You’ve been given the number to a well known sitter in your neighborhood and she’s agreed to meet you for coffee to discuss her potentially watching your children. She could be your sanity saver, your golden ticket to footloose and fancy free date nights… She could be the one, your new babysitter! But first, before you schedule that night out, you need to know what qualifying questions to ask the sitter so you can enjoy your mommy time off without worry!
First off, I say get down the somewhat uncomfortable discussion of compensation out of the way first thing. It’s important to establish if you and your potential babysitter are on the same page in efforts to not waste anyone’s valuable time. Have the talk first, so you can quickly move on to deeper, more care related questions.
- How much do you charge per hour? Per child?
- Do you including light housekeeping in your rate? (Picking up after children’s snack, putting away toys, throwing their clothes/towels in the hamper post bath time, etc.)
Second, let’s talk baby. Not every sitter is comfortable working with newborns and infants, so be sure your care giver candidate is up to the task.
Oh Baby, Baby:
- Are you comfortable mixing formula/preparing frozen breast milk for bottles?
- How do you feel about changing diapers?
- The baby won’t stop crying, how do you deal?
- You feel yourself becoming frustrated with the baby, how do you cope?
- How do you feel about conducting our bedtime routine with the baby/toddler? (Bath, books, rocking to sleep, etc.)
Third, I am undoubtedly more comfortable with a sitter who has some prior experience under their belt and multiple references I can reach out to if I feel the need. The following inquiries will help you establish that comfort level.
- Can you provide three references of families you’ve sat for or are currently sitting for?
- Are you currently working with any other families?
- What is your availability? Do you have commitments with other families on certain days?
- How long have you been babysitting?
- In the past, what were the ages of the children you sat for?
Another huge factor in getting comfortable with a brand new babysitter is asking about his/her emergency preparedness. It’s always a reassuring feeling to know my kids would be well taken care of should something urgent occur while I was away.
The 411 on 911:
- Do you have a cell phone available to you to make emergency calls?
- Are you currently trained in child and infant CPR?
- Tell me about a time you handled an emergency situation. If you haven’t, how do you feel you’re prepared to react in an emergency while babysitting?
- Our house is on fire. What is your first move?
- Our child is choking. What do you do?
- Tell me a scenario in which you would need to call poison control.
End on a positive and ask them about play! How they handle sibling rivalry, what activities they enjoy with kids, all the important things your littles want to know about their new care provider.
Play Time Prep:
- A child breaks one of our rules, (offer established list of your particular “house rules”) how do you respond?
- The siblings are arguing/hitting/fighting, how do you respond?
- Name your three favorite activities to do while babysitting to keep the kids busy/entertained/engaged.
We hope you find nothing but success when searching for your very own special sitter! Tell us, what questions would you add to our list?