Before you start looking for a nanny, you should first define the qualities of a caregiver that will suit your family. One of these qualities should be their experience, but how do you know how much experience is enough?
General Experience and Specific Experience
In general, the more years that a nanny has been caring for children, the better. But the question is not merely how many years have they been working for, but also what kind of experience they have.
Every family is different and has unique needs. The key is to consider the finer details of a caregiver’s past engagements and determine if they are suitable for your family.
For example, if you have four or more children, then you might want to search for nannies who have experience in working with big families. Maybe your child has special needs, learning difficulties or trouble sleeping? You may need a nanny with particular qualifications, rather than a nanny who has many years of general experience.
The other key distinction you must be aware of is the difference between a nanny and a babysitter. If an applicant for your position is claiming many years of experience caring for children, you need to ask about the capacity of this care. Babysitting children on the occasional evening is very different to nannying, which is the long-term care of children and providing support to families.
Keep this in mind when you are listing your key criteria for choosing a caregiver. While experience is a helpful indicator of a nanny’s capabilities, the most important element is how much your children will connect with them.
The Key Questions to Ask a Potential Nanny About Their Experience
While you may outline the description of a caregiver in your job ad, you also need to prepare for the interview. Make a list of questions that are related to the nanny’s previous experience, and feel free to go into details as this will help you decide whether they will be the right fit for your family.
Here are some important questions to ask (some might not be relevant to you, so feel free to choose the ones that are or replace them with your own wording):
- How many years have you cared for children?
- What kinds of situations have you worked in?
- Do you consider yourself a professional caregiver? (ie. someone that has chosen nannying as a profession)
- Have you worked with other children the same age?
- Do you have experience with children who have medical needs?
- Do you have experience preparing bottles?
- Do you have experience following dietary restrictions and avoiding food allergies?
- Do you have experience introducing a baby to solid food?
- Do you have experience navigating unusual or difficult family dynamics?
- Have you worked with children who had similar needs?
- How many children have you worked with at the one time?
- Do you have any special qualifications? (e.g., Certificate III in Early Childhood Education).
- Do you have a First Aid Certificate and CPR training? If not, are you willing to get training?
- Have you ever handled an emergency situation during the care of a child? What did you do?