Tips for choosing a babysitter

It’s not always easy for parents to relinquish their supervision to a babysitter, but regular doses of independence are healthy and can help parents to recharge and refresh.

Child smiling in sun

Choosing the right babysitter can feel overwhelming, but knowing which characteristics and qualifications to look for will help to make the process easier. By asking the right questions, you can narrow down your search, and find a quality babysitter that fits your needs.

Know where to find a babysitter

Many parents begin their babysitter search with friends and family. If friends and family are not available to help out, a qualified and trusted babysitter may be a mutual connection away.

Talk to other parents to see if they have any recommendations. Additionally, there are many online services that help aid in the search to find a quality babysitter. Always do your research to ensure that you are considering trustworthy sources and verified candidates.

Ask for references

Asking for references can help parents learn a great deal about their babysitter candidate. Remember to always ask for more than one reference, and specify that references should be professional or previous babysitter employers.

Make sure to call each reference and ask about their experience. Inquire about the babysitter’s reliability and their behavior with children. Don’t hold back on asking additional questions as you think of them in order to better gauge the overall experience.

Use an interview as an opportunity for evaluation

Interviewing a potential babysitter candidate in-person is prime opportunity for evaluation. By requesting an interview face-to-face, you can have a firsthand experience of the candidate’s punctuality, professionalism and overall demeanor.

While it’s a plus if your candidate has experience working in a quality childcare facility and with children in varying age ranges, be sure that your babysitter is knowledgeable about children in your child’s specific age range. Finding a babysitter for an infant or baby will differ from experience with a toddler or five-year-old.

Dive into qualifications, certifications and special skills

Discuss your candidates past and learn about any potential safety related jobs. Some babysitters are equipped with extra qualifications like being CPR or first aid certified. If you child requires medication or medical expertise, explore their knowledge of your child’s set of needs. Discuss any allergies, food allergies or medical conditions your child may have. Talk with your candidate to gauge if they are comfortable handling emergency situations.  

Describe regular rules and routines

Every household abides by a specific set of rules, routines and traditions. Share details about the inner-workings of your home and make sure that you both are on the same page.

Describe what a typical evening would look like in your home. You know your child best, make note of any rules your child is more inclined to bend and which routines are most important to maintaining your household balance.

For more tips and free child development support, call the Birth to Five Helpline at 877-705-KIDS (5437)
or download the Birth to Five Helpline app!

All content in this article, including any advice or commentary from Southwest Human Development staff and/or others, should be considered an opinion and is provided for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for medical or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the direct advice of your own trusted professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the child/ren in your care. Southwest Human Development does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, products, procedures or other information that may be mentioned in this article. You may contact Southwest Human Development’s Birth to Five Helpline at 1-877-705-KIDS (5437) to speak with one of our early childhood professionals for personalized assistance. Birth to Five Helpline specialists are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.