Updated January 1, 1 . AmFam Team
From newborns to young kids, there’s a lot to love about your growing family. But taking time for yourself to foster your other relationships is a necessary part of leading a balanced life. That’s why it’s important to hire a babysitter you can trust. When it’s time to hire a babysitter, it’s important to take the time to find the right fit so your kids are safe and happy. Check out our tips on vetting and hiring potential babysitters and find out what you need to know when hiring a sitter.
Before you settle on your go-to sitter, take these steps and make sure your candidate meets all of the standard qualifications:
Find a sitter through trusted sources. Check in with family members that have kids in high school who may be looking for child care jobs.
Purchase an online babysitter subscription. Groups like care.com and Bambino have well-built apps that allow you to filter and search for your family’s specific needs. And for a fee, you’ll be able to run a background check on your candidate.
Make time for a phone interview. After making contact, schedule a time to learn about each other over the phone. It’s really important to know right away if they enjoy working with children, so learn about why they want to babysit first.
Get to know the person who’ll be watching your child by doing some investigating. Here are a few considerations when you’re researching your sitter’s history.
Ask for references. One of the best ways to learn about your future sitter is to study their past. Get at least three references and find out from them about what the sitter did well and get details on what went wrong, if there were issues. You’ll likely know after speaking with the references if your sitter’s going to make the cut.
Ask about previous babysitting experience. Get to know how familiar your prospective babysitter is with their job. Learn about where they may be lacking experience by asking questions about how they would handle various situations. Some online candidates will list their work history or scholastic track — remember to ask about their future plans too. You’ll get a better feel for who the sitter is as a person.
Google their full name before hiring. Do a little online homework on the candidate. Get on social media and see if they’ve got a presence on any of the big platforms. Review their postings and their friend’s comments to get an idea of who they are.
Learn about training. Ask whether they’ve taken the American Red Cross Babysitter Class (Opens in a new tab). If they haven’t, encourage them to. This is where they learn safety practices like CPR, first aid and how to handle emergencies.
One of the most important things to watch when interviewing babysitters is their interactions with your kids. Here are some key tips to keep in mind when meeting the babysitter for the first time.
Mark the time. Punctuality is important. If the sitter was late be sure to ask why. Let them know that they’ll need to be on time, every time. Whether you’re hiring for full time or part time, you need to know — at the in-person interview — that they’ll be reliable.
Look at their appearance. Remember, this is a job interview. One key part of the interview process is getting a handle on who this candidate is as a person. Will they be a good influence on your kid? Now’s the time to answer that question.
Watch how they interact with your kids. One great way to explore the sitter/kid dynamic is to observe them spending time with your kids. Have them play dolls or with toys together for about five minutes. Look at the way they interact and study your kids’ reaction to the sitter. Are they comfortable? Does it feel like a good fit?
Review the job description. Explore your rules and discuss expected behaviors, both of the sitter and your kids. It’s also key to have a discussion on the way disciplining should be handled. Discuss bathing and bedtime routines too.
Show them around your place. Once you’ve got a feel that things may work out, give them a tour. Show them around and let them ask questions. Details on bedtime routines and preparing meals can be reviewed then.
Review the emergency contact sheet. Put a list of names and cell phone numbers of people to contact in case of emergency on the fridge or in a highly visible area in the kitchen. The sheet should also have your kid’s full names and their birthdate, along with any health-related issues or concerns.
When you’re finally ready to hire them, make the first outing a shorter one to give them one final test before a longer night out. Ask the babysitter to watch the kids for a trial run while you run a quick errand. If all goes well, keep them around for the long-haul!