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Welcome to Dear Emily: Ask A Nanny
Emily is one of our Simply Real Moms who just happens to be a full-time nanny of eight years and counting. She has seen it all—the good, the bad and the downright ugly, and each post she’ll answer a question from a reader on topics that span from conception to adulthood. Nothing is off limits, and everything will be answered honestly. 

Dear Emily,
We are about to hire our first nanny for our nine-month-old daughter. What types of questions should I ask our candidates? Are there any red flags I should look for?


Hi Lauren!
You came to the right place! While I have never hired a nanny, I have been through many, many nanny interviews, including helping to choose nannies to follow me. I have also seen some things done by other nannies I would NOT want in a nanny for myself.

Before you interview any nannies, make sure to sit down with your significant other (if you’re able) and talk about what is really important to you. Make lists of must-haves and must-nots!

My absolute favorite questions for prospective nannies are:

  • Why do you want to be a nanny?

I have been asked this by only one family—the one I work for now, and the family I have been with the longest. I LOVED that they asked me that because I felt this was my calling! I have always wanted to be a mom, and I went into the closest career there was to being a mom! “Until I can become a mom, I want to help other moms,” was my answer. I feel like if I was looking for my own nanny I would want an answer like that, too! You want someone who really does love to be around kids and WANTS to take care of your kids!

  • How do you feel about nanny cams?

So this is kind of a controversial subject to some, but here’s my thinking: Whether or not a family plans on having a “nanny cam,” the question itself can speak volumes. I would have no issue with a family keeping a nanny cam in their home. I know that they won’t need it, but if it gives them peace of mind, have at it! Every nanny should be ok with having a nanny cam if the parents really want one, and it should raise warning flags if someone says they aren’t comfortable with it.

  • Can we do a background check on you?

YES, AND YOU SHOULD. Any person you are leaving your children with should be checked out. Criminal, job references (even if they aren’t childcare-related) and driving records should all be checked out, and the nanny should be ok with you doing that.

  • How would you react if the baby is inconsolable?

This is a sample question, but give them a specific scenario they may get with your child and ask how they would handle it.

  • What would your ideal family/parents to work for look like?

Find out if your family is what the potential nanny is looking for as well … this is a two-way street.

  • What kind of discipline do you use?

Even though a nanny should always use the same discipline methods you do, find out how they feel about discipline. If they are different or conflicting, ask how they feel about using your method.

  • How would you spend the day with my child(ren)?

No brainer, but see what they come up with. It can make it easier to choose someone whose style resembles your own!

There are so many questions to ask a nanny! I mean, they’ll be watching your baby!

Make sure to ask about experience, cpr/first aid training, if they have a valid driver’s license, if they are willing to help around the house (if that’s what you want), and how soon they can start!

Above all, go with your gut feeling. Someone can have all the right answers but not feel like a good fit for you or your child(ren), and that’s ok. A nanny is a sort of extended family member who will be in your home daily, so you have to feel comfortable with them.

If you are looking for a great nanny database, my personal choice is Great Aupair. I have personally used this site a few times, and it asks a lot of great questions from their nannies! You can find someone local or global too! Searching is free, but you do have to register to contact a nanny through email. The fee is well worth it though!

*I was not compensated to mention Great Aupair. I have personally used, trust and can recommend their services.