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Meet the Parents: How to Interview for Child Care Jobs

Questions to ask when you're talking with families about a nanny or babysitter job.

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

Before you accept a job, you need to know what parents want their children to be doing, eating, wearing, and watching. If you ask the right questions in the beginning, you'll have a better idea of what's expected of you down the line, and you'll likely forge stronger relationships with parents and children alike.

Ask Questions About Your Role

  • 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?
  • What do you expect of me? Will I cook meals? Do housework? Wash clothes? Provide homework help?
  • What are your rules for talking on the telephone? Watching television? Using the Internet?
  • How do you expect me to discipline your child?
  • What resources and contacts do you have if there is an emergency?

Ask Questions About the Child

  • Is your child on any medications? Does he have any special medical needs, such as allergies or asthma?
  • What are his chores and responsibilities?
  • What are his favorite toys, books, and things to do?
  • What do you and your child do in your spare time?
  • Does he have any nicknames? Imaginary friends?
  • Is there anything that scares him?
  • Does he have unusual habits?
  • Does he have any habits you are trying to break? Reinforce?
  • Does he need help in specific areas of discipline, such as sharing or playing with other children?
  • Is there any sibling rivalry? When does this arise?
  • Are there any religious or cultural matters I should be aware of?
  • At what point should I contact you if a disciplinary issue arises?

You and your employer both want what's best for the child. Establish strong lines of communication from the start and make every effort to keep those lines open as your relationship grows.

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