I am pleased to welcome Hannah Munson as MamaOT’s newest guest blogger! Because we parents need a break from our kids every once in a while, it’s important to have a good babysitter or two (or three!) lined up. So today Hannah is going to share some of the most important questions to ask a potential babysitter in order to make the best decision about who will watch the munchkin(s) when you need some kid-free time.
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Photo credit: Jenn Durfey
Hiring a new babysitter can be a daunting task, and since you’re going to be leaving your child with a potential stranger, you definitely don’t want to hire the wrong person! Since there are hundreds of babysitters lurking in your area waiting for a job, you may soon find that you have a handful of applicants in front of you that want to watch your children. Before you hire one, though, it’s important to know how you can choose the best one to put your mind at rest.
To help make the process easier, you need to act like the boss and treat this like a business. By asking the right questions, you’re bound to find the right candidate. With that being said, here are 22 questions to ask a potential babysitter:
#1 What are your hours? How often are you going to be available? It’s always best to find a babysitter that is going to be open to all hours. That way, if you need them in an emergency, they will be readily available.
#2 How many kids are you comfortable with watching? How many have you watched in the past? If you have more than three kids, it’s best to find someone that has worked with the amount of kids that you have.
#3 Aside from babysitting, are you comfortable with doing anything else such as cleaning, making dinner and picking them up? The more chores the babysitter is able to do, the less stressed you can be when you get home for the day.
#4 Why should I hire you? Let me know about your qualifications. Try to hire a babysitter that has CPR training and extensive babysitting experience.
#5 Will you be able to give me with at least three references? Follow up with these references if you can, and always know how these references are related to them.
#6 Are you comfortable with letting me do a background check? Potential babysitters that say no can raise red flags.
#7 Do you have any children? This is a huge plus if they already have children of any age.
#8 What annoys you? Listen to this answer closely, and don’t let them say, “Nothing!”
#9 How would you discipline a child? If they can’t come with an answer, let them know what kind of discipline you believe in.
#10 Explain a difficult situation you have been in before, and how you dealt with it. Every babysitter has been in a difficult situation before, so don’t let them say they haven’t been in one.
#11 Do you like being around pets? Only ask this question if you have household pets of any kind.
#12 How are you going to get here? It’s best to hire someone who has reliable transportation. If they are under the age of 16, ask them if the person taking them to your house is reliable.
#13 How are we looking long term? If this is going to be a babysitting job that lasts longer than six months, be sure to know what they can do for you in the future.
#14 What are your favorite activities? We know that children love to keep busy, so ask what kind of activities they will do to keep your children entertained.
#15 Are you comfortable with putting children to bed? Parents know how strict a bed time can be. If your babysitter has to put them in bed, make sure that they are comfortable with it.
#16 Have you ever dealt with an emergency? Remember, if they don’t have transportation, it’s important that they know who to contact.
#17 How are you doing in school? What classes are you taking? Ask these questions for those who are in school. Good grades can show a lot of responsibility.
#18 Tell me a bit about the jobs you have had in the past. If they don’t have any experience, it’s up to you if you want to hire them. One perk is that rookie babysitters can cost less than the professionals.
#19 Do you have any health problems? Ask them about their allergies or about any other health problems to make sure that they are healthy enough to work with your children.
#20 How do you babysit? Try to get an inside look at how they will babysit your children daily.
#21 What will you do if my children won’t get along with you? It’s always great to throw a curve ball in the mix to see how they will react.
#22 How much do you want to be paid? Ask them up front how much they want to paid. Just make sure that it’s in a reasonable range.
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Hannah Munson is the co-founder of the website HowMuchIsIt.org, the ultimate cost helping resource that provides the cost on just about anything. Aside from working on this website, Hannah enjoys playing with her 2-year old son, scrapbooking, walking, biking, reading and enjoying time with her friends and family.Want more handy tips and tricks to help the kids in your life? Then be sure to like Mama OT on Facebook, and follow on Twitter and Pinterest. Oh, and subscribe to Mama OT by clicking "Subscribe!" on the homepage so you can receive new posts via email and not miss out on all the great tips published here!