What to Consider Before Hiring a Babysitter

By Kaitlin Hurtado on January 15, 2024

Every family situation is different – some families are fortunate to have full-time childcare in the form of helpful family members, but many families have to find childcare outside of their current network, including daycare and babysitters. There is no perfect solution to childcare – what works for one family may not work for yours. If you are considering hiring a babysitter for childcare, keep reading for what to consider before hiring a babysitter.

Photo: Pexels

Consider your expectations

The job of a babysitter can be different for every family based on the expectations set on the babysitter. For instance, some families may just be looking for someone to pick up a few hours a week when the parents are out for an evening without the kids. Other families may be looking for a babysitter who works on a nearly daily basis for the afternoons and early evenings after kids get out of school and before the parents get out of work.

Before setting out on your search to hire a babysitter, consider what you expect from a babysitter.  Do you want them to simply supervise your children while on the clock, or do you expect additional tasks to be completed while on the job? Additional tasks commonly associated with babysitters may include household chores and cleaning, preparing meals, taking care of family pets, and driving kids to and from school/extracurriculars.

Having a solid idea of the expectations you have for a babysitter can help you narrow down your search for babysitters.

How you can conduct your search

Hiring a babysitter can be a daunting task — you want to hire someone you can trust with your kids, and with strangers, this is easier said than done. You can use a variety of methods to search for your babysitter.

A go-to option is to tap into your existing network, this can mean asking around to your friends who also have kids, or the parents of your kids’ friends to see if they have any personal recommendations. While the recommended babysitter may still be a complete stranger, you can still feel some reassurance from someone you know personally vouching for the person’s babysitting capabilities.

Another option you can consider is babysitting apps and websites that were specifically designed to help parents find babysitters perfect for their families. These online platforms have a variety of potential babysitters that parents can browse, helping them search by their current childcare needs.

These platforms have done their own form of vetting potential babysitters in the form of background checks or screenings, so you can feel more comfortable selecting from a pool of babysitters that have already gone through some level of screening.

Consider what you should be doing in your search

Once you have an idea what kind of babysitter you want to hire and how you are going to be searching for them, there are things you should keep in mind during the search and hiring process.

A babysitter’s potential isn’t just outlined by their resume if you are looking for a babysitter with years of experience or certain skills/certifications under their belt, you may find yourself running into the problem of limited options, or more pricey childcare. To combat this, consider adjusting your search to be more lenient and relying on other things to vet your babysitter and get an idea of their potential.

Interviews can say much more about a babysitter than a resume, especially when they have limited experience. To make the most out of an interview, you should have prepared well-thought-out questions to better understand the potential babysitter and what they bring to the job. Consider creating scenarios they may face while on the job to learn about how they would navigate them, from temper tantrums to scheduling issues.

Utilize babysitter applicants’ references – they are there for a reason. An applicant’s resume may not seem as impressive if they’ve only worked with one family, but if you can reach out to the family and they can attest to the babysitter’s capabilities – it can set them ahead of other applicants and give you a real idea of how they are on the job.

Questions to consider asking a babysitter’s references can include:

- What are some instances of when the babysitter went above their role?

- What were the tasks of the babysitter?

- Is there a time when the babysitter navigated a difficult situation (severe tantrum, injury) while on the job?

- Why are they no longer working with the family?

Hiring a babysitter may seem like a difficult journey ahead, but with this information in mind, you can help your family navigate the search for the ideal babysitter – good luck!

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