The Babysitting Guide: Babysitter Interview

How to interview a babysitter

Interviews are essential when searching for a sitter. Cover the basics, then focus on your rapport with the candidate using conversational questions. Here are some questions to get you started:

Basic questions:

  • Name, phone, address, age, citizenship status
  • Availability (e.g., after school, evenings, weekends, short notice)
  • Rates (different cities have different rates. For example, the cost for a Chicago Babysitter may be different from the cost of a New York Babysitter. Visit's Babysitting Pay Calculator to find out the rate in your area)
  • References (request name and contact information for 2-3 references)

Conversational questions:

  • Tell me about your experience with children (e.g. babysat siblings, has children)? What age ranges do you have experience with, and are you most comfortable with?
  • What activities do you like doing with kids? Are you willing to go on short, nearby outings (e.g. park, library)?
  • How do you comfort and discipline children? How have you handled crying children or temper tantrums in the past?
  • What is your comfort level with cooking and preparing meals for kids?
  • Are you comfortable with bathing children and bedtime routines?
  • Have you had problems in the past following directives like discipline, development, and daily routines?
  • What have been the most challenging and rewarding parts about being a babysitter?
  • What was your scariest or most difficult babysitting moment? How did you handle the situation?
  • Have you ever had to handle a child emergency? What did you do and what was the outcome? Do you have infant and child CPR certification? Would you be willing to receive such training?
  • 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 your babysitting?

Once you have covered your questions, encourage open communication and ask if they have questions for you. Then, post-interview, follow up with the sitter's references and ask about creativity, dependability, communication abilities, strengths, weakness, and why she's no longer working for them.

Interviews are key to determining whether a babysitter is a good match for your family. Outline your questions in advance to help guide the conversation.

Christine Koh is a music and brain scientist turned parent and writer about parenting issues for She is also the editor of

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Comments (37)
Marylouise P.
Is it too intrusive or even illegal to ask about a potential sitter's health or if they are exposed to children who have not been vaccinated? I know it's a slippery slope but I think health is a part of safety and protecting your child(ren).
Posted: June 29, 2015 at 11:36 AM
Photo of Caryn T.
Caryn T.
I think you should bring your children to the interview to see how the potential new sitter reacts to your children and how they respond and react to her. Children pick up things that adults do not. I interview in the persons home since I will be leaving my kids there. I want to see how clean the house is, kitchen, bathroom, bathtub, my kids need overnight care. A house says a lot about the person.
Posted: November 06, 2014 at 9:56 AM
Do they typically do drug tests? Or is that too intrusive?
Posted: October 14, 2014 at 11:00 AM
Is it to much to ask about the environment at there home. for example, is it clean, do you have pets, who is in the home,are there older kids younger kids, who will be interacting with my child.
Posted: May 19, 2014 at 11:28 AM
Jillian P.
Can you ask to see their id and address? Or photocopy. Or is that too intrusive ...
Posted: May 07, 2014 at 6:19 PM
Photo of Thelma J.
Thelma J.
I am a certified care provider for children and seniors with years of experience especially newborns and infants. I have two children and was their full time mom for 9 years. In my own opinion, caring for a child needs a lot of common sense. The routines are very practical and the job is so much easier if you know what you are doing. I understand what parents are looking for in a babysitter. They want a 100% security and safety for their children and assurance that their kids are all well fed, nurtured, and loved. I am a mother too, so at work I do the same considering other kids as your own kids. Parents out there should be very careful in choosing your babysitter. There are so many that are very good in interviews but not good in their job. A good communicator doesn't mean a good babysitter. There are some better/best babysitters or nannies yet not really good in expressing their ideas but your children are well taken good care compared to others. I knew these things because some families shared their experience with other sitters. Don't be cheap in paying babysitters because they work really hard for the well being of your children and keeping your house neat and clean. Respect and treat your nannies like a family because they are your partners in taking good care of your
Posted: March 24, 2014 at 5:18 PM Member Care
Hi Cybelle! You should absolutely ask those type of questions! Our Preferred + Background Check also includes a Motor Vehicle Record for situations just like yours! Here's another great article you can check out about things to know when your nanny is going to be driving your kids:
I hope this helps!
Posted: March 04, 2014 at 2:55 PM
Cybelle P.
I need a babysitter that can take my baby from the day care and bring him home. Should I ask about car insurance x drivers ability? is it too intrusive?
Posted: February 26, 2014 at 11:28 AM
Photo of Amy D.
Amy D.
These questions are a great start for the interview. We are about to start interviewing for a babysitter and I wasn't sure where to begin. Thanks for the advice.
Posted: February 21, 2014 at 3:06 PM
Photo of Kimberly W.
Kimberly W.
Would you consider scheduling an interview with about 30 min of personal interaction with the kids they will be watching(while i did house chores nearby or something) still an unpaid interview? Or would that be considered a payable job?
Posted: January 22, 2014 at 5:23 PM
Skarlit Adalee
These questions were great! For a 13 year old daily babysitter, they really helped me!
Posted: January 01, 2014 at 7:27 PM
I just got a babysitting job by my boyfriends boss..shes gonna interveiw me about it her baby's a 1 yr. Old I have in the past watched over kids from 1-12 but its only been in the family so I'm new to this does anyone know what questions ill be asked?
Posted: December 11, 2013 at 4:24 PM
Photo of Carina A.
Carina A.
I am 18 and a babysitter. This has been very helpful reading through the comments. Now I feel like I know a little more of what to expect from potential new families looking for my assistance.
Posted: September 27, 2013 at 9:47 PM
Kimberly P.
Very helpful since I am in the process of finding a babysitter for the near future : )
Posted: September 18, 2013 at 10:55 AM
Member Care.
Hi Smita W,

Safety is a top priority at and we always advise our families to go through several rounds of interviewing even if the care is not a long term arrangement. Our best advice would be to start off with a phone interview, then meet in a neutral spot like a coffee shop or library, and then do a final interview within your home.
Posted: March 20, 2013 at 1:43 PM
Photo of Smita W.
Smita W.
Do you interview babysitter in person for date night or one time babysitting ?
Posted: March 18, 2013 at 7:14 PM
I would never allow any sitter to bath our kids.Your asking for trouble..
New research suggests girls sexploring young boys is almost epidemic-why would you even take the chance. This is a new age, protect your kids. If you cannot get them ready in time whats one more day!!!!
Posted: January 21, 2013 at 7:51 PM
Danielle W.
I also always ask about religion, and if they plan on teaching their beliefs to the children.
Posted: January 12, 2013 at 2:51 PM
Danielle W.
always ask about family history of abuse, expecialy sexual abuse. People who are abused, act out because of it in different ways. A friend of mine had an excelent sitter who watched her 4 year old daughter at the sitters house, but while she was making lunch, the kids played in the back yard, her son, who had been sexualy abused, pulled his pants down and grabed the young girl, acting out from his own experience. The sitter intervined immediatly, and it could have been much worse if she hadnt, but still, that girl is scarred. I know because I took over as her sitter and her whole attitude/ temperment changed as soon as my husband came home, or when there were boys playing at the park we waled to.
Posted: January 12, 2013 at 2:46 PM
i'am a babysitter and i have heard these questions a lot asking about me and my experience. and i think that this site would be most helpful to for moms and dads who don't really know the person that they are leaving there children in the hands of.
Posted: December 09, 2012 at 12:33 PM
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