The Child Care Job Guide: The Child Care Job Interview

How to interview for a child care job with a family

Whether you're a professional child care provider or a teenage babysitter, parents will have a lot of questions for you in an interview. And you should have a lot of questions for them.

Before you accept a job, you will need to know what the parents want their children to be doing, eating, wearing, and watching while they are in your care. If you ask the right questions in the beginning, you'll have a better idea of what's expected of you, and you'll be able to meet expectations.

Ask questions about your role. Here are some suggestions:

  • Can you walk me through a typical day? (Or night or week, depending on the job.) What are your family' routines, and who are the people involved?
  • How many hours per week would you want me to work?
  • What do you expect of me? Will I cook meals? Do housework? Wash clothes? Provide homework help?
  • Are you open to my taking your child to local parks or playgrounds, or would you prefer that we stay at your house?
  • What are your rules for talking on the telephone? Watching television? Using the internet?
  • How do you expect me to discipline your child? At what point should I contact you if a disciplinary issue arises?
  • What resources and contacts do you have if there is an emergency?
Ask questions about the child. Here are some suggestions:
  • Does your child have any medical conditions, such as asthma or allergies? Is he on any medications?
  • Does he have any chores and responsibilities?
  • What are his favorite activities, books, and toys?
  • What do you and your child enjoy doing together?
  • Are there activities your child wants to do that you don't enjoy, but that I might do with him?
  • Does your child have any nicknames? Imaginary friends?
  • Is there anything that frightens your child?
  • Does your child have unusual habits? Should I try to help him break that habit?
  • Is there any behavior you would like me to reinforce?
  • Should I pay special attention to certain issues you would like your child to work on, such as sharing or playing with other children?
  • What sorts of sibling rivalry issues are there, if any? When do they arise?
  • Should I be aware of any religious or cultural preferences?

Be prepared to answer questions about your experience, such as these:

  • Tell us about your child care experience.
  • How long were you at your last position and why did you leave?
  • What did you like best and least about your last job?
  • What kinds of activities did you do with the child you cared for?

Be prepared to answer questions about your child care philosophy and style, such as these:

  • What do you think children need most from a caregiver?
  • How do you handle discipline issues?
  • What do you like about child care?
  • What activities do you enjoy doing with children?
  • Do you have any special skills or interests you can offer our child?

Since potential employers will most likely require that a background check be run on you, it would help to be prepared for whatever may be discovered. In fact, many people have background checks run on themselves so that they will be prepared to discuss whatever comes out.  Visit's Safety Tips page for any questions you may have about how to run a background check.

Once you have gone on an interview, received a job offer, and decided that the job is right for you, the next step is to establish good communication with your employer so that you can make sure that the job is one you enjoy and that your performance on the job meets your employer's needs.

Ronnie Friedland is an editor at She has co-edited three books on parenting and interfaith family life.

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Comments (45)
Photo of Shannon G.
Shannon G.
good suggestions. but what do you do when a family loses contact with you and you never from them at all? and you are wondering why you haven't been told anything at all. I think that is not fair to you and your time. otherwise this is a good site. Thanks!
Posted: February 26, 2016 at 4:38 PM
Photo of Joanetta P.
Joanetta P.
Linda C., I agree, there should be some way to monitor the individuals that are seeking care. Some parents have very high expectations that they themselves don't meet when caring for their own children. One thing that I do is check their profiles and see how many times they have posted for help for the same position. Multiple postings for the same position in a short period of time sends me a warning signal. I wish you the best of luck in your job search and take care.
Posted: February 04, 2016 at 10:50 PM
Linda C.
These suggestions are all well and good but my question is how do we check on parents they can check on us but I had a couple of experiences where is was not a good situation and I did not know that and was let go after a couple of weeks due to issues they had ,and I never expected that .So as a caregiver we have no background to go on for them .Wehsve to give references I feel we should be able to get references from the people we are working for as well ,and how do you do that ?
Posted: May 11, 2015 at 7:57 AM
Photo of Amanda G.
Amanda G.
Thank you so much! I have a hard time wording my questions to get the answer I need to hear, so thank you for spelling some of them out!!! This is great!
Posted: January 20, 2015 at 11:47 PM
Photo of Bonnitto H.
Bonnitto H.
Thanks for all your good suggestions,
Posted: January 19, 2015 at 11:51 PM
Photo of Susan V.
Susan V.
Great advice. Thank You !!!!
Posted: December 19, 2014 at 3:53 PM
Photo of Colleen L.
Colleen L.
Very good article and covers alot of what is necessary to know before going for an interview. Thanks!
Posted: December 16, 2014 at 7:04 PM
Photo of Nomi H.
Nomi H.
How about concerns and issues regarding families that cancel on a nanny and don't want to compensate that nanny for time she's committed and set aside for them?
Posted: December 16, 2014 at 5:14 PM
Photo of Brandy R.
Brandy R.
What a great help this is. It definitely beats sitting for an hour thinking about important questions to ask about their children. Thank you!
Posted: December 16, 2014 at 4:18 PM
Tauhida K.
Its very informative and helpful suggestions! Thanks for posting.
Posted: December 16, 2014 at 1:59 PM
Photo of Marina L.
Marina L.
Thank you , for great suggestion . I love this article.
Posted: December 16, 2014 at 12:36 PM
Tashi Y.
Thanks very helpful (awesome)
Posted: November 12, 2014 at 10:12 AM
Photo of Martha M.
Martha M.
thanks for the information, very helpful for my future interviews. Martha
Posted: October 04, 2014 at 9:41 PM
Comfort B.
This is comfort I am very happy to join the interview it helps me a lot.
Posted: October 01, 2014 at 2:00 PM
Photo of Alicia M.
Alicia M.
This article is very informative and helpful. I feel more prepared now that I have obtained this knowledge!
Posted: September 18, 2014 at 4:38 PM
Photo of April B.
April B.
Thanks you, for good suggestion I will use it
Posted: September 07, 2014 at 9:15 PM
Photo of Sayda O.
Sayda O.
Thank you so much I will do it for my interview love you...
Posted: August 31, 2014 at 10:56 AM
Photo of Christine J.
Christine J.
Thanks for the helpful suggestions I will surely use tips at my interviews.
Posted: August 07, 2014 at 11:26 PM
Jada W.
Wow! Such useful information. Thanks for the tips!
Posted: August 05, 2014 at 3:34 AM
Photo of Rosa S.
Rosa S.
Very helpful!
Posted: July 20, 2014 at 4:08 AM
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