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What Are The Most Important Questions To Ask A Babysitter?

Finding a babysitter can be a big decision. If there aren't any suitable friends or family available, how do you find someone you can trust?

Even if you only need them occasionally, you’re literally trusting them with what you value most in the world! But it’s not just a question of qualifications or even experience; it’s also important that you’re on the same page.

So here are some suggestions on how to find the right person, and what to ask (obviously this will depend on your requirements too!)

Scout out the potential

Like so many things in life, a great way to find the right babysitter is through word of mouth: Either people you know, or advice on forums could be a great help for finding the right person. There are also sites that can help such as mindme.ie, and findababysitter.ie.

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Be clear what you’re looking for.

Narrowing down the search as early as possible makes it much easier to find the right candidate, so early on, think about what you’re looking for: Do you need someone that can cook, bathe, help with homework and cover bedtime routines, or just someone to mind them? Do they need to be able to drive to reach your house?

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Ask enlightening interview questions

The key to good questions is that they are easy to expand on rather than just being yes/no; and that they give you an idea of the person's personality, as well as experience:

  • Please tell me about yourself and your experience with children.
  • What do you think kids like about you?
  • Do you have references we can contact?
  • What kinds of activities do you like doing with kids of different ages?
  • Do you have any first aid training?
  • How much notice do you usually need?
  • How have you handled discipline with kids you’ve cared for?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you have any regular availability issues (e.g evening classes etc)?
  • Can you tell me about an emergency situation you’ve been in while babysitting, or something that scared you?
  • What is your usual rate?
  • What questions do you have for us?

Talk candidly with references

References are usually overarchingly positive, so in an effort to speak candidly, I always make sure to ask, “What did you NOT like about this person? What are some things you found bothersome?” Then you’re much more likely to get a direct and straightforward answer, and you can decide if that thing is a deal breaker or not.

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Spend time with the babysitter and your children, before you leave them.

By this point, it’s just a question of making sure that your children are comfortable with their new babysitter, and that you and the babysitter are comfortable that they know the routine, and where everything is: The first few times you may spend the whole time you’re out worrying, but that’s understandable. The key is that you trust them.

And if in doubt: Trust your gut

One of the most surprising things about hiring babysitters is how much it’s like dating! You may consider lots of different people, and often they’ll look perfect on paper (tons of experience, glowing references), but something just won’t click. It’s such a personal relationship, and you want to find someone whom you and your children will fall in love with—and whom you can trust.

 

So how did you find your babysitter, and what do you think the best questions to ask are? We'd love to hear.

Read Next: How Much Should I Pay My Babysitter?


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eumom team 

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