What to Look For in a Babysitter

By Aidan Cannon on August 8, 2023

Raising children is a full-time job, but sometimes you and your partner need a break to just enjoy one another’s company, and that’s where a babysitter comes in. Finding a babysitter is a challenge in and of itself, however, as you need to sift through a variety of candidates, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and sets of skills. New parents may not have a lot of experience with babysitters, and thus might not know what they are looking for when evaluating candidates. Finding a good babysitter is of the utmost importance, as you want not only your children to be taken care of but also the peace of mind that they are being left with someone safe. This guide will help you identify the qualities and skills needed in a good babysitter so you can pick the best candidate for your kids.

Image from Pixabay


One of the most important and obvious characteristics that a babysitter should possess is responsibility. Responsibility can mean many different things to many different people, but in the context of a babysitting position, the definition can be narrowed down slightly. A responsible babysitter is someone parents can rely on to be punctual and on time. They will have the adequate training and experience necessary to care for a child, including safety and first aid. Experience is also an instrumental piece of the puzzle, as it will inform them on how to negotiate difficult situations with those they are babysitting. As a parent, the most important thing in the world is feeling like your children are in safe hands and having a babysitter that consistently demonstrates their responsibility and good decision-making will put you at ease when separated from your kids.


The ability to give direction and be taken seriously is essential for any good babysitter, as they will need to be respected when they speak to your kids. Before you leave, you should give your babysitter some expectations for what your children should or should not be allowed to do, and it is up to them to enforce these ground rules. Many adults struggle with telling kids “no”, as they want to avoid the headache that would come with a fight or tantrum. While that is understandable, acclimating young kids to not getting their way is an important part of their development, and failing to do so can create immature and selfish adults. Making sure that your babysitter understands the boundaries you’ve set in your house will keep your children from being confused about different sets of rules when you are out of the house, and ensure that your values are still being instilled in them while you are away.

Communication skills

Being a babysitter requires a lot of interpersonal skills, and chief among those is the ability to communicate and relate to a lot of different people. Talking to children and talking to adults are two very different skills, and a good babysitter should be able to do both. Speaking to a child requires a certain level of gentleness and understanding that is not required with adults, as they will likely have a much more similar level of life experience. Sitters may also have to dumb down certain topics to make them more digestible or appropriate for kids. On top of this, every child a babysitter watches will be different, and they will thus have to figure out the best way to talk to them to get them to listen to and understand what they’re saying. As previously mentioned, the ability to talk and communicate effectively with other adults is also a key to being a good babysitter, as you’ll want them to get in contact with you immediately if something is wrong with your children.

Sensitivity and patience

The final and some would argue most valuable skill to find in a babysitter is sensitivity. Children are not adults; they see the world in a much more simplistic way, and often can’t understand why certain things happen. They’re also more afraid, generally because they don’t have the life experience to know simple facts like the dark isn’t going to hurt them. A babysitter should be sensitive to the fact that kids need help navigating the world around them, and work to make sure they feel comfortable. In a similar vein, children can often complain and repeat themselves a lot, which can be frustrating and grating on the ears. Adept babysitters can manage these uncomfortable situations and answer questions from kids without causing a big blow-up or fight.

When picking a babysitter, it’s important to find a person who not only makes you and your kids feel safe but also has the right skills for the job. For many new parents, identifying a good candidate may be difficult, as they haven’t had to look for one before and don’t have the knowledge of what makes a good fit for their kids. Using a platform like Wyndy, which helps parents find highly vetted college babysitters and nannies in your neighborhood, and keeping the tips from this guide in mind will help you identify what qualities to look for and make finding a sitter a breeze.

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