Nanny Check: Tips for Screening Caregivers


If you are considering hiring a nanny, babysitter, or another type of caregiver to support your children, there are several essential things to consider. The process of hiring a nanny should consist of at least two parts. First, you should thoroughly interview those who apply for the position. Second, you should conduct a nanny background check to gather additional data and information on the person.

How to Run a Nanny Check?

When ordering the actual history check, you generally have two choices. The first option is to hire someone to do it for you. Many reputable background investigation services will do all the leg work for a fee. Learn about background checks and get a list of companies that may do employment checks.

Search for criminal records, arrest records, bankruptcies, and more. In addition, you can find people using an address, phone number, and email lookups.

List of Questions for Applicants

Following is a list of questions to ask potential candidates during the initial interview. During the interview, please consider the applicant’s demeanor, comfort level, and craft knowledge.

First, start with some icebreaker questions. Examples include:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • How long have you worked in childcare or with children?
  • What do you like most about caring for others?
  • What are your most vital qualities?
  • Are you willing to drive and/or pick up the children at daycare, school, playground, etc.?  If so, how is your driving record?
  • Where have you lived in the past ten years, and for how long?
  • Do you have personal and professional references?

Then, ask a few questions about their academic/educational background. Ask questions such as: What high school did you attend? Where did you go to college? What did you major in? What was your favorite subject and why? What types of childcare classes did you take?

Next, ask questions about their personal life. For example: Where did you grow up? How would you describe your childhood? Tell me about your family.

Other things to discuss include the following:

  • Safety questions – Do you have certifications in CPR, first responder training, and first aid? Have you ever had a child that was injured? What would you do if a child bumped their head?
  • Age-specific – What do you do to help quiet a baby? What activities do you know can stimulate a child’s mind? Have you ever potty trained a child? How would you teach a toddler good eating habits?

What’s Included in a Nanny Check?

Quite often, online profiles and resumes don’t reflect the actual truth. In addition, people stretch the truth in interviews because they want to present themselves in the best light. If you want to know more about an applicant, consider doing a nanny background check.

A nanny background check is not any different from those done on prospective employees, loan applicants, or gun buyers. Although, you may interpret the information differently because you’re hiring someone to care for your child.

A background investigation for a caregiver may include some combination of the following:

  • Verify residential history. This check looks at where the person lives or used to live. Don’t discount the importance of this essential information. Does the applicant have ANY residential history? Does the person move around a lot? Were the residences in their name? Do they have a residence in your local area? Is the history consistent with what you discussed in the interview?
  • Verify employment history. The types of jobs the applicant held in the past will indicate their ability to be a good caregiver. Look for experience working with people, especially with children.
  • Verify academic credentials. Did the applicant attend school? If so, where? Is this information consistent with what they have on their resume?
  • Criminal History Search. Does the applicant have a criminal record? Generally, any criminal record should be viewed as a deal-breaker. If the applicant is willing to break the law, they should generally not be trusted with your children. This is not a hard and fast rule.
  • Sex offender registry check. This is a critical step in the investigation process. Learn how to find out if a sex offender lives in your area.
  • Driving History. A driving history check will tell you if you can trust the applicant to drive with your child. This looks for traffic tickets and citations and automobile accidents.
  • Professional License Check. It looks to see if the individual has any professional licenses, including those related to childcare.
  • Liens and Judgments. Outstanding liens and judgments can provide a snapshot of a person’s accountability. Also, a person in a bad financial situation may be motivated to steal from you and your home.

After Hiring a Nanny

Once you’ve made a hiring decision and the nanny, babysitter, or caregiver works in your home, what’s next? You may want to keep an eye on them using cameras. In most cases, you are better off making everyone aware that the cameras exist. Recording someone with a hidden camera is illegal in most states. If you still want to do it covertly, look at the latest hidden cameras.

In addition, a parent should continue monitoring the child’s safety. The following is a list of signs of a good caregiver:

  • Your child appears to be happy when they are with the nanny
  • Your child says nice things about the caregiver
  • The caregiver arrives on time, stays the required amount of time, and stays with you until the job is finished
  • The caregiver is proactive, makes suggestions, and calls problems (or potential problems) to your attention
  • Your child’s behavior is consistent when the caregiver isn’t around

Questions and Comments

Please comment below if you have questions about conducting a nanny background check.


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