How to Hire the Right Babysitter for Your Family

How to Hire the Right Babysitter for Your Family

Be sure to ask these questions to make sure you’re getting the best babysitter for your family.


By: Andrea Updyke

Choosing a babysitter is not easy. If you are one of the lucky ones, you might have family or a close network of friends close by to help care for your children when you need to have some time away. But even if you do have a helpful community, there will still be times in your parenting life when you need to hire a sitter.

First, consider the time of day or night that you need your sitter and whether this is an occasional need or a routine. Always check with friends and co-workers for referrals before you go to the job boards — a good reference is worth gold when it comes to hiring the right babysitter.

If you can’t find any personal connections, another option is to place an advertisement on a local university job board or babysitting service. Rates for these will vary by location, but they are a good place to start. If you live close to a college or university with an Early Childhood Development program, you might want to specify preference for someone who has that background.

Take some time to select a few candidates and follow up with each of them with questions either by phone or email. Try these questions as a start:

What kind of babysitting or childcare experience do you have?
It’s important to understand a babysitter’s background and interest in being a caregiver. Follow up this question with a conversation about why they are no longer in that position. The fact is, the babysitter will be caring for your children, and if he or she left their last job on bad terms, it might be a red flag for you.

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Do you know CPR/emergency procedures?
Even if you have an emergency contact sheet with detailed information, an excellent sitter will have been CPR certified and trained on the basics of what to do in case of an emergency like choking or an allergic reaction. If you have a child who requires any special medical care or prescriptions, your sitter must be comfortable dealing with these issues.

Do you have a car, valid driver license and good driving record?
If you will need your sitter to drive your children anywhere, you will definitely want to make sure he or she is safe on the road and has a vehicle that is capable of accommodating child or infant car seats if necessary.

Can you provide references?
Try to get two or three references for any new babysitter you interview. Chatting with other parents will give you a general idea of their babysitting style and hopefully help you decide whether or not he or she is a good fit for your family.

Once you have asked these questions, you might decide that you would like to meet one or two of your applicants. The final step is to invite candidates to your home to meet your children and spouse so they can interact while you are present. Let the babysitter play games with the kids or have a snack together. Allowing the entire family to be a part of the process will give you an idea of how the time you spend away from them will look. It will also give your spouse a chance to ask a few questions in the process.

If everyone seems to get along, you’ve found yourself a new babysitter!

Andrea is the founder of Lil Kid Things and also writes for the Babycenter Blog. She lives in Raleigh, N.C., where she spends her days caring for her two sons, Oscar and Calvin, and learning how to balance work, kids and marriage.

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