A few summers ago, I received a text from a friend who informed me that my children were swimming at the local water park unsupervised. I assured her that our summer babysitter (a high school student) was there with them. She promptly sent me a photo of this babysitter fast asleep with her earbuds in while my children were in the wave pool. Needless to say, I was not pleased.
Over the past 16 years, I’ve probably hired at least two dozen babysitters for part-time or occasional work. While some of them didn’t last long, four of those ladies have become like family to us, staying in touch long after their time in our home. But one thing is certain – I’ve learned what to look for and how to hire a babysitter I can trust. Here are 10 babysitter questions I use when interviewing a babysitter for the first time:
- Tell me about your previous childcare experience. What did you love most about it?
- Why do you want to work with children?
- What kinds of activities do you enjoy doing with children?
- Do you smoke or have pet allergies?
- Are you certified in first aid, CPR or lifesaving?
- What kind of reliable transportation do you have? (If the candidate drives, ask about a safe driving record.)
- On a scale of 1-10, how structured do you consider yourself when it comes to adhering to meal or nap schedules?
- What kind of discipline techniques have you been asked to use and how well did they work? (Time out, etc.)
- Tell me about a time you were criticized and how you dealt with it.
- Tell me about a time when you had to prioritize several tasks and manage your time efficiently. How did you decide what was most important?
If you are a working mom looking for a nanny or a more permanent position, you can also ask them these questions.
- What do you think is most important in raising children?
- Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.
- Did you ever disagree with the parenting style or philosophy of the parents? How did you handle the situation?
- Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic or fact-finding skills in solving a problem.
- Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty as a babysitter.
- Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision.
- Give me an example of a time when you had to make a split-second decision, without parental input.
- Tell me about a work situation that irritated you.
- Why are you leaving your current position?
- What three words would your friends use to describe you?
- What do you think your references will say about you?
- What are your plans for the future?
Whether you are hiring a date night babysitter or a full-time nanny, be sure to discuss payment expectations during the interview so it’s not awkward or uncomfortable later.
Whether you are hiring a date night babysitter or a full-time nanny, be sure to discuss payment expectations during the interview so it’s not awkward or uncomfortable later. And before you leave the house, don’t forget to review the Babysitter Checklist with your new sitter!
What other questions do you ask your babysitter candidates?