A quality babysitter is an important find for every parent. It’s rare you can be with your children 100 percent of the time, and babysitters offer the exact kind of flexible care that many parents need. But finding the right babysitter can feel like a long, tedious process if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. Before you start your search, ask yourself these questions to narrow down your list of potential candidates:
Once you know what you’re looking for in a sitter, it should be fairly simple to write a babysitter job description. You’ll also want to determine how much to pay a babysitter. A good place to start is by checking average rates in your area with our Babysitting Rates Calculator.
Many parents turn to trustworthy online caregiver job websites, agencies or reliable recommendations from family and friends to find a new sitter. Job websites and personal referrals are typically the easiest and most affordable options, though some prefer the specialized experience of an agency. Regardless of the method you choose, going into the process with a clear idea of the kind of sitter you’re looking for will make the whole search more enjoyable and successful.
Two excellent ways to get to know potential babysitters are holding interviews and babysitter trial runs. An interview will give you a chance to gain more knowledge of a candidate’s work history and skills, and give you the opportunity to ask questions about their unique attributes as a caregiver. Even if you’re hiring someone you know, such as a friend or neighbor, or choosing someone based on a personal recommendation, it’s important to have a frank conversation about what you’re looking for and how their skills and availability align with the job being offered.
During an interview, your questions should focus on:
Once you find a candidate who aces your interview, it’s ideal to set up a paid tryout, during which they’ll care for the children for a short time with you present. During this trial, you’ll be able to see how they interact with your kids, their enthusiasm and sense of initiative, and whether or not they’re a good fit for your family.
Taken together, these very important steps in the hiring process will give you a chance to see your potential caregiver put their skills into action, and help you make an informed decision about whether or not to move forward.
The interview and trial run are over, and your potential new babysitter is rounding the hiring bases towards home plate. Before you can consider it a home run, though, you have to perform one of the last and most important steps in the hiring process: reference checks. Ideally, the babysitter should be able to provide two to three professional references, and you should call all of them.
Even if you already know the sitter personally, or know them through a friend or your neighborhood, it’s prudent to run reference checks, as you likely don’t know how they operate on a professional level. During a reference check, you’ll want to:
Once you’ve done all of your reference checks, you should have a clear idea of whether or not this is the babysitter for you. If this sitter will work for you on a regular basis, you may want to consider creating a babysitter contract, to ensure your expectations are aligned.
Congratulations! The hard work is over, and you’ve found your perfect babysitter! Now it’s time to prepare the kids and schedule your new sitter’s first day on the job. Before the babysitter comes over for the first time, there are a few key things to have in order that can help make their first day go more smoothly.
You’ll also want to give the new babysitter a quick tour of your home to ensure they know where everything is and are fully prepared to step into the role of caregiver when you leave. Once you have the first-day musts in order, it’s time to relax! You’ve done the hard work of finding a fantastic caregiver and setting them up to succeed. Now it’s time to let them do what they do best: take care of your children.