Moms need babysitters they can really trust. They need to be able to count on them because babysitters take care of the most important people in their lives. Children are precious and babysitters need to treat them as though they are their own. However, not all babysitters can deliver this level of dedication and concern.
When it comes to choosing a babysitter, a mom will need to slow down, do the research and homework, and then find candidates who offer the right blend of maturity, compassion, and experience. Finding a great babysitter can be tough and the best babysitters are worth their weight in gold. Fortunately, there is a list of questions that all moms need to ask the babysitters to ensure a good fit.
Interviewing a babysitter is important. Moms shouldn't cut corners. An interview will help a Mom to discover so many important facts about a candidate. Without an in-depth interview, a mom may miss red flags and end up regretting hiring a person to take care of her kids.
When moms are diligent about asking questions, they'll boost the odds of hiring babysitters with the right stuff. Now, it's time to look at 20 Questions A Mom Should Ask A Babysitter. When Moms get the right answers, they'll be ready to hire the right people to look after their babies or older kids.
20 What Is Your Childcare Philosophy?
This question is pretty important. Your babysitter's childcare philosophy should match your own, or be very close to it. As an employer of a babysitter, you will be a boss and you will have standards. You need to find someone who delivers the type of childcare that you believe in.
A babysitter really shouldn't be ultra-rigid about a personal philosophy that relates to his or her job, according to 211childcare.org. Ideally, a babysitter should be willing to adopt your childcare beliefs, because that person will be taking care of your children. Naturally, a babysitter who already shares the same childcare philosophy is going to find it easy to meet your standards and guidelines.
19 Do You Have A Driver's License?
If you want your babysitter to drop off and pick up kids, you may wish to hire a babysitter who has a driver's license. Also, a babysitter with a driver's license (and a vehicle to drive) will be able to get to a hospital quickly if your child needs medical attention. So, be sure and ask a candidate if he or she has a valid driver's license. If the babysitter does have a license, ask about his or her driver's record. Is it clean?
If you just need a babysitter when you're out, and feel comfortable hiring someone who doesn't have a driver's license, that's ok, but you may want more from a babysitter.
18 How Do You Discipline Kids?
A babysitter shouldn't be doling out corporal punishment. When you're interviewing a babysitter, make sure that his or her style of discipline fits your parenting style and values. Ask a candidate how he or she disciplines children and listen carefully to the answers. There are non-physical forms of discipline that you may or may not approve of, such as time-outs. You need to know what a babysitter is going to do if your child misbehaves.
You should be able to set rules here and have the babysitter follow them, but a babysitter with a much harsher sense of discipline, or a weaker sense of discipline, probably isn't going to be a good fit.
17 What's The Most Challenging Aspect Of Being A Babysitter?
Babysitting is hard work. Children don't always act like angels and they sometimes find it easier to rebel against babysitters than their own parents. Also, some babysitters need to take care of infants and babies need constant care.
Babysitting is a real job that is worthy of respect. Amazing babysitters tire themselves out doing their best for kids.
To find out more about a babysitter, before you hire, ask him or her what the most challenging aspect of the job is...and then listen carefully. According to Smartsitting.com, you should try to find out as much about a candidate as you can. This question will give insight into a candidate's attitude about his or her job.
16 Will You Supervise Playdates?
Your babysitter will be paid to look after your kids, but what about your kid's buddies? If you love having playdates for your children, you may want to find a babysitter who's willing to supervise these get-togethers. Make sure that a candidate is not going to have a problem looking after extra kids. Some candidates may not like it, especially if there's a lot of extra kids.
According to Dcurbanmom.com, a nanny or babysitter may feel that she's being asked to provide free childcare for other people's kids during playdates, or she may not want to supervise kids who tend to fight with one another. So, find out how a candidate feels about this.
15 Will You Do Light Housework?
Babysitters aren't maids, but they may need to do a bit of housework in order to take good care of the kids. For example, they may need to prepare meals and clean up afterward, or tidy up playrooms, or do some laundry so the kids have clean clothes for their activities. If you want this type of light housework, make sure that a candidate is willing to do it.
In general, you shouldn't ask a babysitter to do housework that doesn't directly relate to childcare.
According to Alphamom.com, moms often want light housework but feel awkward asking for it. If you want this service, make that clear during the interview.
14 Would You Travel With Our Family?
Do you want a babysitter who will travel with your family? This is usually more "nanny territory'' but a babysitter may be willing to go along on family holidays or other types of trips. Babysitters usually get a bit of extra pay when they travel with families because traveling with families is outside of their usual work duties. Traveling with a family will take away the babysitter's capacity to do his or her own thing once childcare work is complete.
If a candidate doesn't want to do this, it's not necessarily a deal-breaker, but it's worth considering, as another candidate may be fine with travel. Consider your own family's needs and if going out of town for a vacation or even just to the family cottage is something you frequently do or hope to do in the future.
13 Is It OK If I Come Home Late Sometimes?
This is a big one. There will be times when your schedule goes haywire, especially if you're a working mom. Stuff comes up at work.
When a situation arises, you may need to stay late to deal with it. It'll give you peace of mind to know that your babysitter won't be upset when you roll in past the usual time.
It's good if babysitters are flexible about their hours. If they aren't, there may be tension and problems, according to Cnn.com. So, let your babysitter know that you'd prefer to hire someone who is willing to stay late when stuff comes up. If a babysitter doesn't have this flexibility, consider finding someone else.
12 Do You Have References?
It's not enough to ask for references. You have to go further by actually contacting the references and having discussions with the references. If you want a babysitter with a proven track record, rather than a newbie, you should ask for no less than three references and check every one of them.
Great babysitters know that parents want references and they have them on hand. References are the way that they get new jobs. So, don't feel guilty for asking for references and then actually contacting them.
According to Enannysource.com, when speaking to references, you should ask about the babysitter's reliability. Also, ask what kind of person the babysitter (or nanny) was.
11 Are You For Or Against Nanny Cams?
Nanny cams are a form of video surveillance. Some moms record their babysitters and let them know they're being recorded. Other moms do it covertly.
Which type of mom do you want to be? If you're considering recording any babysitter that you hire, and want to be open about it, you should ask a prospective candidate how he or she feels about nanny cams.
Nanny cams are legal in the USA, as long as they aren't used in areas that are considered private, such as a nanny's bedroom or a washroom, according to Care.com. Canadians should review provincial laws to find out the rules. It's best to hire a babysitter who's ok with being recorded.
10 Do You Have Formal Education In Childcare?
In an ideal world, every babysitter would have education in childcare. In the real world, this isn't the case. A babysitter may be too young to have a lot of education or be older, but uneducated. When you ask a candidate if he or she has formal education in childcare, there won't be any misunderstandings. You'll be able to make a wise and informed decision about hiring that person.
According to Indeed.com, babysitters should fit certain criteria. They should be over 18 and they should have four years of experience. But what about education? How much education a parent wants varies. Find someone who has a level of childcare education that works for you.
9 Do You Have A Record?
A professional babysitter will typically have done his or her own background check on him or herself, according to Care.com. If a candidate doesn't come in with this type of paperwork, you should ask the person about his or her record. If you want to do a background check, ask for written permission.
Some parents go to police departments to access background checks on candidates. Others prefer to pay third-party companies to do background checks. How far you want to go with this process is really up to you, but, when it comes to your kids, you really can't be too careful.
8 Do You Have CPR and First Aid Training?
You really shouldn't hire anyone who doesn't have CPR and First Aid training. Also, you shouldn't take a babysitter's word for it that he or she has these important (and potentially life-saving) credentials. You should always request proof.
If something happens, such as an accident or sudden illness, a babysitter is going to need to spring into action to help your child. Without CPR or First Aid training, a babysitter may not be able to prolong life until emergency personnel arrives.
These courses are easy to find at Redcross.org and other places, so there's no excuse for a babysitter not to take the courses.
7 Have You Ever Handled A Childcare Emergency?
Childcare emergencies are every parent's worst nightmare. Unfortunately, they do happen sometimes. This is why you should ask a babysitter that you're interviewing how he or she handled this type of emergency. Maybe the candidate never dealt with an emergency like this, but learning how they would handle it could be helpful.
It's nice to know that a candidate has the mental wherewithal to do all of the right things when the going gets tough. For example, did the babysitter call an ambulance, administer CPR or otherwise solve a problem rapidly? A great babysitter will be awesome in a crisis.
6 What Are Your Hobbies?
A prospective babysitter may be a talented artist, or a gifted athlete, or anything else under the sun. Taking a look at a babysitter's hobbies will help you to get to know him or her faster. Our hobbies say a lot about us. Also, asking about hobbies is definitely a great ice-breaker during interviews. It's a little break from asking the hard questions.
It'll be great if you can find a babysitter whose hobbies are similar to your own, but this isn't mandatory. As long as the hobby's wholesome, it's a sign of a well-rounded person who enjoys life.
5 What Is Your Availability?
You'll need a babysitter whose schedule fits well with your own. Some babysitters are going to high school or college or working other jobs. They may have set schedules that you'll need to consider before hiring them. So, be sure to inquire about a prospective candidate's schedule early on in an interview.
Maybe this should be the first question that you ask! If your schedule doesn't gel with a candidate's, things just aren't going to work, so there's no point in asking that person a ton of other questions.
According to Care.com, in-person interviews are better than phone interviews. Keep this in mind as you plan your interviews.
4 What Do You Charge Per Hour?
You'll need to know how much money a babysitter will expect to make, per hour, while working for you. Before you think about how much you want to pay, you should learn the facts. According to Lifehacker.com,
Babysitters who live in cities tend to earn more because they are dealing with a higher cost of living than babysitters in smaller towns or rural areas.
In San Francisco, a babysitter will earn an average hourly rate of $16.65, which is higher than the general USA average rate of $13.44 per hour. Don't expect anyone to work for less than eleven bucks an hour.
3 Will You Show Me Photo ID?
You'll want to know that a babysitter is telling the truth about his or her identity. When you ask for photo ID, you'll be able to compare the ID to the person that is sitting right in front of you. While you may find it a bit awkward asking someone for their photo ID, it's really a standard practice in interviews with babysitters, so don't worry about it too much. Ultimately, the babysitter wants to make money and you want great childcare. A good babysitter who's professional will be happy to set your mind at ease by offering up photo ID. It's just good business.
2 Are You Able To Swim?
If you have a pool outside the family home or want your babysitter to supervise your child while he or she swims elsewhere, you should ask a candidate if he or she can swim. Babysitters and nannies who are able to swim will be good choices, as they'll be able to get into the water with children or rescue them if they see trouble from the sidelines. Having a babysitter who's able to swim will be more important for some families than others. You will know if it's important for your family. Children need very close supervision while swimming, according to Kidshealth.org.
1 Is Baby Care A Specialty?
If you have a precious little baby at home, and you need a babysitter, you will need to be absolutely certain that any babysitter you hire knows how to take care of a baby. Babies are stronger than they appear, but they are still fragile. They need babysitters who cuddle them, feed them the right amounts, change their diapers and generally make them feel safe, secure and cared for.
So, be very sure to ask a candidate if he or she has experience taking care of babies. Don't be afraid to ask specific questions, such as if they know how to prepare formula or a bottle of pumped milk.
References: Smartsitting.com, Cnn.com, Enannysource.com, Indeed.com, Care.com, LIfehacker.com, Kidshealth.org, Dcurbanmom.com, Canadiannanny.ca