9 Questions to Ask During a Childcare Interview

Congratulations! You’ve found a promising childcare candidate or Otter has paired you with a childcare match that could be a great fit for your family. Next, you’ll set up an interview together to have a conversation focused on getting to know each other. Interviews are an important two-way street for both careseekers (those searching for childcare) and caregivers (those providing childcare): establishing transparent and forthcoming communication for both parties will set the foundation for a successful and positive care partnership. Interviewing a caregiver is a very important step in this process!

1. Tell me about yourself and what you like to do.

Asking open-ended questions gives space to learn something you may have not expected about each person’s unique qualities and experiences. How they choose their answers provides insight into how like-minded your thought processes may be, without adding too much pressure or guiding them unintentionally to an answer.

2. What is your experience in childcare? 

Whether they are a parent themselves or have previous childcare experience, you likely want to know how many children they’ve cared for in the past, what age groups they have experience with, and if they have any special skills or knowledge, such as an early childhood education background or the ability to communicate in baby sign language. All these things will help you decide if they are the best fit for your family. 

3. What does a typical day look like for you? 

Everybody has their own rhythm to how they structure their daily life. Some people require detailed hour-by-hour schedules while others have a more flexible routine. Discussing your daily priorities for the child(ren) will help you all to merge your schedules together for care later on. 

4. What are your favorite hobbies and activities to do together with children? 

Shining a light on someone’s preferred hobbies and activities can spark new interests to weave into care time. Many parents report that they are looking for more socialization options for their children and finding common interests offers up new opportunities everyone can look forward to. 

5. What has been your proudest moment taking care of a child? 

Nurturing a child adds new layers to who we are and who we will become. Hearing about a caregiver’s accomplishments and special moments as a parent or caregiver gives them a chance to shine and showcases their personal values. 

6. How would children who you’ve taken care of before describe you? 

Hearing about a potential caregiver from the perspective of a child shows you a different side of them. It also spotlights the qualities and attributes they think will make your child love spending time with them, and gives you a look at how their personality might complement your parenting style. 

7. What is your nurturing style? 

All families have different rules and values and it’s important to understand if your potential caregiver’s childcare philosophy is in line with yours. By asking this question, you will not only be able to understand how they typically handle learning moments in a childcare setting, but also if they will be open to adjusting their style to fit your family’s beliefs and values. 

8. How do you prefer to communicate? 

Making a potential communication plan will establish norms and set expectations so everyone is on the same page from the start. What kind of information does your family want and need to know and at what intervals? This could range from a simple daily update to intricate tracking of meals, diapers, and nap times. 

9. What will my family need to provide? 

This is a great time to talk about physical needs, allergies, special accommodations and who is in charge of what. Some caregivers provide lunch and snacks. However, often it is up to the child’s parents to make sure they have everything the child needs for the day. This can range from food, to diapers and wipes, to medicine, and other incidentals like their favorite teddy bear. 

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