Finding that first job can be difficult – you want experience, but you are worried you can’t get hired without any. Positions like babysitting or becoming a nanny are great ways to gain that experience and can also open you up to valuable connections in your area.
Interviewing for a child care position is a little different than your average interview. Instead of an office, you may be at someone’s home, meeting the family and children.
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 that define 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 conditions that require 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?
The bottom line
You and your employer both want what’s best for the child. Establish strong lines of communication from the beginning, and make every effort to keep those lines open as your relationship evolves.
Did you know?
In 2004, the National Association for the Education of Young Children found that most parents want the people involved in the care of their children to act as “a social and moral assistant in their child’s development.”
Check out the Care.com listings on Snagajob for thousands of child care positions across the country!
Author’s note: This article originally appeared on Care.com., which is an online resource helping families and care providers connect, share care giving experiences and get advice. Care.com addresses the unique lifecycle of care needs that each family goes through – child care, senior care, special needs care, tutoring, pet care, housekeeping and more.