choosing a babysitterThe time has come to hire a babysitter. Maybe you want a little time with your partner, or you need to take a few hours for yourself once in a while. There are hundreds of reasons why you need a babysitter on speed dial, but finding just the right babysitter can be a difficult process.

  • Look to a Family Member for Support: Before looking to a complete stranger, talk with family members for support. Your sister or brother may have a babysitter they have been using for years that they can recommend. Another option is hiring a niece, nephew or younger sibling to babysit from time to time. Parents often feel more comfortable entrusting the care of their children to someone in the family or someone vouched for by a family member.
  • Ask Other Parents for Babysitter Recommendations: If other family members have no recommendations, talk with fellow parents about how to find a good babysitter. You may be surprised to find multiple recommendations from parents. Babysitters often rely upon word of mouth to find new babysitting gigs, especially teenagers. 
  • Interview Potential Candidates: After making a list of babysitter candidates, ask to meet the candidates for a short talk. Ask about babysitting classes, CPR and First Aid certification and experience babysitting. Feel free to ask the babysitter to respond to hypothetical scenarios starting with “How would you react to…” or “What would you do if…”. Narrow down your list after the first interview. 
  • Check Up on References: Ask each of the final candidates for references, including names and phone numbers for previous parents they have worked for. Give the babysitter a little time to provide the information as they may need to ask permission from the parents to share contact information. Call the parents to find out if there were any issues or problems with services provided by the babysitter. 
  • Plan a Play Date: The final list of babysitters should include three to five potential sitters. Invite the babysitters for a play date with your child. This play date serves as an introduction between the potential babysitters and your child, but also as a final interview. You can stand back and watch how the babysitters interact with your child. You can also invite the babysitters for a one-on-one play date if you want to view more intimate interactions.

In the end, most parents find at least three babysitters to have on call at all times. Babysitting is an in-demand job, so narrowing down to one could mean trouble as other parents may be using the same babysitter on a given night. Having multiple options ensures you can get up and go with a simple call.

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