Red Flags to Watch Out for When Hiring a Babysitter

By Kaitlin Hurtado on January 22, 2022

Looking for the perfect babysitter for your family is a challenging task. There are countless factors to consider during your search, and it may be hard to properly screen every candidate you come across. The search can get difficult if you are on your own, but there are certain things you can keep an eye out for to avoid hiring the wrong babysitter for your family. Keep reading for red flags to watch out for when it comes to hiring a babysitter.

Photo: Pexels

Red Flag #1: No experience

Just like any other job, you want to hire someone that has some experience under their belt. You want to make sure that they have the experience needed to navigate babysitting. While babysitting may seem intuitive to some, the more experienced a babysitter is, the more trust you can have that the babysitter will be able to handle high-stress situations on the job.

With more experience, the more opportunities the babysitter has been able to learn the ins and outs of the job, from working with different kids’ personalities to how to work with troublesome behavior.

You will also want to look at the applicants’ history. Sure, they may have been babysitting for years, but were they hopping from household to household after a week of babysitting rather than building trust and rapport with families over a certain amount of time? Someone that has spent years as a family’s trusted babysitter can show that they are good at their job and that they have been trusted to do their job right.

Depending on your location or your budget, you may not be able to find a babysitter with years of experience. However, there are other forms of “experience” you can look for in babysitter applicants. They could have hands-on experience working with children at a daycare or summer camp, or have plenty of experience with children as the older sibling of their family.

Red Flag #2: A lack of credible references 

Going hand-in-hand with experience, you don’t want to hire a babysitter that doesn’t have any credible references you can use as a testament to their babysitting abilities. You never want to leave your children in the arms of a complete stranger, and hiring a babysitter is giving a lot of trust to someone you don’t necessarily know. It’s not enough to have a babysitter that boasts tons of experience — you will want to make sure that experience is real and honest.

Don’t just see that they have a long list of what they refer to as references and hope for the best. Reach out to the references and ask them to validate the babysitter applicants’ experience.

Red Flag #3: A lack of professionalism 

When you hire a babysitter, you want to look for someone that is going to be able to stay organized and alert on the job. With that being said, you don’t want to hire someone that always seems to be in a frazzled state — late to set times, disorganized with belongings and schedules, and so on.

If someone is late to their interview or an initial meeting with your kids, it can be an indication that they aren’t a punctual person. If they can arrive late to an interview, how certain can you be that they will arrive on time to pick up your children or arrive at your house to babysit your family? Of course, things pop up unexpectedly but you want to ensure you hiring someone that is punctual.

Another thing you will want to keep an eye out for is the way a babysitter is presenting themselves. Do they look disheveled or are constantly using language you would find unacceptable around your young ones? Your babysitter is someone who is going to be spending plenty of time with your child unsupervised, so you will want to make sure that you can trust that they are going to act accordingly with your children.

Red Flag #4: A lack of interest in children 

Most importantly, you will want to hire someone that will genuinely care about your child’s wellbeing on the job. You don’t want to hire someone who is solely there for the check, with the kids being their second thought.

During the interview process, are they initiating conversation about your children, such as asking questions about their personality, interests, and so on? Or are they only asking about job specifics, such as pay, location, schedules, etc.?

If you have your children with you during the interview process and the applicant is showing little to no interest in the children, it may be a red flag. You want to hire someone who is comfortable with your children, and someone who your children can be comfortable with without your presence.

These red flags shouldn’t be an automatic “No” for any given applicant, but they should serve as a reminder when screening potential babysitters for your family.

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