How to Interview a Babysitter

How to Interview a Babysitter

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When my second baby was about 6 weeks old and my toddler was just over 2, I realized that I was going to need a little extra help in the coming months. I contacted students at the local university and interviewed a handful of them in hopes that I could find someone to take my toddler on outings once or twice a week for a couple of hours. I found the most AMAZING babysitter, who is sadly moving on to an internship and eventual full-time job, but now I know what to ask and how to find someone great.

How to Find a Babysitter

1. Find sitters to interview! You can use a website like UrbanSitter to browse for babysitters in your area, or make a posting in a local parent’s group online. I asked a friend to post for me on a local college board, and have found my sitters through that route (I live across the street from a major University!)

2. Conduct Interviews. Below is the outline I like to use for the interview, yours may vary, but here’s an example. Modify the script to meet your needs!

3. Follow up and schedule a time for the babysitter to meet your child(ren.) Hopefully you found someone great!

Interview Outline

About us
We’ve lived here ___ years, since ____ was born. My husband is ______________. I am __________.
Consider discussing your child’s previous experiences with babysitters and how you are hoping the babysitter will bond with your child…
What I am looking for
Looking for someone to play with __________________ and give him some one-on-one attention. You would pick him up from my home and take him to the park (or library or bookstore if it is raining.) All of these places are very close to our apartment. It is a possibility also that I might need you to just play with him at home or help me with other things around the house.
What is most important to me is for the sitter to actually engage/play with him/encourage him to play with other kids, etc.
Most of the time you would be up and playing with him and I would ask that you not use your cell phone so that you can focus your attention on him.
Do you have any questions for me before I ask you a few things?
  1.  Tell me about yourself
    1. Program enrolled in and how long is your program (if a student)
    2. Availability for my current needs
    3. Future & other availability (date nights, etc…)
  2. Tell me about your experience working with babies and children. (follow up ?s: ages, how long? any experience in education field or similar fields? Special skills?)
  3.  Describe how you are a good fit for this position
  4. (relationships) How do you bond with children?
  5. (attention and focus) How do you keep children safe at home and in public spaces?
  6. (strategies and problem solving) How would you handle a two year old tantrum?

Communicate Next Steps

I am looking for someone to start ___________________ and help me until _____________________ . I have had many responses to my posting, I chose 3 top candidates to interview and honestly you are all amazing. So it is
going to be very hard for me to make a choice, but I plan to get back to you by the end of next week. Then we can schedule a time for you to come meet my child.
Take notes as you interview so you can look back!

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