September 1, 2021

Checking Nanny References

Deciding to hire a nanny can be a wonderful decision to make to improve your family’s home life. It’s important though that you make sure that whomever you’re allowing into your family home is trustworthy and up to the job. In our earlier blog post titled How To Hire The Best Nanny, we discuss how parents often get fooled in this stage of the hiring process and aren’t carefully checking references. In this blog post, we will be taking you through some important advice as well as questions that parents should be asking when checking nanny references.

Safety Checks

One point when checking nanny references is ensuring that you are carefully examining any phone numbers that have been provided by previous clients. Quite often you will be given a contact number for a reference that is a cell phone number. That’s typically fine, to begin with, but not only is this process designed to establish the candidate’s credentials, but you also have to establish that the reference is whom they say they are. You do that by getting his/her full name and address, his/her employer’s name and address (if they work outside the home), their home and work telephone number. It is also a good idea to check their LinkedIn (or any similar website) profile to see if there are any references mentioned.

It’s important also that you are very careful with ‘same country’ references. This is not to say that they are usually not valid, but generally have very little faith in them except when independently verified.

Speaking with the Parents

Always make an effort to speak to both parents in a previous family if possible. Often, some nannies give will just give one parent’s name as a reference. This can sometimes, but not always, be an indication of an issue with another parent, so it’s important to be aware and check this out. On the other hand, sometimes one parent may have more interaction with the nanny because other works long hours and is home less often.

If references don’t return your calls within at least 24 hours, call the nanny to see if they know whether or not they are available, as they may be on vacation.  Put the onus on the nanny to get these people to contact you.  A lack of response without cause nearly always suggests reluctance – which is not a good sign.

Once you’ve got the reference on the telephone, it’s important to consider what you should ask them. This can be overwhelming, so to make this easier we have put together a comprehensive list of questions you can ask when checking nanny references with their previous clients.

Important Questions to Ask: 

  1. How did you hire them? – was it through an online ad, agency, and friend?
  2. How long did they work for you? – get specific dates if possible.
  3. Why and when did they leave? – It’s important here to see if there were any issues here.
  4. How many kids did they take care of and what were their ages? – especially important when you’re establishing newborn experience. More information for this is available on our Newborn Care Specialist
  5. What was their typical day like? – this will give a better look into what their schedule was like.
  6. Did they perform other duties aside from childcare, like light housekeeping or running errands? – More information for the types of tasks that can be performed is on our Nanny Services
  7. What did you like most about them? – this will help give an insight into what their strengths were.
  8. Where did you feel they could have improved? – this will give an insight into what their weaknesses were.
  9. Did you ever try to get them to improve? – this will show how they respond to criticism and feedback.
  10. Were there any disagreements that took place between her and a parent? – this will show if there was any conflict in the play and give an insight into their dynamic with the parents.
  11. Did they follow instructions easily and readily? – essentially, this is to highlight their communications skills and willingness to work.
  12. Did they act on their own initiative? – this shows whether they showed confidence and assertiveness in the role.
  13. How did they disciple the children – showing what their discipline strategy is e.g. time out, and whether this aligns with your family values.
  14. How well did they communicate with you during or at the end of the day? – highlighting their communication skills and the point of contact had with the parents. 
  15. If your child had an accident how did they cope and communicate the incident to you? – once again, this will show their communication style and how their dynamic with the children is. 
  16. Are they punctual? – punctuality is a vital skill to have, to ensure children are brought to school on time, aren’t late for appointments etc.
  17. Any personal or family issues that interfered with their performance? – this will highlight any work/life imbalances that they had. 
  18. Do they smoke? – very important to note if smoking is something you are not comfortable with. 
  19. Do they stay in touch with your children since they left the job? – this can show if there was an overall positive relationship created and bonds with the children. 
  20. Where do you and your partner work? – this can allow you to understand any similarities in your routines and if there will be differences in schedules. 
  21. Did you use a nanny cam? – important to know for privacy issues. 
  22. Where do your children go to school? – again, this can help to highlight any similarities in your routine and, if the nanny knows the nearby area, make future school routines easier.


Finding a great nanny is not an easy job (this is something we know all too well as e often get fake references). This list while, not exhaustive, can generally give you a good sense of the nanny candidate’s experience at that job. It should also give you a good idea of the type and parenting style in the home.

Contact NannyCity Today

At NannyCity, we have successfully placed 1000s of experienced nannies with satisfied families across BrooklynManhattanConnecticut and Greenwich. We make the process of finding a suitable nanny for your family a straightforward process. With no long-term contracts, NannyCity is the best choice if you’re looking for a flexible childcare solution. 

Get in touch today to see how we can help you hire the best nanny for your family.

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Michael Dinneen

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