7 Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Babysitter

Get to know a potential new babysitter by asking some thought-provoking questions.

By Betsy Voreacos

Whether you’re looking for a full-time babysitter to take care of your kids while you work, a Saturday night savior, or someone to help you out while you’re at home, it’s important to find the right fit. Here are some questions that will give you a sense of who you’re dealing with and help you make the decision whether to hire them or move on to the next contestant!

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Why do you want this job?

Something on the lines of, “I love working and playing with kids and enjoy being a part of their development,” is a much more telling answer than, “I need the money,” or, worse, a shoulder shrug.

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What’s your idea of an ideal afternoon babysitting?

Hopefully, you’ll get an answer like go to the park, read books, play games, dance, take a nature walk, or practice writing the alphabet.

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Do you avoid messes? Or just clean them up?

This could be a trick question depending on what you believe the right response to be. But what you’re looking for is someone right in the middle, who will finger paint with the kids but clean up your kitchen afterwards. You don’t want a person who constantly runs after your child with a wet wipe (unless, of course, you do)!

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Use Bounty to Clean Up Kid Messes

There’s not much Bounty paper towels can’t tackle with ease! Make sure you show your sitter where you stash the spare rolls, too.


Who was your favorite babysitter, and why?

“I loved Jen because she used to let us watch TV all night long!” is certainly a less preferable answer than, “Cindy was the best! We always took long walks and got to play hide-and-seek outside!”

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What would make you call me at work (or wherever I happen to be)?

Again, this is a preference. You might want your babysitter checking in hourly, or you might not want a call unless it’s to report an accident or major breakdown. But the way your babysitter answers can be very telling about what she considers to be an issue. And if you hire him or her, you can certainly set your own parameters.

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How do you deal with a tantrum?

You’d be surprised how many non-answers you can get for this one! While it always depends on the circumstances, the ideal babysitter has had a lot of experience bringing toddlers back from the brink and will readily share his or her insights.

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What are your personal interests and hobbies?

If your kids are sporty, you’ll want to find a sitter who will happily engage them in athletic pursuits. And if they’re more creative, someone with an artsy side would be a better fit. The best rule of thumb is to ask enough questions to get a good sense of who the potential babysitter is, then go with your gut – and don’t forget to check references!

What qualifications do you think are most important for a babysitter to have?

Betsy lives with her family a stone’s throw from New York City. An overly involved mother of three children, Betsy has always been acutely aware of her shortcomings as a parent, not to mention those of her children. She documents her life in the brutally honest Old Minivans Die Hard.

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