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7 Questions Every Parent Needs to Ask a Potential Babysitter

7 Questions Every Parent Needs to Ask a Potential Babysitter; babysitter and child boy play together indoors at home

Looking for a nanny to care for your baby following maternity leave? Need some help covering the afterschool gap until you can get home from work? Overdue for a date night or time with your friends? As a parent, at some point or another, you’ll probably turn to a babysitter for help. For most, the first choice is going to be a family member or trusted friend but due to various circumstances that may not always be possible. So, how do you find a trustworthy person to care for your child? Here are seven questions every parent needs to ask a potential babysitter: 

1. How much experience do you have?

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to ask not how much experience a potential babysitter has but the context of their experience. If you have an infant or toddler, but they’ve only cared for school-age or adolescent children, that person may not be a good fit. 

2. Do you have any training?

If you’re going to trust someone to care for your child, it’s important that they know what to do in an emergency. At a minimum, the babysitter that you choose to hire should have some basic first aid training. 

We also suggest that every childcare provider become CPR-certified, including parents. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of certification to verify that it is current. If they aren’t certified, ask if they would be willing to get certified prior to watching your child.

A great follow-up question to get a feel for their training would be: what was your scariest/most challenging babysitting situation? How did you respond?

3. Can you provide references?

An experienced, trustworthy babysitter should be able to provide names and telephone numbers of families who have hired them before. They may even have an online profile on Care.com where you can easily read reviews. 

4. What is your availability?

Of course, you’ll want to make sure a babysitter’s availability matches up with your childcare needs, but be sure to ask whether they have any time constraints that would prevent them from staying later if something came up.

5. Are your immunizations current?

It may seem like an invasive question, but don’t be afraid whether a potential babysitter is up-to-date on required vaccinations. You may also want to ask about vaccinations that aren’t necessarily required but recommended, such as the flu shot. This question can be especially important for parents of infants and immunosuppressed children. 

6. What is your rate?

In most cases, a babysitter will have an hourly rate. But you may negotiate a salary for a nanny or long-term care provider. Does he/she offer a discounted rate for multiple children? Will they be performing any household chores that might warrant a higher rate? Do they charge a higher rate for staying late in the event something comes up?

7. Would you be willing to schedule a trial?

Before you leave your child unattended with a new babysitter, ask if they would be willing to come over for a “visit” while you are home. Pay them for an hour to two so that you can see how he/she interacts with your child and whether they are a good fit. If your child is old enough, ask if it is someone they feel comfortable staying with. Trust yours and your child’s instincts.

Other Topics to Consider

While these questions are in no way comprehensive, they are certainly a good starting point for what to ask a potential babysitter. Depending on your needs and circumstances, other topics you may want to discuss during an interview include: 

  • Overall childcare philosophy
  • Transportation
  • Discipline
  • Household tasks
  • Special needs such as medication, allergies, etc.
  • Smoking/non-smoking
  • Having guests
  • Health restrictions (ex. You have cats, but they are allergic)

If you have any concerns or need advice, don’t be afraid to reach out to your child’s pediatrician. At Kernodle Pediatrics, we want you to think of our providers as partners in your child’s health. Call us at 919-563-2500 (Mebane) or 336-539-2416 (Elon), or send a secure message through our convenient online patient portal.


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