10 Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Babysitter

By Alicia Geigel on April 6, 2022

Vetting through a number of babysitting candidates can be an extensive and exhaustive process. Finding the right babysitter for your children and household may take some time, but the process is worth it in the end, especially if you land a good person that fits well with your family. The best way to get to know a potential babysitter and evaluate their characteristics and skills is through an interview. Interviewing a babysitter will give you personal, face-to-face validation that their answers are legitimate and they are qualified for the position.

If you are in the process of hiring a babysitter but aren’t sure about what questions to ask, here are 10 comprehensive questions that will guide you along the way.

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1. Do you have any prior babysitting experience? This is one of the most important questions to ask a potential babysitter. Experience in any job field, especially babysitting is important, as that familiarity can help to ensure few mistakes or mishaps happen on the job. Additionally, if the person has babysitting experience, you can ask for references from the previous families the person has worked for, which can give you insight into the type of babysitter they are and if they are a good fit to work with your children.

2. Do you have reliable transportation? Having reliable transportation is a necessity when searching for a potential babysitter. You want to make sure that the person can get to work on time and also have the means to leave after their shift is over. If they don’t drive, find out if they have a go-to person for transportation, whether it be a parent, family member, or friend. Also, if they don’t drive, take this into consideration, as the person may not be able to run errands or take your children to the hospital, doctor, etc. in the case of an emergency.

3. What do you like most about working with children? A question like this can give you insight into the potential babysitter’s intentions and personality. Working with children can be difficult at points, but mostly all people who babysit enjoy it and want to be around children. Helping them with activities, watching them grow and learn, aiding with homework, playing games, etc., are all appropriate answers to this question. Use your best judgment with your candidate’s answer, and go from there.

4. What kind of activities do you like to do with children? Depending on the age range of your children, activities will take up most, if not all, of the time your babysitter has with your children. The candidate could answer in a number of ways, and it’s best to pick one that best aligns with your personal activity preferences when choosing a babysitter. Playing board games, spending time outside playing light sports, preparing a meal together, watching a movie, reading a book, etc., are all activities that the babysitter can do with your children, and it is up to you to communicate what is and is not permitted. Specify if there is a limit on screen time, movies watched, etc. so the candidate has an idea of what your rules are.

5. Are you comfortable with enforcing rules/discipline? One of the most important elements of interviewing a babysitter is determining how they enforce rules and discipline. If you have house rules, how well can they abide by those rules, and more importantly, how well can they enforce those rules without scolding and physical action? Asking this question can help to evaluate your babysitter’s approach to these difficult situations. You want someone who is gentle yet firm about rule enforcement and discipline. If you have a predetermined way of disciplining your children, discuss this with your candidate and see where you two agree and differ.

6. Are you comfortable with babysitting at night or for extended periods of time? In some situations, you may be out later than expected for a weekend dinner or a long shift at work. Before hiring a babysitter, ask if they are comfortable staying at night for extended periods of time past the agreed shift time. Some babysitters are uncomfortable with being at another person’s home at night, especially alone. If you find yourself often going out at night or needing to stay longer at your work than expected, make sure you communicate this and find a babysitter that can work with that.

7. When do you think would be an appropriate time to call me? Unexpected, serious situations can happen when a babysitter is working with your children. When asking this question, determine what kind of situation the potential babysitter would deem it necessary to contact you. You don’t want the person to constantly contact you over small, silly questions that could have or may have already been addressed in person. On the contrary, you don’t want the person to be apprehensive to call you in the case of a serious event or emergency. Critical thinking in this case is important, and their answer can give you insight into their confidence to handle certain situations.

8. Do you smoke or use drugs? Smoking and using drugs around children is not safe and should not be permitted under any circumstances. This should have a straightforward answer, and if the person dances around the question or gives any indication that they use drugs or smoke around other children (or thinks it’s okay), they are not the right candidate for you.

9. Do you have experience with First Aid or CPR? Not all babysitters are certified in safety training. If you are looking for a candidate with those credentials, ask this question and ask for them to provide any certification they might have. While some babysitters may not be trained, they can definitely have notable experience and common sense in terms of dealing with first aid. Tending to cuts, scratches, bruises, falls, etc., are good things to know as a babysitter, so evaluate this during your interview.

10. What is your overall childcare philosophy? On a more serious level, a question like this can just help to give insight into the kind of person your potential babysitter is. A teenager may not have a complete thought-out childcare philosophy, but you essentially want to look for a candidate that wants to provide appropriate, thoughtful care to your children in your absence. You want someone who is caring and kind, but also firm in setting rules and boundaries, with your children’s best interests in mind.

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Image via Pexels

Asking the right questions when interviewing a babysitter is an important step of the hiring process, but it can be easy to get caught up in talking and forget some important points. Thankfully these 10 questions should cover most of your concerns and inquiries, and overall help you find the right babysitter for your children.

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