stay in your children’s lives long after he or she is done babysitting them.