Interviewing a Babysitter: Questions to Ask

mom and babysitter talking

Interviews are key in determining whether a babysitter is a good match for your family. Prepare a list of questions and topics that are important to you. This is your opportunity to get a feel for an applicant, so don't be bashful about asking questions. Start with the basics, then focus on your rapport with the candidate following these guidelines.

Basic 411
  • Contact Information: Name, phone, address, age, citizenship status. Request a photo ID to confirm the person is who she claims to be.
  • Availability - after school, evenings, weekends, short notice. Make sure this coincides with the amount of hours required for the job.
  • Rate - different cities have different rates. Check out our Babysitting Pay Calculator to find out the standard rate in your area.
  • References: Request contact information for 2-3 references.

Background Questions:

  • How long have you been caring for children and what ages do you have experience with?
  • Do you have other work or life experience that you can bring that will help you do this job well?
  • Are you trained in CPR? Have you taken classes in child care? Would you be willing to take classes if necessary?

Job Questions:

  • How flexible is your schedule?
  • How many kids are you comfortable watching? (Important for play dates)
  • What activities do you like doing with kids?
  • Are there any responsibilities that you won't do?
    • Are you willing to go on short, nearby outings (park, library, etc.)?
    • Are you willing to prep meals/snacks or take care of a pet? (If this is something you need)
    • Are you comfortable changing diapers, bathing and bedtime routines?
  • How do you comfort and discipline children? How have you handled crying or temper tantrums in the past?

Personality Questions:

  • What do you like best about babysitting? What is most challenging?
  • What was your scariest or most difficult moment on the job? How did you handle the situation?
  • Have you ever experienced a child emergency? What did you do and what was the outcome?
  • What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
  • For teenage sitters: How are your grades? What do you enjoy doing outside the classroom? Are your parents supportive of you babysitting?

Good Fit Questions - Don't Forget!

You want to make sure the person you hire is comfortable with who you are as a family, especially if there are specific needs. For instance, if a family member: 

  • Maintains a strict diet (vegetarian, kosher, etc.)
  • Follows certain religious or cultural practices
  • Has special needs concerns like autism or ADHD
  • Has particular medication needs
  • Is going through a tough time (at school, personally or professionally)

Once you've covered your questions, encourage open communication. From additional expectations to your management style, be prepared to answer any questions on her end. Then, post-interview, follow up with the sitter's references to see what they have to say about her work ethic and if they can validate what you came across in the interview.

 

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