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Key Questions to Ask a Potential Babysitter

Printable Babysitter Checklist of What to Ask

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Before you choose your child's babysitter, consider first asking any/all of these important and relevant questions. Answers provided should make you feel comfortable and confident in leaving your precious youngster(s) in the care of someone else. This parent-friendly babysitter checklist can be conveniently printed out for quick reference when considering a prospective babysitter for one-time, occasional or ongoing child care needs. And, don't forget about checking references before you seal the deal!

Questions to Ask a Prospective Babysitter

  1. Have you babysat previously? If so, please describe your experience.



  2. Have you received any specialized training for child care (such as first aid/CPR, attended a babysitter course, or taken related school courses)?



  3. Do you regularly work/volunteer with kids? If so, please describe (such as helping out with young dance classes, serving as a sports assistant, etc.).



  4. Are your immunizations current?



  5. Do you have any health restrictions that could affect your ability to babysit? (Yes, it really is okay to ask this question. For example, if you have three cats and the candidate is terribly allergic to cats, then this could be a problem. Or, if you have someone who can't access stairs but the kids' beds are on the 2nd floor, you need to know that before making a hiring decision.



  6. Is there an adult or family member nearby in the event of an emergency whom you could contact? (This question is relevant if you are considering using a teenager or person who does not drive.)



  7. Why do you enjoy working with children?



  8. What activities will you plan with my kid(s) when I am gone? (Ask this question to determine whether the potential babysitter plans any games, crafts or child-friendly activities in your absence.)



  9. What age children do you most enjoy? Least enjoy? Why? Which age group are you most comfortable/experienced with?



  10. What are your overall child care philosophy? (Yes, you can and should even ask this of a teenage babysitter.)



  11. Do you know how to change a diaper...and are you comfortable with changing even the really messy kinds?



  12. Do you know how to administer medicine? (If your child has a cold, for example, and needs some medicine or is on oral antibiotics, you want to make sure the babysitter is comfortable in not only giving the proper dosage, but doing so safely.)



  13. What will you do if the kids aren't getting along (or worse, fighting)? How will you handle separation anxiety (if this is a potential issue.) Ask these questions if the potential babysitter will care for more than one child and if "missing parents" is a likely concern.



  14. What will you do if my child won't mind you or exhibits bad behavior such as biting? (This is an insightful question to determine how the potential babysitter processes the question and provides you with an answer. This also provides insight on disciplinary approaches.)



  15. Under what type of situation would you call me? (Ask this to determine how a potential babysitter would rank a "need" or emergency.)



  16. Are you comfortable being in my home at night or for an extended period? (Some people get nervous about being in someone else's home after dark, for example.)



  17. Do you know how to prepare a simple meal? (Don't assume a person knows how to properly use an oven or microwave.)



  18. Do you know how to feed an infant? A toddler? Do you know what to do if a child chokes? (You want to hear things like the sitter being knowledgeable about never to prop a bottle or heat it up in the microwave, or to feed a youngster uncut grapes, for example.)



  19. What is your hourly rate of pay?



  20. What hours and days of the week are you available to work? (Ask if there are any particular times/dates a potential sitter cannot work.)



  21. What type of commitment will you provide me that you will honor our agreement to babysit and not cancel? (This question is particularly important if you are hiring a sitter for key holidays or busy times such as New Year's Eve.)



  22. What babysitter qualities do you have that should make me want to hire you? (A good babysitter may talk about kid activities or art projects already planned, fun and games, a strong sense of humor, etc.)



  23. What was your worst babysitting experience, and why? (See how the candidate worked through the problem.)



  24. Do you have a list of references? (If you have not already spoken with someone about the babysitter beforehand, be sure you call and talk with references before entrusting a person to care for your child.)



  25. What can I do as a parent to help make your babysitting experience with my kids a success?

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