Here are the top 10 most asked nanny interview questions along with suggested answers that will prepare you to answer the interview questions with ease.
1. What made you choose a career as a nanny?
The interviewer will likely be a parent or family caregiver, or someone from a nanny agency. Some interviewees will attempt to get a job as a nanny because they are not sure what kind of a job they really want, but they have babysitting experience and so intend to use a nanny position simply for a paycheck until they decide what they want to do. Merely having babysitting experience does not qualify you to be a good nanny. Use your answer to this question to show the interviewer that you are passionate about children, want to spend time with children, and understand the seriousness and the responsibility of ensuring the safety and welfare of little human lives.
I discovered my love of caring for children when I started babysitting for neighbors while in high school. Initially, I babysat just to earn some extra money. As I spent more time with children of various ages, I discovered how satisfying it was to play with them, nurture them, and teach them life skills. I enjoyed being part of their development and being able to help shape who they would become. Aside from those pleasurable aspects of the job, being a nanny is a serious responsbility where you always need to be watching and anticipating so that you can keep the child safe. It takes maturity and judgment to maintain a balance of fun and engagement with the child, while they are well-protected from any sort of danger or accident. Needless to say, when I am on the job, my phone is put away and my focus is 100% on the children’s happiness and welfare.
2. If you disagreed with the parenting style of a family you worked with, how would you deal with this?
The interviewer is trying to find out how you would deal with different parenting approaches and styles that differ from yours. They are hiring someone to look after their children, and are looking for someone who will be a replacement for them while they are unavailable to care for their children. When you are a nanny, you do not have to agree with their parenting style, but unless the style is harmful to the child, you should have the ability to do the job you are hired to do, which includes complying with the parents’ wishes and maintaining continuity of parenting styles.
Fortunately, I haven’t had this experience. Before accepting a role as a nanny, I would do my best to find out if we had similar approaches, especially on key issues such as how to discipline or reward a child. If we had very different approaches, I would learn about the parents’ approach and make sure it was something I could implement. Unless I felt that an approach was harmful or bad for a child, I would be happy to implement the parents’ approach. It is best that a child has consistency from his or her caregivers. There are many ways to raise a child, and just because someone’s way is different does not make it right or wrong.
3. What are the most important qualities of a good nanny?
The interviewer will have their own ideas about what qualities a good nanny should have. The interviewer is using this question to see what you think are the most important parts of your job. Before the interview, think about what is most important to a parent when leaving their child in someone else’s care. Focus on those qualities when answering this question and show the interviewer you have those qualities.
I realize that in looking after someone else’s children, I am being trusted to care for someone precious to them. For me, that means that safety is #1. A nanny must keep the children safe and healthy, and if anything should happen, must have the judgment to take the appropriate actions quickly. Second, a good nanny must be trustworthy and have integrity. The parents need to be able to know that I will do what they ask of me, and am 100% honest. Third, a good nanny needs to be 100% engaged. She needs to put away her phone, get down on the floor with the kiddos, and give all of her focus to them. And fourth, a good nanny needs to make the children feel comfortable and happy in his/her parents’ absence. Depending on the ages of the children and the expectations of the role (such as if the nanny will be primarily playing with the children, or if there is homework or other activities), other qualities will be important.
4. Tell me about your experience as a nanny.
This question asks about your experience, but it is an opportunity to show your passion for children. While you should answer the question with the obvious information about your various jobs and the length of the jobs, you should also make the jobs come alive by talking about the children, their names, their ages, and fondly discuss some of their good characteristics and why you miss them. This shows that you bond with children and that nurturing them is more than just a paycheck for you.
I have been caring for children since I was in high school, when I began babysitting for my neighbors. Towards the end of high school, I found a job in a daycare, where it became clear to me that I really loved working with children. I found myself wanting to be able to spend more time with the children instead of being spread so thinly across so many children. I sought a position as a nanny so I could get to know fewer children but on a deeper level, and be able to make more of an impact in their lives. I have worked as a nanny for the last 10 years. For the first five years, I worked for the Smith family, where I was a nanny to Matt and Sarah, who were three and five when I started with them. They were the sweetest children and we all loved going to the park together and playing with Play-doh. We still send Christmas cards and FaceTime occasionally. Then for the last five years, I have been working for the Johnson family, caring for Jake and Luke, who were one and four when I started. Unfortunately, they moved out of state, but we still FaceTime. They were such sweet boys. Their parents worked a lot, so we spent quite a bit of time together during the week, on the weekends, and sometimes overnight, and I would even go on vacations with them to look after those sweet boys.
5. Tell me what you think are the biggest challenges in a nanny job.
The interviewer is trying to find out what you think are the difficult and challenging parts of the job, your level of patience, and whether or not you really like spending time with children. Use this as an opportunity to show that you recognize there are challenges in the job, but that your love of spending time with children makes you able to deal with any challenge.
As a nanny, one of the biggest challenges is to understand the different perspectives and desires of the parents when dealing with parents who themselves are not aligned with their parenting approach. Although it is a challenge, it is essential to be able to get to know the individual approaches and perspectives of the individual parents so that I can make both of the parents feel comfortable. Both parents have to feel they can trust me and that I understand their priorities.
6. If one child doesn’t enjoy doing homework or having a bath, how would you make tasks like these more exciting or easier for them?
This question is giving you an opportunity to show how you solve problems. It gives you an opportunity to talk about some of the techniques you have used in the past to overcome any particularly difficult areas. Use your answer to show you have patience and tricks to deal with moments like this.
I don’t think there is one answer to this because children are all different, so you need to consider the right approach for that individual child. Some children respond well to a sticker chart. Others respond well to having a reward for doing their homework. Some actually like homework time because it is an opportunity for them to spend some time with me, talking through the homework and helping them understand. So, to allow me to figure out what works, I would first work on getting to know the child. It may involve some trial and error to figure out what works for a particular child.
7. If a child has a temper tantrum, how would you deal with that?
Temper tantrums are not uncommon when dealing with children. The interviewer is looking to find out how you will deal with them and how you discipline children. This question gives you an opportunity to talk about the best practices you have used in the past when you have had to deal with a child having a meltdown.
With temper tantrums, I find it is best to ignore them. Of course, if the child is at risk of harming themselves or someone else, then I would remove them from that harm. By ignoring the tantrum, the child realizes that a tantrum is not producing the desired outcome. The child wants attention, and by ignoring it, you are not giving him/her that attention. Once the tantrum is over, it is important to speak with the child to explain why their behavior is unacceptable. I was a nanny to a 4-year-old and a newborn. When I was feeding the newborn, the older child threw toys on the floor. When I asked him to pick the toys up, he refused and then threw a tantrum. I did not acknowledge the tantrum, and he calmed down. I then spoke with him, explained why the behavior wasn’t acceptable, and then asked him calmly to pick up his toys. When he did so, I praised him for doing what I asked.
8. What first aid training have you had?
As the person responsible for their children, the interviewer will want to know that you can deal with any minor injuries and that you know what to do in emergencies. If you haven’t had recent training, some employers may provide you with first aid training before you work for them. Check your certifications before the interview so you are clear on when you last had training, and bring copies of any certifications you have.
As a nanny, it is my job to keep the children safe, and if something happens, know how to administer proper first aid. I undertake regular first aid training to ensure my skills are up to date. My certification was renewed in June and is valid for two years. I have a copy with me if you would like to see it.
9. Tell me about the activities you do with the children in your care.
The interviewer is looking to find out how engaged and active you will be with the children. To the extent you know the ages of the children you would be caring for in the prospective role, you should tailor your answer to that age range. You want to show that you are not going to be sitting on the couch playing with your phone, but rather 100% engaged with many activities to keep the days fresh and exciting for the children in your care.
The children in my last role were similar in ages to your children, around 5 and 7 years old. They liked to play computer games, but their parents limited their screen time to 1 hour per day. To engage them and integrate their love for their games, the children and I created storylines around their favorite games, in this case, Minecraft and Roblox. We acted out the storylines, drew them out, and practiced writing words in the stories. By trying to find activities that related to their computer game interests, the children had fun but were not in front of a screen for hours on end. They also loved to do science experiments that I came up with using basic kitchen ingredients. They were always very safe and basic, but the boys had so much fun mixing the ingredients. Overall, we were very active. We played hide-and-seek, and really, our activities were endless. They were always well worn out at the end of the day.
10. Are there any household tasks you are unwilling to perform?
Each family has different needs in addition to looking after the children. Read the job description carefully before your interview to make sure you are comfortable with everything that is listed. If you are given new information in the interview about something you would rather not do, be honest now. Don’t tell the family you are prepared to do anything just to get the job. Also, be honest about your experience level with certain tasks. If you are expected to iron and do not know how, be honest and let them know you are willing to learn. If you are not honest, there will be problems the first time you ruin a piece of clothing by ironing it improperly.
I read the job posting and I am comfortable with everything listed in it. I expect that I would clean up after the children, prepare meals for the children and the family, clean up the kitchen after mealtime, do the family laundry, change the sheets on everyone’s bed, and do light cleaning as there is time. I am happy to run errands as well. I am here to help you, so if there is something in addition that you have in mind, please let me know.
Next 40 Most Asked Nanny Interview Questions
- Do you drive? If so, how many tickets have you received in the last three years?
- How flexible are you in terms of your schedule?
- Tell me what you would do if a child you were caring for started choking.
- How do you teach children manners?
- If a child broke out in hives and didn’t have any known allergies, how would you respond to that?
- Can you provide vaccination records to show you are up to date on all your vaccinations?
- Please share your views on spanking children who are misbehaving.
- What do you like most about being a nanny?
- What age group do you prefer to look after?
- What are your views on disciplining children?
- What was a typical day like in your previous role?
- What do you like least about being a nanny?
- What do you consider to be your strengths?
- How do you deal with a crying baby?
- On rainy days, what kind of activities would you use to keep the children entertained?
- If the children have friends over, are you prepared to supervise them?
- What are your views on sleep training?
- What is your experience with potty training? How would you potty train our child?
- How would you plan a typical day for our children?
- What kinds of meals and portion sizes would you feed the children?
- What do you consider to be your weaknesses?
- How comfortable are you helping the children with their homework? Which are your weakest subjects? Your strongest?
- Have you learned to swim? Would you be comfortable taking the children swimming?
- What are your views on using your cellphone while looking after the children?
- Why should we hire you over the other applicants?
- Tell me about your cooking skills.
- Have you ever had to deal with an emergency while looking after children? Tell me about it.
- What do you find most challenging about working with children?
- What are your views on homeschooling?
- Which age group do you find most challenging to work with?
- How do you feel about taking children to classes or play dates outside of our home?
- What is your favorite memory of the children you worked with in your last role?
- Describe a typical day you would plan for our children.
- How much screen time do you think is appropriate for children?
- Are you prepared to do overnight stays occasionally?
- What are your views on a bedtime routine for children?
- What do you consider to be the best educational activities for children?
- What is the maximum number of children you have cared for at one time?
- Do you have any experience with children with allergies? If so, tell me about it.
- How would your current or previous employer describe you?
- How would you communicate with me about my children’s day?
10 Best Questions to Ask in a Nanny Interview
Once the interviewer has finished asking their questions, they should ask if you have any questions for them. If they do not, you should speak up and ask them if you can ask some questions. Asking questions shows that you are knowledgeable about your role and have an interest in the job. If you do not know much about the children you would be caring for, show your passion for children by asking questions about the children. The answers to your questions can help you evaluate if the agency or the family is a good fit for you.
- What are your expectations of a nanny?
- What are the names and ages of your children?
- What is important about each of your children for me to know?
- Is there a daily schedule for the children?
- How do you see a nanny fitting into your family?
- What methods of discipline do you use with your children?
- How often do you anticipate needing overnight stays, for what length of time, and how much advance notice are you typically able to give?
- What other responsibilities and tasks do you think a nanny should be willing to undertake?
- Is there a vehicle for use to take the children to their activities?
- What do you find most challenging about having a nanny?
When interviewing for a role as a nanny, it can feel overwhelming, particularly if you are being interviewed by the family directly. The interview is an opportunity for you to showcase your skills and experience as a nanny and to let the agency or family get to know more about you. By preparing in advance, you will sail through the interview. Remember to smile, be warm and friendly!
Keith Miller has over 25 years experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entreprenuer, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.