22 Questions to Always Ask a Potential Babysitter

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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Female Teenager

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 subscribe to Mama OT by clicking "Subscribe!" on the homepage so you can receive new posts via email. And be sure to keep up with all of Mama OT's tips and info shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Mama OT In addition to being mama to two sweet little boys and wife to a crazy awesome husband, Christie is a Registered & Licensed Occupational Therapist (OTR/L). She holds a B.A. in Psychology with a Minor in Education from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA...Go Bruins!), and an M.A. in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California (USC OT). She has experience working as a pediatric OT in early intervention (birth to 3), clinic-based, and school-based settings. Her mission with MamaOT.com is to encourage, educate, and empower those who care for children. Christie loves that she gets to PLAY when she goes to work, is hopelessly addicted to Kettle Corn, and is known for being able to turn virtually anything into a therapeutic tool or activity, from empty food containers to laundry and everything in between. Learn more about Christie and what inspired her to become an OT.

Occupational therapy (OT) is a holistic profession that helps people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities, also known as “occupations”. Some OTs help people diagnosed with disability, injury, or disease. Others help prevent disability, injury, or disease. Because of occupational therapy, people of all ages are able to say, "I can!" no matter what their struggle. Isn't that amazing?!

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Please provide appropriate supervision to the child in your care when completing any activities from this site. You as the grown-up will need to decide what types of products/activities on this list will be safe for your child. If you’re not sure, check with your child’s occupational therapist or pediatrician. Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when implementing any ideas or activities from this site, particularly if there is any risk of injury (e.g., falling, crashing), choking (e.g., small parts), drowning (e.g., water play), or allergic/adverse reaction (e.g., materials/ingredients). The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site. 
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7 thoughts on “22 Questions to Always Ask a Potential Babysitter

  1. Thank you for posting this. While growing up I was a nanny and babysat a lot. I never was asked these questions. Now that I am a parent I have a hard time allowing anyone to watch my daughter because I did not know what questions to ask while looking for a babysitter. Maybe one more question to ask is if they have had CPR training and if not are they willing to take it.

  2. I just read the CPR part. The joys of skipping parts because your child needs help. Sorry and again thank you for the questions

  3. Kristina, I completely understand about being picky yet uninformed about choosing a babysitter. I was so glad that Hannah wanted to write about this topic and I hope it’s helpful for lots of other people too!

  4. Hannah, great advice! Esp. on background checks — definitely a red flag when people say no.

    A great place to compare sitters is through the sitter search engine Sitters Near Me (http://sittersnearme.com) — lets you filter sitters based on the specific preferences you have.

  5. Hey Guys! Appreciate the comments. It’s so important to know as much about a babysitter as you can! Obviously, once you find a babysitter, you will get to know them a lot better! Remember, don’t be afraid to ask these questions! =]

  6. Pingback: 30 Blogs with the Best Questions to Ask a Babysitter Before You Hire Her - Find A Babysitter

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