Parenting Information

Finding A Caregiver You Can Trust

Choosing to leave your child with a caregiver is one of the most important decisions you will make. When hiring a caregiver or nanny for your child, there are several important steps you need to take to minimize potential risks of hiring someone who will not be a good fit for your child and family.

When interviewing your caregiver, remember you're interviewing them for one of the most important jobs in your world - caring for your child. Taking care of children is not easy - you want to select a caregiver with a positive, nurturing attitude who will efficiently take care of your child and provide stimulating learning opportunities along the way. Wow - that's a lot to ask for, especially considering current caregiver salaries.

Here is our guide for interviewing caregivers and nannies:

List lifestyle and personal qualities important to you. Are there particular religious or cultural beliefs that are important to your family and that you want your caretaker to also have. This could include things like religion, cultural background, discipline beliefs and lifestyle.

Treat the interviews as if you were a corporation hiring a Vice President for your team. Ask her position on the topic and explain its importance and role in the upbringing of your child. If there are any concerns about work schedules or beliefs, you want to discuss it now before making a hiring decision. Using your list as a guide, ask questions about their personality, how they approach childcare and explore their commitment to the job.

Interview the candidate several times. You should meet with the prospective caregiver at least twice and have a spouse or friend meet with them for a second unbiased opinion. Prepare a list of questions in advance to make sure you get the important ones answered so you can make an informed decision.

Some key questions to ask when hiring a nanny or childcare provider:

  • What is your discipline policy?
  • How would you handle separation anxiety?
  • What would a typical day's routine look like for my child?
  • How would you handle a child that has the flu?
  • What would you say your normal disposition is?
  • Is there anything that would affect your being able to come to work on a regular basis?

Always do a background check. The International Nanny Association reports that at least 5% of nanny applicants have a criminal record. They also explain that these candidates may gravitate towards answering newspaper ads or working with agencies who do not require a background check.

Ask for references. A good quality nanny candidate will have at least one or two people who can vouch for their character and past childcare experience. Ask the references why the nanny left their employment, if they would re-hire her and if they would recommend her.

Training in early childhood development. You should find out if the candidate has had education or training in early childhood development and why she is interested in working with young children. You want a caregiver who will stimulate your child with activities and experiences in music, art and play. A nanny with some knowledge of early childhood development will know what activities are appropriate for your child's age and developmental stage.

Go with your gut. If your instinct gives you the feeling that something is not quite right, you're probably unconsciously picking up on body language, attitude or just an odd feeling that makes you uncomfortable. Listen to your intuition, pass on the candidate and move along. It's better to recognize your discomfort level now than constantly wonder whether you made the right decision.

Introduce the candidate to your child. When you've narrowed down the field, introduce your two final caregiver candidates to your child. Observe the interaction between the two. It may be hard depending on your child and how well they accept new faces, but a good nanny will know how to draw children out. If your child is old enough, ask them what they thought about each candidate.

About the Author

For more great information about expecting and parenting, visit, a site for moms by moms. Annie Valle is a freelance writer, web designer and a mom. You'll find product reviews, recipes, baby names, free projects and more, when you visit

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