The Anxiety of Hiring a Nanny: Tips for the Screening Process

finding a nanny

finding a nanny

Hiring a nanny can be a frustrating and stressful process. After all, the caregiver who you select will play a major role in your child’s daily life, overall well-being, development, and other critical factors. You can avoid anxiety and find a great nanny by following these tips from experienced parents.

Check References

After conducting a brief phone interview and determining that you are interested in exploring an individual’s credentials in greater detail, ask him or her for a list of references. This should include previous families that the nanny has worked for as well as other employers from any other type of work. You should also check personal references, such as friends or family members. Prepare a list of questions to ask these individuals, and pay attention to how enthusiastic the person seems to be. If the individual seems to be holding back details, explain the importance of finding the right nanny for your child before thanking them for their cooperation. Remember that you can also use social media to check on the nanny. Social media can also be a great resource to use when confirming that references are legitimate.

Conduct a Thorough Background Check

In order to find a great nanny, you need to thoroughly explore all aspects of this individual’s background. Your prospective nanny should agree to a background check and should provide you with all essential personal details so that you can order this service from a trusted third party. This type of background check, included by many nanny-placement services and apps, may be similar to what any other employer would require or maybe comparable to the tenant screening process. In addition to checking criminal history, you may opt to look for stability in the person’s living situation and reasonable credit scores. Any areas of concern could indicate that the individual has stressors in his or her life that may impact the quality of care that your child will receive.

Identify Personality Traits

Some parents ask prospective nannies to complete a personality test so that they can determine if the individual is stable and dependable versus a careless risktaker. You may also glean details about personality traits in a less formal way through a series of in-person interviews. Observing how the individual interacts with your child can also be telling. When analyzing personality traits, consider the traits that may be best suited for your child and you. For example, if the nanny is an energetic extrovert and your child is very reserved, the two personalities may not interact well. If you are a type-A parent who likes everything just so, you probably want a detail-oriented nanny who sees eye to eye on your preferences.

In most cases, parents will interview numerous nannies before finding one who they feel comfortable leaving their child with. Be patient with the process, and avoid settling for an individual who you are not absolutely thrilled about. Regardless of how urgent your need for childcare is, this is a time to be thoughtful and thorough.

How to Interview a Babysitter – VIDEO

How to Interview a Babysitter from UrbanSitter on Vimeo. Featuring “The Quintessential Haute Mommy” Paula Miranda. Produced by 11th&B.

Five Questions to Ask A Babysitter in an Interview

We asked parenting expert, Paula Miranda, to share her top tips for interviewing a babysitter. Watch this How to Interview a Babysitter video or read on.1. What kind of experience do you have? It’s important to ask about babysitting experience–and more broadly about any experience they’ve had with children (tutoring, camp counselor, mentor, etc.). Ask specifically about the sitter’s CPR and First Aid certifications, any coursework that relates such as early childhood development, and how many years experience she has caring for young infants, toddlers, elementary aged kids, etc.

2. What kind of activities do you have planned? Have the babysitter give you an idea of the types of activities they might plan for your child: Games (hide and seek, soccer, board games), arts and crafts projects, bubbles, charades, etc. This will help you determine if the sitter will have good chemistry with your kids. If you have a budding soccer player, you’ll want a sitter who is willing to take him to the park.

3. Are you open to helping out around the house? This is a big one. If you expect anything else to be done while you’re gone — dishes, laundry, or even errands, you should ask upfront if the sitter is willing to do it.

4. Are you comfortable disciplining my child? Lay out your house rules and the methods you usually use (time out, etc.), so the sitter is not in the dark, and make sure she/he is comfortable with saying “no” and being firm.

5. What do you expect from us, the parents? This is something parents often forget about. Set your sitter up for success by asking how much guidance they want from you. For instance, the sitter might appreciate a written schedule outlining feedings, bath time, and bedtime procedures. A written list is always helpful, and don’t forget to include emergency contacts.UrbanSitter makes finding and interviewing a babysitter easy. After signing up, you’ll immediately see a selection of babysitters recommended by parents in your local network (child’s school, YMCA, or mother’s group). After narrowing your candidates, there are several types of interviews you can schedule at the click of a button:

  • Phone interview – For some parents, a phone interview is all you need. You can gauge a lot from a 10-20 minute call.
  • In-person interview – This can take place in your home or public location. At home, your kids would have a chance to meet the sitter, however, you may be able to focus better without your kids around.
  • Paid, working interview – Hiring a babysitter to watch your kids while you’re home can be a great way to get to know a sitter. You set the desired pay rate.

Check out More Questions to Ask a Babysitter in an Interview.

Top 14 Questions to Ask a Babysitter in an Interview


It has been said that finding a great babysitter is as much intuition as it is qualification. But whether you’re hiring a sitter for one Saturday night or a nanny for (hopefully) years to come, there are some key questions to ask a babysitter in an interview that will make everyone–you, your sitter, and your kids–feel more at ease. If you don’t have time for the complete list of babysitting interview questions, you should at least ask these questions. 


Top 14 Questions to Ask a Babysitter


1. What is your childcare background?

2. Do you have children of your own, nieces or nephews, godchildren, or young cousins?

3. Do you envision yourself doing this for a long period of time or just in the near future?

4. What do you think is the best form of discipline for a baby, toddler, grade-school child?

5. Do you believe tidying the house is part of your job?

6. How much do you charge and how does that relate to your experience?

7. Do you do overnights? How much do you charge for that?

8. Are you comfortable driving? Taking walks in the stroller? Going to the park, library, local cafe?

9. Do you have any current health issues that might prevent you from caring properly for my children?

10. Have you been formally trained in CPR?

11. Can you give me an example of an activity you might do with my children? (art project, hide and seek, board game, etc.)

12. Under what circumstances would you call me?

13. Under what circumstances would you call 911?

14. What do you expect from me as a parent?


3 Types of Babysitting Interviews


Remember, UrbanSitter makes it easy to find sitters to interview–and book them at the click of a button. Just log in and you’ll immediately discover dozens of babysitters recommended by people you know. From there, we give you the option to book them for jobs or an interview. We offer three types of interview:

  • Phone interview – For some parents, a phone interview is all you need. You can gauge a lot from a 10-20 minute call.
  • In-person interview – This can take place in your home or public location. At home, your kids would have a chance to meet the sitter, however, you may be able to focus better without your kids around.
  • Paid, working interview – Hiring a sitter to watch your kids while you’re home can be a great way to get to know a sitter. You set the desired pay rate.


Join UrbanSitter today and get to interviewing your next potential sitter.


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