A babysitter might be a stranger to your family at the start. Whether they may come from an agency, a recommendation from a friend or a random ad you picked up from the paper. When they start with you, they are strangers outside of your family circle. Which means, you are uncertain of how much care they will give your child, their competence and where their loyalty lies.
When they start with you, they are strangers outside of your family circle. Which means, you are uncertain of how much care they will give your child, their competence and where their loyalty lies.
This basically is the same for every employer hiring a new employee. It’s a gamble based on what you see on the first impression. But, unlike corporate employees, giving a stranger your full trust in taking care of your precious children goes a little deeper than a contract with legal bonds. Which is why every employer goes through an interview process to assess the potential new hire. Same goes for hiring a new babysitter.
If you are new to the whole babysitting fiasco, here are the most important questions you MUST ask a potential babysitter.
Why Do You Want To Care For Other People’s Child?
You’ll certainly get multiple different answers to this question. Either they need the money, or this is the only thing they know how to do, these are common answers, but some may actually surprise you.
Why do you need to ask the obvious?
The obvious questions are actually the hardest to answer. This where you find out how much heart they have for kids of other people and sneak a peak at their genuine interest to help parents out.
They may drive with a story of how they grew up seeing their parents never having the chance to take a break from parenting to enjoy themselves. This is the kind of answer you need to look for or something similar as long as they give you a tinge of hint they are genuinely interested in giving you a much-deserved break.
What Is Your Family Like?
Asking about their family might be a tad too personal for some but remember the person you’re talking to might be the person you leave your kids with. By all means, ask the necessary personal questions you need to ask.
The moment you ask about their family, you’d see an immediate reaction, and you have to pay close attention. A shrug may indicate indifference in their family relationships. A sudden perk up may indicate how much they love to talk about their family. A sudden slump of the shoulders or a sigh might indicate they don’t really want to talk about it.
A potential babysitter’s current family standing is important. If they don’t have that much value for their own family, how much value do you think they’d have for yours?
What Do You Do on Your Free Time?
Knowing what they usually do in their free time will allow you to have a good sense of the chemistry they will have with your kids.
For instance, your family is into outdoor and rugged activities. Certainly a babysitter who’s recluse and would rather stay indoors hunched over a good book might not be as equally fun for your kids as a playful babysitter will be.
Nevertheless, a person who’s open to a lot of new stuff and willing to adjust might just be the perfect fit for you. In other words, someone who isn’t good at cooking but willing to bake with your little girls will be someone worth giving a chance to.
How Well Do You Drive?
If you require a babysitter to pick up your kids from school or drive them to soccer games, you’d better find one with a good driving record. The least you want to hear about when you’re out on a date is a phone call about a car accident or a speeding ticket.
Although, they can tell you what you want to hear but most people can tell when people are lying so trust your instincts. You can also do a test drive to give you a bit of ease.
Do You Know CPR or Have You Had First Aid Training?
This is a must for babysitters in case of emergencies. Do not hire a babysitter with no training or who is unwilling to go through training.
Can you Swim?
A babysitter who can swim is only a must if you have pool in your backyard. Again, someone who can swim is nice to have in case of emergencies. Still, we hope nothing like that happens but we have to prepare for the worst.
How Would You Plan Your First Day?
It’s good to pick their brains to see what kind of creative yet safe activities they can come up with. The best answer to this question though is for them to just spend time with your kids, get to know them, and let them be comfortable around each other. If this goal is incorporated with their set of activities, then that would be great.
Do You Have References?
Don’t hesitate to ask this question. It’s your right and a must. You have to have opinions of other people not emotionally attached to the person you’re questioning – preferably a previous or current employer, a neighbor or a co-worker. Checking on character reference is a wise thing to do. This stranger might be a deranged psycho and you wouldn’t have known.
Remember: you are an employer and it’s your job to find out as much as you can about a person especially one that will be left behind to care for your kids.
These questions are basic, quite obvious and a must to ask. If there’s anything else you want to know, write it down on a piece of paper. I would also advise writing down important facts during your interview just so that you have focal points when you discuss things with your partner or mull things over.
Babysitters are easy to find. A babysitter worth keeping though is another thing. The main keys are to pay attention, be observant, trust your gut, and ask as many questions as you see fit. It wouldn’t hurt to do that. The worse thing that can happen? Your potential babysitter can get irked and you move on to the next one. A keeper would understand why you need to ask a lot of questions.
Got any babysitter questions you think should be on this list? Let us know in a comment below!