Leaving your kids with a new babysitter can be nerve-wracking. To make sure you enjoy your night out without fretting about what’s happening at home, here’s a checklist of questions to ask your sitter.
Parents want someone trustworthy and reliable. Also, particularly if it’s going to be someone you use on an ongoing basis, you want to make sure you – and your child – click with them.
Here we are sharing the eight questions you should ask any potential babysitter.
Are they DBS checked?
You want to feel confident in your babysitter. Which is why it’s recommended you only hire a babysitter who has a DBS check.
This means ‘Disclosure and Barring Service’ and is a way of finding out if someone has a criminal record or has been banned from working with children.
If the sitter you’re booking says they have a DBS check then don’t be afraid to ask them to bring it with them. Sitters are used to this and it’s totally fine to ask to see them.
‘Do what you need to do to feel comfortable.’
It’s also a good idea to ask for the babysitter’s references for extra peace of mind.
Are they okay with pets?
You and your partner are ready to go out – and then the sitter arrives and reveals she’s allergic to your cat who’s lying on the sofa.
You really don’t want your sitter to turn up at your house and then find out they are frightened of your dog or have an allergy.
‘Always ask the question in advance as you don’t want to have planned a night out and then the babysitter isn’t able to stay.’
How late can you stay out?
Woo hoo, a night out! But before you roll in at 2 am, it’s important you find out just how late your babysitter is happy working until.
If you’re booking them until late at night, it’s important to know how late they’re happy with – is it midnight or 3 am?
This is a good question to ask any potential sitter, especially if you’re hoping for a really late night.
You also need to ask how they’ll get home. Are they happy with public transport or a cab, or will they need a lift?
Have they got any experience with babies?
If you’ve got a baby and have planned a night out, hiring a babysitter who knows what to do if your baby wakes up in the night or needs a dream feed is vital.
Parents with babies want to know the babysitter has experience caring specifically for babies.
If you’re out for an evening and you know your baby is likely to wake up to feed then it’s really important the babysitter is comfortable taking them out their cot and feeding them.
Not all babysitters are, so it’s an important question to ask.
How would they handle a toddler tantrum?
If you’re booking a babysitter for the daytime, it’s good to find out how they would cope with any challenging behavior from your child … including tantrums.
While you don’t want to micromanage the sitter – especially if you’re hiring someone with a lot of childcare experience – on the flipside it makes sense to choose someone who has similar ways of handling situations to your own.
What is their rate?
This is a key question – and one your babysitter will also want setting out so there is no confusion over the final fee.
You don’t want to be fumbling around for money when you get home. Also, the babysitter might not feel comfortable asking about money or negotiating so always agree the fee in advance.
What do they like best about working with children?
If the babysitter is going to be with the children in the day, why not find out why they like working with kids – and what they enjoy most.
If it’s doing arts and crafts with them for example, you’ll know to get out all the coloring.
Speaking to them beforehand will help you get a feel for their personality and interests.
Also, ask what experience they have with different age groups. Ask them to come to your house early, especially if the child is going to be awake, so they can be introduced to each other.
Have they got first aid training?
If there’s an emergency, you want to know the babysitter knows what to do and is qualified to give first aid.
While you can ask them if they are qualified, Ari suggests also asking the babysitter to bring their first aid certificate with them if you want extra reassurance.