Finding the right person to babysit your child can be a daunting task. Where do you start? Making a list of questions and being organized can help you decipher and choose. Does your potential sitter pass the approval test? And, most importantly, is this sitter a good fit for your child?
In order to do find the right person, you have to ask the right questions and do your homework. Start by writing down the things you want to ask and know about this person you’ll be trusting with your precious little human. We suggest you approach this as you would for any job-for-hire. Watching your children is in fact a super important job and you want to be sure you’ve covered all your bases.
Before you go into full force hiring a person to watch your child, schedule a meet and greet. This can be a good time for you to meet the potential sitter as well as have them meet your child, and ask important questions to make sure it’s a good fit.
Here’s the start of some questions you might add to your list when interviewing a potential sitter. Take a look and be sure to add your own questions:
What is your schedule?
- When finding the right sitter it’s important to make sure that their schedule will work with yours. Provide to them when you’ll most likely need them the most (Friday evenings, weekday mornings, Sunday afternoons, etc.)
What experience do you have working with children?
- This is an important question to ask. If you need someone to watch your infant, and your potential babysitter has only watched her seven year old brother from time to time they may not be the best fit for your baby.
- Ex. changing diapers, experience with bottle feeding, burping, age range, etc.
Do you have your own transportation?
- It may make it more difficult to have a dependable babysitter if they don’t drive or have a reliable way of getting to and fro
- It may be a good idea to have a sitter with their own wheels, especially in the case of an emergency
Why do you like working with kids?
- Make sure your potential babysitter actually enjoys being around children. Hey, it’s not for everybody!
What activities do you like to do with kids?
- Ex: crafts, music, outdoors, board games
- It’s nice to know your child won’t be glued to the television screen the whole time you’re gone, especially if you’re gone for several hours.
How do you deal with stressful situations?
- Depending on how old your child is, it’s important to ask the right questions to get a good understanding of how your babysitter will deal with stressful situations that are likely to present themselves especially working with kids
- Don’t be afraid to give them tips and pointers as well, you know your child better than anyone for all!
- Ex: Crying baby, arguing siblings, having the ability to say no
Ask them about themselves:
- This is a really important step in the interviewing process, because it allows you to really get to know them.
- Ask questions like: Where are you from? What do you like to do for fun? What are you studying in school?
- It’ll put your mind at ease when you’re gone the more familiar you are with your babysitter. Asking them about themselves will make them more comfortable around you and your child, and it’s good to have a better understanding of the person you’re trusting to watch your child especially if you’d like to have them around for the long run.
Things to observe during a interview:
- How many times the person checks their phone
- Lets face it, we can all be glued to our phones at times, but it’s important to find someone who is more enthusiastic about interacting with your child than checking their social media
- Their personality
- Trust your gut, vibes don’t lie
- Someone could answer all your questions correctly, but if you don’t click with them, then chances are your child won’t either
- How they interact with your child
- Like we said, someone can look great on paper but that doesn’t always mean they’re the best choice
- Make a point to observe how they interact with your child
Most importantly, ASK FOR REFERENCES and follow-up here.
- Ask for at least 3 references. Get phone numbers and email addresses
- Call each and ask what they liked best about the potential sitter
- Ask, “is there anything you think I should know about”
Other tips for finding the right sitter:
- Social Media
- Nothing can reveal a person’s personality quite like their social media can
- Don’t be afraid to ask if they feel comfortable if you friend them on Facebook or twitter. This may seem a little invasive to some, but it can go a long way and is really not a big deal. Make it casual and fun.
- Find them in the right places
- When your kids are young it may seem difficult to find someone to watch your kid when your social circle includes your close friends and their fellow three years olds, but others recommendations can sometimes be the best
- Make a post on Facebook, you’d be surprised at how many people have connections with college kids who have great experience in your area looking for an opportunity
- Use credible websites like: