Whether you’re searching for a full-time nanny or an occasional babysitter, choosing someone to watch your little one is an important decision.
“A caretaker is an extension of the parents’ eyes, ears and heart,” says Florence Ann Romano, nanny expert. “Find someone to complement your job well done.”
Ask for recommendations
If you’re a brand-new mama looking for child care, start by asking for referrals from friends, family and co-workers. “The beauty of being referred to someone is that you have a built-in verification process, assuming you trust the person from whom you’re asking advice,” Romano says.
Trust but verify
It’s nice to have a neighbor vouch for a potential nanny or babysitter, but “this doesn’t let you off the hook by any means,” says Romano. “You still need to do your due diligence.” You’re hiring this person to give you and your family peace of mind, security and love. So, ask for multiple references (and follow up with them!), search for them on social media, or run a background check. “Don’t stop until all is well with your soul,” encourages Romano. “In other words, keep asking for information until you feel satisfied and at peace with whomever has won the job.”
Talk, then talk more
Clock some quality time with anyone you’re considering hiring. Romano suggests a tiered interview process, as opposed to a single meet-and-greet. “The idea behind this is transparency: You want to get to know that person as deeply and truly as you can before trusting them with life’s most precious possessions.” Have the initial interview at a local coffee shop. If all goes well, let a prospective caretaker spend time at your home with your child—all while you observe.
Wondering what to ask during an interview beyond the usual get-to-know-you questions? Here are five queries worth bringing up:
- Where do you feel the job of a caretaker ends and the job of a parent begins?
- How would you handle an emergency situation, if for example the baby were choking?
- Tell me about a time that you and the parent didn’t see eye to eye, and how was it resolved?
- How would you define discipline?
- What do you think would be a fair hourly rate?