Hiring a babysitter is supposed to be a way for parents to go about their daily lives, and even their personal lives, safe and secure in the knowledge that they’ve chosen a reputable and caring professional who can act as their substitute. This ideal, however, can be hard to achieve in many cases. Parents need to spend a significant amount of time verifying that the person they’re choosing will be honest, safe, and prompt, and they need to ensure that they’ve got the responsibility needed to care for a young child in the absence of the parents themselves.
For peace of mind, there are generally seven things to know and evaluate before choosing a babysitter. Following these guidelines will help ease the stress of choosing that individual, and they’re leave parents secure in the knowledge that their child will be safe and sound during all of their absences from the home.
1. Just Like Any Interview, Learn About Experience
Anyone applying for any job, whether it’s with the neighbors next door or the company down the street, needs to stress their experience in order to boost their credibility. This is true of babysitters, who should be willing and able to talk about their past childcare experience and discuss what makes them the best fit for this job. If they have no experience and no proven record, it might be a good idea to pass them over for someone who has a proven record of responsibility and childcare.
2. Ask for the Babysitter’s Availability and How Much Will Be Charged
Parents typically have in mind an amount that they’re willing to pay their babysitter. The babysitter, on the other hand, as an amount in his or her mind about how much they’d like to be paid for the job. In order to make sure that they’re a good fit, check into the babysitter’s desired amount of income and see whether or not it lines up with expectations. Also make sure that the babysitter’s availability is relatively open and works with work and social schedules. If not, there’s really no point to hiring the individual at all.
3. Why Babysitting?
Everyone has a had a job interview that has included the question, “why do you want to work for us?” Even though a babysitter is not applying for a professional position, they should still be asked this tough and enlightening question. Are they doing it for the money? Are they doing it because they love children? The answer will likely be quite illuminating and could be the difference between a new hire and a dismissal.
4. How is the Medical Record?
There is perhaps nothing more important than ensuring a babysitter’s immunizations are up to date, and that they’re in good health. A child should never be put at risk of serious disease simply because mom and dad are taking a night off to enjoy dinner or a show together. Babysitters need to be up-to-date on their own shots, and they need to have good health habits: washing hands, using tissues, covering their mouth or nose when they cough or sneeze, and other common-sense hygiene practices.
5. What Does the Babysitter Plan to Do?
In addition to “why do you want to work here?” parents should be asking “what do you plan to do after you’ve been hired?” Babysitters need to be not only responsible, but also engaging. They should have a great number of ideas to manage time and provide a fun, nurturing, and comfortable environment for all of the children they’re watching on any given night. If they don’t, then it’s probably time to look at a different candidate.
6. What If…?
What would the babysitter do if there was a fire? Or if someone broke into the home? What would she do if a child got sick, or was misbehaving wildly? These are scenarios that should be discussed during a typical job interview when hiring a babysitter. Parents need to understand how the individual thinks, and how well-prepared they are to handle tough and unpredictable situations. Any parent can attest to this need: Raising a child is a study in the unpredictable and chaotic, and babysitters need to be well-prepared to handle all of it in the absence of a child’s parents.
7. What Does the Babysitter’s Background Look Like?
There are plenty of free or low-cost background check websites that are perfect for discovering any criminal activity on behalf of a babysitting applicant. They can often be requested to bring information about a criminal background check, known as a clearance, to an interview. This added peace of mind is often the key to assuring parents that their children will be just fine under the watchful eye of a new hire. More than that, though, parents need to be thorough when meeting with a potential sitter and they need to use common sense when putting their trust in an individual. Don’t assume that they’re trustworthy and responsible — make them prove it themselves.
Kristen Bright is the social media consultant for Instant Checkmate. Instant Checkmate is a personal criminal background check provider, and does not perform employment screening of any kind.