Babysitting is a big responsibility. As a parent, you need to ensure that prospective babysitters are ready to accept the responsibility for your child’s care, safety, and life. After you have identified a prospective babysitter, you need to schedule an in-person or video interview.
In the interview, ask the prospective babysitter about his or her experience, training, fee, as well as several “what-if” questions. Here are seven things you should ask when interviewing a prospective sitter.
It is important that a prospective sitter have experience caring for children as a babysitter or in volunteer positions. New babysitters may have experience caring for younger siblings or cousins. The care and handling of infants less than six months old is very demanding. When hiring a babysitter for an infant, only hire sitters that have at least 2 years’ experience babysitting for older infants and children.
Never hire a babysitter that is not trained to rescue a choking child or respond to an injury or illness. It is best for babysitters to complete a babysitting preparation course such as Safe Sitter® or a pediatric CPR course. Encourage prospective sitters that lack first aid experience to complete a Safe Sitter® course (grades 6-8) or an American Heart Association CPR course (grade 9 and older).
Prospective sitters need to be comfortable with feeding children, changing diapers or assisting children with the bathroom, entertaining children, and following bedtime routines. Babysitters also need to know how to prevent and manage challenging behavior.
Discussing money with an adult can be awkward for a teen babysitter. Experienced sitters will likely be upfront with their hourly rate while newer sitters may prefer for you to suggest a rate. The best formula to determine a fair rate is to start with the minimum wage in your area for one child and then an additional $2-$5 for each additional child.
Asking a “what-if” question gives you an opportunity to learn how a babysitter would handle challenging behavior and the answer serves as an example of his or her behavior management skills. Prospective sitters should discuss what action they would take, such as distracting the child with a toy or game, and how they would provide comfort to the child.
One of the most important things a prospective sitter needs to do is keep your child safe. Babysitters should know to not answer the door unless they are expecting a visitor and they have permission from you to have another person come to the house during the babysitting job.
It is important to let your babysitter know in advance if you have pets. Prospective sitters may have allergies to pet dander or may not be comfortable with certain pets. In addition, pets may create additional tasks during the babysitting job that the prospective sitter would need to consider.
You will also want to ask the prospective sitter for references of other babysitting employers or adults that have observed him or her caring for children. If you are hiring a babysitter for an infant or toddler, it is always best to schedule a one-hour training/observation session (with pay) before the first babysitting job.