How to Choose a Babysitter Who You Can Safely Leave Your Child With
Babysitting is a responsible matter which you can’t trust to people who raise doubts about their professionalism. Of course, you can ask your neighbor, a friend, or a family member to babysit. But can you be sure that they will be able to provide the help to your child when necessary? Professional babysitters would be much more preferable to other candidates in this matter.
5-Minute Crafts would like to tell you about how to go about choosing a babysitter for your child. In the end, you’ll find a convenient check-list which has criteria for the evaluation of their professional qualities.
Where you should look for a babysitter.
1. Personal recommendations. Ask your friends and acquaintances if they know a suitable candidate. Turn to other moms and dads you know. Ask even those who don’t have children: Perhaps they have siblings or they just know where to look for a good babysitter. This method is the most effective if you want to get a reliable information.
When talking to these people, pay attention to what kind of children the babysitter is experienced with. Just because the babysitter does a good job with newborns doesn’t mean they can get along with children of school age. In addition, don’t forget about personal preferences: Don’t be afraid to reject a candidate recommended by a family member. Even if a potential babysitter has been described as “the best of the best,” they may not be right for you.
2. Agency. A good agency will collect all the necessary information about the candidate in advance. You don’t have to check a babysitter’s work experience and medical certificates on your own. Go to the official website and select a babysitter that suits you, then conduct a phone and face-to-face interview with them.
Be careful and double-check the information: Get in touch with their former employers, ask the candidate for copies or originals of their documents. However, this must be done whatever search method you use.
3. Social media. In regional mothers groups, you will surely find posts from someone offering their services. Also, those who no longer need a babysitter can write there, and they want to recommend their babysitter to others. With this search, you will have to conduct a more thorough verification of all information than with the methods where you turn to an agency or friends.
💡 Tip: When posting your request, be careful in choosing the words that describe a babysitter you need. The word “calm,” for example, can mean different things to different people: For some people it can mean that the babysitter is inactive and doesn’t have fun with the children, for another person it can mean that they don’t panic in stressful situations. Specify what you mean, “We are looking for a calm babysitter who doesn’t raise their voice and understands the importance of rest between activities.”
How to conduct an interview.
- After collecting information from various sources, you’ll get a list of several candidates. Choose 5 to 10 of them that you find most suitable and conduct a phone interview. This is a good way to exclude those candidates who are least suitable for you. Confirm all basic data such as the name, address, and date of birth. Discuss the main information: availability, rates, recommendations. This is just a preliminary interview, so you shouldn’t ask questions about the aspects of babysitting.
A telephone interview will make it clear which of the candidates you want to meet in person. The selection process can take about a couple of days. Then let the eligible candidates know that you would like to meet them. You can also inform the rest of the candidates that they are not suitable for you in a polite manner, this way you will save them unnecessary waiting.
Don’t forget to check the recommendations and all the basic information before meeting a candidate in person. This is important to make sure that a candidate doesn’t try to hide something from you or cheat. A good babysitter has nothing to hide.
- After this stage, it’s time to meet the chosen candidates in person. Each interview should take 30 to 45 minutes. You can conduct an interview at home or in a neutral place like a café. It’s better to have the first interview without your children, so that you could focus on the questions that interest you the most. Take a notebook and pen with you to take notes. Ask the babysitter to bring their ID with a photo, the certificates of completion of courses (for example, a first aid course) and other documents of your interest.
When meeting in person, pay attention to how the babysitter looks like, how neat they are. Take the following details into account: body language, how open they are, how they hold themselves. Ask all the questions that concern you and make notes not only of the answers, but also the emotions your candidate expressed when answering your questions.
What questions you should ask.
- Please describe your previous experience.
- Have you received any specialized training in childcare such as a first aid course, or a babysitting course?
- Do you have any health restrictions that could affect your ability to babysit?
- Do you enjoy working with children?
- What activities do you plan to do with my child?
- Children of what age do you most enjoy working with? Least enjoy? Why? Which age group are you most comfortable with?
- What’s your overall childcare philosophy?
- What will you do if the children aren’t getting along or fighting?
- How will you handle the child’s anxiety about separation with their parents?
- What will you do if the child misbehaves?
- Under what type of situation would you call me?
- Do you know how to feed a baby or a toddler? Do you know what to do if a child chokes?
- Describe your worst babysitting experience.
- What professional qualities do you have that should make me want to hire you?
- What can I do as a parent to help you get along with my children?
- Can we draw up a contract? It’s important to make sure that both parties understand their responsibilities and stick to them.
What you should next.
Conduct a test meeting between the candidate and your children. Observe how the potential babysitter interacts with them. If the candidate is a professional, the “test run” won’t bother them. When the meeting takes place, pay attention to the following aspects:
- Do you like the communication style of the candidate?
- What are their teaching skills?
- How playful and welcoming are they?
- Are you comfortable with the way the candidate disciplines?
- How does your child communicate with the potential babysitter?
Actually, it’s your child who makes the choice because they will spend a lot of time with the babysitter. No matter how suitable the candidate may seem to you, if they can’t find a common ground with your child, you’ll have to find a new candidate.
Check list: the features of a good babysitter.
- They’re welcoming and friendly.
- They ask questions about your child, they seem involved.
- They always come on time. They inform you that they can’t come in advance in order not to ruin the parents’ plans at the last moment.
- They have taken a first aid course. They know how to act in a stressful situation and in an emergency.
- They enjoy spending time with children in an active manner.
- They follow the parents’ recommendations and stick to the child’s schedule.
- They wear comfortable clothes to hang out with kids.
- They provide the parents with feedback. They tell you what the day was like, what they did together with the children, etc. They speak in an open manner and don’t try to hide something when talking to you in front of your child.
- And the most important thing. Your children feel comfortable with them and like to spend time with them. Your children are not afraid to stay with the babysitter alone.