Nanny Questions about Nanny Job Duties
Contributed by Dorothy Popovich
These questions are an absolute must for any nanny job interview. Be detailed and specific. If the family says "Take care of the bathrooms" make sure you know whether that means pick up towels and wipe toothpaste off the counters or whether they expect floors scrubbed and toilets cleaned. If the family says "Help with dinner" does that mean defrost the roast, or cook the entire meal? Here are some questions that I find helpful.
- Describe for me what you expect from a nanny.
- What are the hours?
- What are my expected child care duties?
- What are my expected housekeeping duties?
- What role do you expect me as a nanny to play in discipline and behavioral development?
- Describe your last nanny's job duties.
- How involved do you need the nanny to be in communications with teachers, therapists, doctors etc.?
- Would there be any overnights or weekends involved for the nanny?
- How would you prefer crisis situations to be handled? (e.g. at discretion of the nanny or call you first for advice)
- Is there a particular parent who is the primary contact for the nanny?
- Is the nanny required to drive the children anywhere?
- Do you expect the children to clean up after themselves, or do you expect the nanny to clean up after the children?
- When you are home and nanny is too, do you expect the nanny to continue as the person in "charge" or do you prefer to be? Do you have any communication 'codes' to hand off these kind of responsibilities?
- Are there other duties you expect the nanny to do besides childcare?
(e.g. laundry, housekeeping, errands, pet care, organizing, cooking, teaching certain skills/subject areas?)
- During nap time, is the nanny allowed to: talk on the phone, watch TV, use the computer or do email?
Listen carefully to the responses to these questions. The degree of discretion that parents will allow a nanny varies widely. Some families want the nanny to take charge, use common sense, and communicate (via a nanny log) the big pictures, and don't sweat the details. Other families are very controlling of the nanny's activities, authority, etc. and leave the nanny very little latitude. If you are a take charge individual the latter will never work. If you prefer to know exactly what the family wants done and when, being left in charge without detailed instructions will make you very uncomfortable. This is a very important 'management style' issue that goes to the heart of nanny:parent relationships.
- Would you like me to use a "nanny log", a daily summary of my day with the children? See Sample Nanny Log
- Do you consider a nanny a business relationship between nanny and parents or as a part of your family?
- How do you typically resolve (or think you would) disagreements
with your nanny?
- Would you like your nanny to go to birthday parties, out to eat with the family and other family events? If so, would the nanny be expected to perform her "job duties" or just be part of the family?
- How would you feel if I approached you with suggestions on approaches to a specific behavior of your child, or observed a developmental area that I felt was a concern? Am I free to discuss these things with you or would you prefer I kept my opinions to myself? How would you like those issues brought up?
- Do you believe that a nanny-parent relationship is more a parental team partnership with give and take and exchange of ideas and opinion, or more of an extra pair of hands to care for your child when you cannot, a person who will carry out your wishes unfailingly?
- Perhaps if I was your children's nanny, there would be some time when I was in disagreement with something you were doing or not doing concerning your children? How would you react if I brought up a subject like that?
- Perhaps you would observe me working with your children in a manner that you do not feel is appropriate or best (not dangerous or abusive). Would you keep your opinion to yourself, take me aside and discuss with me later, or correct me immediately?
This list is a work in progress. Any suggestions are appreciated, please send them to me via this website.