Being a working mom is hard enough as it is. Not only do you have to go to work and earn that paycheck, but sometimes that can mean leaving your child with someone that isn’t part of your family. Hiring a nanny can be stressful and emotionally draining, and with all that’s happening to your family, you might forget to ask some critical questions. Here are some helpful questions to ask when making this important decision.
1) Why do you want to work with children?
This is one of the most important questions and should be asked right up front. What’s their reason for wanting to work with your child? Their answer will help you understand their motivations. If you plan on hiring them, make sure you feel comfortable with their response.
2) What was the reason you left your last family?
Maybe the family moved, or the kids are now in school, but you have the right to know why they aren’t employed at their former job. Be on the lookout for nannies that are still being used for date nights or on the weekends. This signals that the family doesn’t need them on a full-time basis anymore, but still likes to keep them around.
3) What’s the youngest age you’ve worked with?
Sometimes maternity leave for working moms is as short as six weeks. Make sure that you find someone with experience in the age range of your child. If your child has reflux, GERT, or any special needs, make sure that you ask them if they have experience with that as well. If they don’t, it doesn’t mean they’re not good at their jobs, but it brings tremendous peace of mind if they have worked with your child’s condition before.
4) Do you smoke or does anyone in your house?
This question is crucial for preemies. Even if they don’t personally smoke, the particles from someone else in their house can linger on their clothes or in their hair. If you have a child with a compromised immune system, you need to be especially careful. Pediatricians recommend finding a non-smoker, but if that’s not an option for you, make sure they at least change into a clean, smoke-free shirt when they come into your house.
5) Do you have the current flu/whooping cough vaccination?
This goes for any other vaccinations that are important for the health of your child. If they do not have the current treatments, ask if they would be willing to get them. In most cases, you would have to pay for these out of your pocket. Make sure that they bring you the documentation after their doctor’s visit.
6) If you work with other children, are they vaccinated?
Although you can’t ask for the specifics, you should know if the other children they come in contact with are being vaccinated. This is especially important if your child cannot be treated for health reasons or has a compromised immune system.
7) Are you CPR certified?
Some hospitals offer their infant CPR classes for free to anyone that wants to learn. If they are not educated in CPR, ask if they would attend a class with you. At the very least, there are YouTube videos that describe and demonstrate it. Knowing CPR becomes increasingly more important as the child gets older and starts to put things in their mouth.
8) What’s your discipline style?
Even if you’re looking for a nanny for your infant, it’s important to know their philosophies on discipline. You may want to keep this person around as your child gets older, so it’s important to understand how they would handle tantrums or defiant behavior. Make sure it’s something that you are comfortable with and don’t wait until the first incident to broach this subject.
9) Do you have reliable transportation?
Your time is valuable, and as a working mom, you can’t put your career or job on the line because you’re late waiting on the nanny to show up. It’s okay if the nanny gets dropped off or takes the bus, but make sure that they are punctual if your job requires you to be there at a particular time.
10) Are you allergic to animals?
Just as the health of your baby is important to you, the health of the nanny is equally essential. If you have pets, let them know right away so they can decide if they want to work in that environment. If they’re allergic, keep in mind that pet hair clings to your furniture and floors and could result in an attack for the nanny even if you leave the animals in a different room.