10 Questions Parents Should Always Ask a New Babysitter
- Are you CPR certified? Every babysitter, even if she’s only going to be caring for your child for a short time with you in the home, should know how to perform CPR. Accidents happen, even when the babysitter is a responsible, careful person, and in the case of choking or drowning, seconds can be the difference between life and death.
- What would you do if there were an emergency? Would the babysitter know what to do if the smoke alarm went off? How would she react if she heard a strange noise coming from the backyard? What would she do if the power went off during a storm? Emergencies can happen at any time, and you want to make sure the person in charge of your child’s safety is well-prepared to handle whatever may come up.
- Do you have references I can talk to? Talking to other parents she’s worked for will give you a lot of insight into how the sitter will be with your children. Ask about her relationship with the kids, how she handles a misbehaving child or sibling fight, the type of activities she involves the kids in, and if she is reliable and responsible.
- Have you ever cared for a child the same age as my child? It is always best to hire a babysitter who has had experience with similar aged children to your children. If she hasn’t, make sure she has a solid understanding of what behaviors are typical for that age group, what safety issues may come up, and what activities and food choices are appropriate.
- How do you handle discipline? Although your babysitter probably won’t have to make a lot of disciplinary decisions, you still want to make sure that she’ll handle any challenging behaviors in a safe and caring way. If your child is struggling with a certain behavior, like saying NO! to every request or crying when it’s bedtime, make sure you talk with the sitter about how she’ll handle those situations. Don’t be shy about offering strategies that work with your child and encouraging the sitter to handle things the way you do.
- What type of activities will you do with the kids? One of the main jobs a babysitter has is keeping your kids happy and entertained. Ask her about what things she likes to do with kids and what things she has planned for her time with your kids. Make sure that her ideas are safe and appropriate for your child’s age group. If your child has any particular interests, like crafts, music or board games, share that information with the sitter ahead of time. A good babysitter will follow your child’s lead and plan a night filled with the things she loves to do.
- Is there an adult nearby in case you need help? If you’re hiring a younger babysitter that doesn’t have a lot of experience, it’s a good idea if the sitter’s parent or older sibling is close by and is available to offer an extra set of hands or simple advice if needed.
- Are you comfortable with our house rules? Before you leave the sitter alone with your children, you should think about what house rules you want to put into place. Are you comfortable with her inviting a friend or boyfriend over? Do you want her to refrain from texting until the kids are in bed? Are there rooms in your house that are off limits to her? Review the house rules with the sitter before you leave and make sure she understands them and is comfortable following them.
- What is your hourly rate? Make sure you have a clear understanding of the rate your sitter is charging before you leave for the night. Does she charge per child? Does she charge more for late night hours? Are there a minimum number of hours that she’s going to charge you for? Is a check OK or does she require cash?
- Do you have any questions for me? Some sitters are too shy to ask questions of new sitting clients. By opening up the conversation to include her questions, you can make sure that you’re able to provide any additional information the sitter needs to do a great job.
Asking smart questions when hiring a babysitter will help you find the right person for the job and give you peace of mind when leaving your child with a new caregiver.