How to Interview a Babysitter

Teacher with girl

Finding a good babysitter requires more than merely looking in the want ads or finding someone off the street. In fact, referrals from friends and family should be looked at with caution as well. Everyone has different ideas about home life and what works for one family may not work for another. What are some good questions you can ask your potential babysitter that can help you tell if the person is right for the job?

1. “Give me an example of your typical day with my child.” – This question can give you insight into what to expect if you were to hire this individual. In a sense, it provides you with a verbal agreement about how each day will unfold. Most babysitters will feel obligated to stay true to their word if hired for you can fire them at any time – especially if they lied to you about the typical day scenario.

2. “What kinds of foods do you have experience in preparing?” – Nutrition is important to a growing child and you need to make sure that your babysitter can provide a quality meal if that is part of the job description. Of course this will be determined by your own grocery budgets, but you can get an idea of what the babysitter views as “quality.”

3. “What kind of disciplinary actions do you see as constructive?” – The discipline of your children is a vital part in knowing if the potential candidate will fit in your family dynamic. While some parents are more lenient than others, you need to know what to expect if your children become troublesome. Once the candidate has described his or her disciplinary actions, you should describe what you feel is necessary in your house and make sure the babysitter can abide by your wishes.

4. “Can I add you to Facebook?” – Social media can be a great indicator as to how a person behaves. Many people will post comments without thinking of how it will affect them in real life. If this person is unstable or is involved in various questionable activities, you could easily find out on someone’s timeline.

5. “Have you ever been in an emergency situation with children? How did you react?” – Your babysitter needs to have a calm head on his or her shoulders in the event of an emergency. Your child’s life may be dependent on how the person reacts. Create some realistic scenarios and question the candidate about each method they would use. It may be a good idea to make sure this person also has some kind of medical training no matter how insignificant.

6. “What kind of experience do you have with childcare?” – If this individual is new to the field of child care, you could give him or her the benefit of a doubt. Everyone needs to start from somewhere, but an experienced person may be more ideal. Don’t discredit a new person, but try to keep your options open.

These are just a few questions that are important to knowing your babysitter. Although it’s always best to run a background check to ensure the security and safety of your children and home, get as much information about this person as you can. You don’t want to leave your children with someone who isn’t right for the job.

Many thanks to Elizabeth Reed for this post.

Elizabeth Reed is a freelance writer and a resident blogger at Liveinnanny.org. She particularly enjoys writing about parenting, childcare, health and wellness. In addition, she is an expert consultant on issues related to household management and kids.

If you’re just starting your babysitter search, please check out our directory of Daycares, Nannys and Carers in Brisbane.

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