How to Involve Your Kids in the Babysitter Hiring Process

By Elise Nelson on February 16, 2021

Finding the right babysitter for your kids can be quite a lengthy process filled with research and several interviews. This person should not only be able to fulfill your needs as a parent, but also click well with your children. It’s important for parents, kids, and babysitters alike to feel comfortable in a babysitting job; otherwise, someone is likely going to end up unhappy with the situation. The best way to ensure that everyone is on the same page from start to finish is by including your kids in every step of the babysitter hiring process. Here are a few ways to make sure that your kids’ voices are heard.

A babysitter and a kid sit on a windowsill

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Discuss what you and your kids want to see in a babysitter

Do you remember in Mary Poppins when Jane and Michael Banks wrote a list of qualities they wanted to see in their new nanny? Those kids had the right idea. Before selecting candidates for a new babysitter, sit down with your kids and brainstorm some ideas of what traits they want the babysitter to have. Of course, be sure to make it clear that your kids may not see everything on their lists come true. You can take their wishes into account, within reason, and plan your hiring process accordingly. For example, if they want a babysitter with a creative imagination for playtime, you can incorporate some creativity test questions into the interviews.

This is also your opportunity to write down all of your needs as a parent. Are you looking for someone who can cook dinner on your late work nights? Maybe you’d like to hire a babysitter with strong math skills to help your child with homework. Communication with your kids is key to finding a babysitter with qualities suited for everyone.

Let your kids sit in on the interviews

Once you and your kids have reached an agreement on babysitter traits, it’s time to interview a few candidates. Just as you get your first impression of someone from an interview, your kids can, too. If possible, try letting your kids sit in on a few interviews with potential babysitters. How involved the children are in the interviews is up to you. Should they simply be an observant and respectful fly on the wall, or would you like them to act as another interviewer?

Interviews are usually a nerve-wracking experience, no matter how qualified and confident a candidate feels. Introducing your kids to the candidates early in the interview and letting them ask a lighthearted question or two may break the ice and ease tensions. Plus, you can see firsthand how the candidates interact with your children.

Have a trial period and ask your kids for feedback

Many jobs begin with a designated trial period where both the employer and the new hire can see if the employee is a good fit for the role. Babysitting should not be any different. A babysitting trial period gives one final chance for you, your babysitter, and your kids to be sure the arrangement will work. Perhaps you can bring in your favorite babysitting candidate to cover a few short nights and see how things go. Alternatively, you can ease into things by having the sitter come over once or twice while you’re home, and then try leaving them with the kids.

After the trial period, ask your kids for honest feedback. Remind them to be fair and remember that it may take time to build a friendly relationship with the babysitter. With that being said, there are times when kids and babysitters don’t click well, so take care to listen and consider your children’s feedback.

A babysitter plays with a kid

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

Let your kids give a house tour

Adele Faber, co-author of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, told that kids will feel more comfortable with the change of bringing in a new babysitter if they feel “in charge.” Of course, it’s important to establish that parents and babysitters are the ones with authority, but it does help to give kids a bit of control in the situation. For example, try letting the kids give their new babysitter a tour of the house. Additionally, Faber suggested letting an older child explain to the babysitter how to care for the child’s younger sibling.

Once your kids feel comfortable with the situation, you can then task them with asking the babysitter what would make them feel more comfortable. After all, this is a new job for them, too. Faber suggested having the kids ask about the babysitter’s hobbies or favorite foods.

Remind your kids that they can come to you with concerns 

At the end of the day, your kids will be the ones spending the most time with the babysitter, so it’s up to them to let you know if the arrangement isn’t working. Try to bolster a communicative relationship with your kids so that they know they can come to you at any point with concerns about the babysitter. You may wish to check in with your children every few weeks, depending on the frequency of the babysitting gigs, and ask them how things are going.

A new babysitter can be a big change for kids, so keeping them involved when it comes to the hiring process and beyond is key to a smoother transition.

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