Finding the right babysitter for your children can feel like a mammoth task. After all, who can look after your children as well as you can? It can be a daunting process for most parents, so finding the right babysitter for your family requires preparation.
You’ll need to come up with a list of questions to ask a babysitter during your interviews. The more you can find out about the person, the easier it will be to determine whether they’re right for the job. Here are some examples that could help.
1. Basic Questions
If you’ve known the person you’re interviewing for a while, you may feel like you can already trust them with your children. Perhaps you’re interviewing a neighbor or a family friend. Maybe friends have suggested a babysitter they’ve used many times before.
However, it’s still important for you to know the basics and for the babysitter to understand what you require. Here are some basic questions you might consider:
- Do you have access to reliable transport?
- How often are you available?
- How much experience do you have?
- What age of child have you looked after previously?
- How would you handle challenging behavior?
- Would you be comfortable with enforcing our household rules? (Explain the rules you have in place)
- What activities would you usually undertake with children?
These basic questions will allow you to understand the way your babysitter operates and whether you feel you would to learn more or stop the interview there.
2. Continuing the Interview
At this point, you may feel like you want to continue the interview. It could be that you want to know more about the babysitter because the candidate is a stranger or you may have liked what you’ve already heard.
If you want to vet the babysitter in more depth, you’ll need to ask questions that are more specific to your family. If this person is going to be spending a lot of time with your children, you need to make sure you’re on the same page.
For example, you may prefer your children to have gluten-free diets. Is your babysitter comfortable with this? Does your babysitter have experience of gluten-free diets and cooking?
Similarly, it’s important to know that your babysitter has experience of developmental milestones. Does she know how to encourage a one-year-old to start walking? Has she got experience of potty training a two-year-old?
3. Telling Questions
There are some questions that can give you more information about the candidate than they think. For example, the question ‘what do you find most difficult about being a babysitter?’, can be more revealing than you expect.
You may find that your babysitter has difficulty in dealing with poor behavior. The trouble being, every child behaves poorly at some point. You may also want to ask your babysitter if she’d consent to a background check.
The majority of babysitters will do this happily and willingly. If you interview someone who refuses a background check, it should certainly raise a red flag.
You can ask your babysitter what she looks for in an employer. This is a question that usually throws people off-guard. You may be able to tell if your babysitter is willing to go above and beyond in her job or if she’s someone who likes to get away with the bare minimum.
4. Your Expectations
You know better than anyone what a typical day with your children is like. You know when they wake up, what they eat, how much screen time they’re allowed and much more. What would a typical day with your babysitter be like?
Now is the time to ask the questions that could mold a typical shift for your babysitter. Is she used to changing diapers? Would she take them to the park or play center? What kind of meals does she prepare?
Is your babysitter willing to assist with homework? Does she have experience with learning difficulties or disabilities, if required?
It’s often easier for parents to happily leave their children if they know what a typical day for their children is likely to look like.
5. Ensure Your Child’s Safety
It’s great finding a babysitter that knows how to change a diaper but what would your babysitter do in an emergency? Does she know the steps to take if your little one chokes on a piece of fruit?
Is she trained in CPR? If you have infants, your babysitter should be aware of safe sleeping methods and up to date advice on avoiding SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
If your babysitter drives, she should have a clean record and be experienced in installing and taking out car seats safely. Ask your babysitter if she’s ever experienced an emergency and what she did in that situation.
If you’re concerned about your child’s safety with a babysitter, read this article.
6. Play Out Scenarios
One of the best ways to really get to know your babysitter and the likelihood of a good match for your children is to play out scenarios. Think of a typical day with your children and some of the challenges that can crop up.
Ask your babysitter, ‘what would you do if…’. Perhaps you want to know how your toddler’s tantrums will be dealt with or what the babysitter would do if your child becomes unwell.
Important Questions to Ask a Babysitter
Your children are your most prized possessions and anyone who takes care of them must be fit for the job. Making sure you have the right questions to ask a babysitter will mean you can weed out anyone that’s unsuitable and avoid disappointment.
Take a look at some more great tips on finding suitable childcare and activity ideas for young children.