It is an inevitable part of being a parent, having a babysitter that you know you can trust. Whether it be to have a night out on the town or for something more long term such as being there to care or your children while you are at work, for some of us, this situation can be solved by having a caring family member or friend, we know we can trust who is willing to care or them.
However, for others, it isn’t that simple; they need to seek out a babysitter who could be a total stranger. They could go through a babysitting service to find potential prospects or put an ad in the paper. Now comes the hard part, and that is screening the candidates. This is where having the proper questions to ask a potential babysitter becomes important.
There are basic questions, and there will be even tougher questions as well. These help you to find the right babysitter for your particular family unit. So, let us go over these questions and why each one is important.
How long have you been babysitting?
Oh yes, right off the bat, the infamous what experience do you have? That is important when it comes to caring for kids. A perfect follow up to question is, what age groups do they have experience caring for? Mainly because just because someone is comfortable caring for say a newborn, doesn’t mean they are comfortable caring for a toddler. For that matter, someone with experience caring for toddlers and school-age kids could have issues with kids who are now in adolescence and teenagers.
How much do they charge per hour?
This is a question that may or may not be necessary. A parent could make it clear though the babysitting service or in the ad they put out what they are willing to pay per hour. However, in the cases where it is left negotiable, this question will be needed. Perhaps the babysitter has a price per hour in mind but could be willing to discuss different terms to where both parties are satisfied with the rate of pay.
Will they be able to enforce household rules?
This is also important; parents want to know that whomever they put in charge of their home while they are away will keep the kids on track. For a baby that would be keeping their regular sleep and feeding schedule. For a toddler, that could be playtime, mealtime, and, of course, nap time. School-age kids making sure they do their homework, or whatever chores are required of them. So, the parent needs to know that the potential babysitter will enforce their own rules for their household and be comfortable doing so.
Are you available at a moment’s notice?
Sometimes things come up where a babysitter could be needed. Say an unexpected dinner invitation or even a family emergency. It is important to know that the babysitter could be able to be there to help you out. So, another important question is the ask them if they have reliable transportation, such as a car of their own. If they don’t live nearby, this will be a factor. Despite being a convenient way to get around, public transportation isn’t the best way to get somewhere at a moment’s notice.
Have you had any childcare or safety classes?
These are a few other good questions. Not that a candidate who hasn’t had childcare classes isn’t still a good fit. Sometimes life experiences teach us more then formal education does. However, safety and first-aid are another issues altogether. If a person has taken a CPR and a first-aid class, this works to their advantage. However, if a candidate you like hasn’t had such training, ask them if they would be open to doing so.
Having a babysitter who has taken a CPR class, which also teaches the Heimlich maneuver as well, can be invaluable. Another thing to clarify with an infant is that the babysitter is well-versed with the recommendations for preventing SIDS sudden infant death syndrome. Find out if they ever had to handle an emergency in their previous employment and how they dealt with it.
The questions above are the main primary questions, and here are some more to consider as well. Remember, the more you ask, the better you will know this individual.
- Are you comfortable changing diapers?
- Are you willing to help a kid with their homework if they ask?
- What kind of activities do you like to do with kids
- Do you have any experience caring for kids with allergies or special needs?
- How do you handle a kid acting up or having a temper tantrum?
- Are you willing to let us do a background check on you, and can we contact a previous employer?
No doubt you could come up with questions of your own about your own home. You should also be prepared to answer the questions of the potential babysitter.
When it comes to interviewing a babysitter, asking questions is just part of the whole process. You also need to find if you feel comfortable with the person and like them. If your child is old enough and around during the interview, have them meet the person to see how they hit it off.
Some warning signs to especially keep in mind when doing these interviews is how prompt is the person for the interview. Suppose you set a specific time if they are late and don’t call to explain why this is a definite strike against their reliability. Another thing to look at is how they act during the interview. If they speak negatively about previous employers, don’t act enthusiastic about being there if they seem set in their ways of doing things to where they don’t want to hear how your house operates.
Remember, you are the employer, and they are the ones who have to win you over to be your babysitter, so take the time to be selective. After all, this is the person who will be caring for your children in your absence.