What Should I Consider When Hiring a Babysitter?

wiseGEEK Writer

There are several things to consider before hiring a babysitter, including the age of the sitter and his or her experience and training. It's also important to make sure that the person you hire gives you a good personal impression and doesn't have any personality conflicts with your children. It's also crucial to check for references. You can also take a trial run with a few sitters before hiring one, which can give you a better idea of which one you should hire.

Babysitters should be asked how they would discipline children during the hiring process.
Babysitters should be asked how they would discipline children during the hiring process.

Parents should treat hiring a babysitter like hiring someone for any position. First, be certain to interview several candidates. If you are looking to hire a relatively young sitter, you may want to look for kids who have been through training and are certified in infant and child CPR. Before hiring, solicit applications to maximize the group to select from.

In some states, one can require a potential babysitter to be fingerprinted.
In some states, one can require a potential babysitter to be fingerprinted.

As you evaluate applications consider the experience of the applicant, whether they have available references, and whether they can drive. These considerations can help make the choice of whom to interview simpler. Choose at least a moderately experienced babysitter, who has verifiable references and can drive.

Look for special training, and if you like someone without CPR training, consider offering to pay for a course before he or she works in your home. When you have chosen some likely candidates, then move onto the interview process.

While conducting an interview, make sure that the applicant makes eye contact when speaking to you, and is able to communicate clearly. Make up a list of questions to ask. You should also ask the person about his or her family background, and what type of parenting and discipline methods his or her family employs. If the family disciplinary type is very different from your own, the candidate may not be a good choice.

Check references on each applicant. You may also want to meet the parents of babysitters under 18 to see what they are like, and get more information about their child. This may help you clarify your choice. In some states in the US, you can actually require and get fingerprinting for any babysitter who will work for you for more than 15 hours a week. Those in the US can check the free Megan’s Law website list of sex offenders prior to hiring a sitter who is over 18.

You may want to consider having a trial run with several applicants to determine who works well with your children. Consider an hour’s time when the person can come in and be a mother’s helper. Busy yourself in other parts of the house but make frequent checks to see how the children are getting along with the potential babysitter. If anything in this trial period causes unease, don’t hire the sitter.

Once you choose a person, do not plan on actually spending that much time away from home. In fact, come back to the home at least once unexpectedly to see if he or she is performing the required job. If anything occurs that's outside of your requirements, then stay home and fire the sitter.

After the sitter has had a solo run with the children, inquire about what they did. Ask the children if he or she did anything to upset them or annoy them. Ask if he or she stayed on the phone or played with them. If play is the answer, ask them what kinds of games. Observe children closely over the next few days to see if they exhibit abnormal or strange behavior signifying possible physical or sexual abuse. If in doubt, do not hire the babysitter again.

You can spend some extra money and put nanny cams in the house without telling the sitter. You might consider this especially if the sitter has few references. Unfortunately, some children are sexually or physically abused by sitters, which means caution should be observed by all parents.

Some babysitters have CPR training and certification.
Some babysitters have CPR training and certification.

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