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Nanny Questions About the Parents' Child Rearing Philosophies

Contributed by Dorothy Popovich

When you think about a nanny job, you usually do so in the context of the relationship you would like to develop with a child. That's important. Understand, however, that the parents' relationship with their child and their philosophies on childrearing will be the foundation upon which you build the nanny-child relationship. This is the parents' house, their children, and you must be able to be philosophically comfortable with their styles because those are what you are committing to follow.

  • On a scale of 1-10, (1 being very unstructured, and 10 being very strict) where would you say your parenting style falls?
  • Do you have set rules for your children? What are they? Use this as an opportunity to explain YOUR rules and to explore whether you and the family will be able to comfortably work together. The family has the right to expect the nanny to conform to their philosophies on discipline and childrearing. If you cannot get comfortable within their guidelines, the job will never work out.
  • What are your parental views on: video games, getting dirty, eating, TV?
  • Do you let your children watch TV? How much? If just certain shows, channels, which ones?
  • Do you let your children watch movies? Does the nanny have to ask you before bringing one over?
  • Do you give your child food when they are hungry or at set times?
  • What do you do when your child misbehaves? Does your child (children) respond to a particular method of discipline?(e.g. negotiation, choices, raising voice, the look, taking away things, ignoring, removing from a situation, time-out, threatening to remove, take away something, bribing with something they like, spanking, sending them to their room etc.) Discuss what discipline method the parents prefer that the nanny use. WARNING! No matter what the parents feelings on the subject, a nanny should never physically punish a child in their care - NO SPANKING!
  • What kinds of things do the children do that will result in those actions?
  • What types of communication in general work with each child? (e.g. hinting so they figure it out, direct statements/requests, offering choices, open ended questions/statements, close ended questions/statements?)
  • Do any of the children throw tantrums? What method of action appears to work best?
  • Are you open to me using other methods of treating children's misbehaviors/tantrums etc?
  • Ask some 'for instance' type questions. These have no right or wrong answer, but give the nanny candidate a great deal of insight into the parent's mindset. For example, "If your 3 year old picked out a checkered shirt, and plaid pants to wear to school, how would you react?" Parents may respond that they let the child choose, or they may suggest alternatives, or simply refuse to allow the child to wear the unsightly combination and choose for them.
  • Do you buy "girl toys" for girls and "boy toys" for boys? Is it OK if they play with ones that aren't?
  • Do you read books at random, at bed time or do you do both?

This list is a work in progress. Any suggestions are appreciated, please send them to me via this website.

Family Background Information Questions

Family Lifestyle Information Questions

Questions about Parent-Child Relationship

Questions about Family Child Rearing Philosophies

Questions for the Family with an Infant

Questions for the Family with Young Children

Questions about Parent's Personality

Questions Related to Health and Safety of Child(ren)

Questions about Nanny Expenses

Nanny Job Duties and Relationship with Family

Questions about Prior Childcare Arrangements

Nanny Living Arrangements

What to do AFTER the Interview...