By Summer Thornsberry
It’s normal to feel anxious when searching for a new babysitter, but asking the right questions can help quell your anxiety and weed out the no-hires and doubtfires.
Websites like Care.com, SitterCity.com and Care4Hire.com are great places to start the sitter search. Background information, employment history, references and contact information for nearby babysitters is at your fingertips; however, each site requires a subscription. Luckily, Sitter City partnered with the Department of Defense to give free memberships to military families.
Once you’ve found a potential babysitter, it’s up to you to pick the best match for your kiddo. Get prepared by jotting down a list of questions specific to your child’s personality, hobbies and temperament. Don’t forget to double check the information provided on their profile.
- Elaborate on your babysitting experience.
This isn’t really a question, but it requires the babysitter to go into more detail about the info on their profile. All babysitters have prior experience with children, whether watching siblings, neighbors or children at church, so it’s best to ask specifics about the children they’ve watched in the past. How many did they watch at a time? What were the ages of the children? Did any of them have disabilities or special needs?
- Can I contact your references?
References are a must-have for most parents, and it’s a good sign if babysitters have contacts who can affirm their qualifications. Call each reference and ask about their experience with the babysitter.
- Are you certified?
Certifications aren’t required for babysitters; however, being certified in first aid/CPR is a plus in the case of an emergency. Ask if they’ve ever dealt with an emergency while babysitting.
- What is your availability?
Be sure your babysitter has a schedule that works for your needs. Ask about other jobs, class schedules and days they aren’t available.
- Do you have reliable transportation?
Your children may need to be picked up from school or dropped off at extracurricular activities. If so, make sure your babysitter has a valid driver’s license, registration and car insurance. Some parents also get the make, model and license plate number of the vehicle.
- What is your expected pay?
The pay rate is bound to be discussed during an interview. Make sure you and the babysitter agree on an amount that you both think is fair before you hire them.
- What do you do for fun?
Your child is going to be spending hours at a time with the babysitter, so it would be beneficial if their hobbies are similar. A good babysitter should be able to come up with activities that are safe and engaging for children.
- How do you handle discipline?
The babysitter will be the authority when you’re not around, so it’s important to outline rules for the children and consequences if they don’t follow them. Be sure to set boundaries of what the babysitter can and can’t do when enforcing your rules for your child.
Once you think you’ve found the perfect babysitter, let your children meet them before offering the job. Not only will this allow your children to get to know the babysitter, but you will get a chance to see how they interact with each other.