Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Top 7 Most Important Domains You Need to Ask About

Nurturing/Tending to needs

There are MANY questions to be asked over the period of time from the initial phone screening, and 1st and 2nd interview, however, there are 7 domains that absolutely need to be addressed. These are 1) Safety 2) Interaction/Engaging 3) Communication 4) Discipline/Responsibility 5) Nurturing/Tending to needs 6) Nourishment and 7) Personal/Professional. Below I have included a sample list of questions (this is by no means comprehensive!) that you may ask related to each domain. Every family is different and has different needs. You will need to adapt these questions to fit your needs (ages of child, etc) – that is why I encourage families to focus on the domains and think about how these important domains apply to your family’s needs. Furthermore, these domains should continue to be your guide beyond the interview process.

Safety should be your number one priority! That is why we do so much prescreening and background checking!

-Are you infant/child CPR certified and first aid certified? If no, how do you feel about us having you go to get certified?
-What would you do if my child fell off their bike and knocked their teeth on the cement? Or for a baby, what would you do if my child rolled off the changing table?
-Do you know how to properly install a car seat? Do you know what the guidelines are for age and weight related to car seats?

And here is the rest of it.

-How will you plan to spend your time with my baby/child? Please describe a typical day. Listen for activities that are important to your family (reading books, playground, museum, etc).
-For babies, ask them about what types of games they will play. Listen for responses rich in singing, holding, swaying, floor time, reflecting facial expressions.
-Give me an example of how you can make laundry or preparing a meal a learning experience.
-What activities will you arrange for my child on a rainy day?

-When a problem, concern, or disagreement has come up in the past with an employer, how did you handle it?
-How do you usually communicate the days events to the parents you have worked for in the past? Listen for them talking about checking-in in the morning, or afternoon, or using tools such as a notebook, or texting, or cell phone.
-Tell me about a situation where something happened and you had to call a parent right away. I know this is a tough question to hear the answer to, but listen to the steps that were taken. Do they seem reasonable? Were they thinking clearly?


-How do you think children should be disciplined? Listen for them to defer to you. For example, “I ask how the parents would like me to handle the situation before these situations come up and follow what they say.”
-My child just wrecked his room. Toys are everywhere. How do you address this? Listen for age-appropriate responses. For example, younger children need help to clean it up, did they speak to the child about the behavior, did they try to make cleaning up a game? Do they have a “clean-up” song?
-My child pulls your hair and then laughs. What would be your first reaction? If they say “ow!” that’s appropriate. It’s what they do with that “Ow” that matters! Are they able to be calm and respond with an age appropriate response?

Nurturing/Tending to their needs
-How will you soothe my child when they are feeling sad or hurt or upset? Listen for holding, talking to them in a sweet voice with sweet words, offering the child something they will enjoy – like reading a book or doing an activity. For babies, soothing, swaying, singing, holding, making sure child is dressed properly, diaper, hungry, etc.
-What techniques do you employ when you can tell my child is getting a little tired and cranky?
-What kind of games do you like to play with kids? The best nannies will be creative! And may even tell you about games they created with children.

-For babies, ask about the nannies familiarity with this age group, timing feeding with napping, or for breastfeeding moms, how will the arrangement play out?
-For older children, ask them to describe a full days worth of meals! Including those crunchy snacks tucked away in backpacks for trips around town, etc.
-My child goes to a birthday party and will not eat the meal. He only wants cake. How do you proceed?

-What interests you about this job?
-We celebrate __________ (Christmas, Hanukkah, Halloween, Easter, etc) how do you feel about caring for my child and celebrating these holidays? For example, trick-or-treating, singing songs, etc).
-What ages of children have you looked after in the past?
-Tell me about a memorable moment with a child you have looked after.
-What expertise do you have that you can contribute to our family?
-How long can you commit to my family?
-What other responsibilities do you have outside of your job? Do they have a family of their own? What will happen if their own children are home sick from school?
-What do you like to do in your spare time?
-What in your life has prepared you for this kind of job?
-What are your future goals? A family of their own? Successful actor?

Again, this is by no means a comprehensive list! These are only a sprinkling of questions believe it or not! Many questions should be answered by your agency’s screening prior to you meeting the candidate. Check back next month for the most common errors made by parents in the interview process!

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