5 Important Things Every Parent Should Ask a Babysitter

Enjoy your next night out knowing you've hired the perfect babysitter when you ask these questions.

When was your last date night? Mine just popped up in my Facebook memories the other day, and while I loved reliving a super fun night out, I was also shocked at how long it had been. It's important for parents to take time out for each other and away from the kids, so we can reconnect, hit the reset button, and come back as stronger, happier parents. But sometimes it is so hard to find someone that we trust to stay with our kids that we choose to stay home instead. So how do you find a babysitter you can rely on so you can get out and enjoy some kid free time?

Hiring a babysitter and don't know where to start? Use these simple questions to help you find the perfect babysitter for your family so you can enjoy some time away!

There are lots of places to find good babysitters. Start by asking your family members and friends with kids for recommendations. If your neighborhood has a Facebook group you should ask there as well. And once you find a good candidate (or two), take some time to meet them in person, and have them meet your kids as well. And during that meeting, be sure to ask these important questions to help get to know them better and determine if they are the right fight for your family.

5 Questions to Ask a Babysitter Before You Hire Them

1. Do you have references? 

Even if you’re thinking of hiring a teenager who has never had a babysitting job, they should at least be able to provide the contact information of 3 people who can answer questions about their character and their ability to handle stressful situations.

Whether it’s a teacher, or a pastor, or even neighbors, there are people in their lives who should be willing to answer a few questions for parents.

The next questions have to do with the kinds of responsibilities they’ll have when they are with your children. The most common things parents ask a sitter to do for their kids are:

Feed them.

Play games with them.

Monitor their TV or electronics time.

Put them to bed.

2. What happens if my child cries after I leave? 

You may be pretty sure your kid is fine waving goodbye to you, but this question will help you understand the insight a sitter has into how to handle children who are upset.

3. What would you do in an emergency? 

Have they had infant/child CPR or First Aid training? Do they know about the Heimlich maneuver? Ask them to explain, and even to demonstrate on a doll. Understanding their ability to handle themselves in an emergency situation will help ease your mind when you're away.

4. If my child misbehaves, how will you handle it?

Kids are kids, and that means that when Mom & Dad are away, they’ll likely be looking to break a few rules. How will the babysitter manage when your son refuses to stop jumping on the sofa, or your little girl demands to stay up past bedtime? Rather than expecting some sort of perfect plan, pay more attention to how the sitter thinks through these scenarios and her ability to remain calm.

5. What kinds of things will you be doing to keep the kids entertained? 

It’s completely fine to have movies at the ready for the kids to watch with the sitter. But movies probably aren’t going to take up the whole evening. What else do they have planned? Do they even have a plan? Look for their ability to be creative and excited to have playtime with your children. Shrugging and saying, “I don’t know,” is probably a good indication that you should keep looking.

Asking questions of a potential babysitter will help you get a really good idea of what he or she is like, how they think, and how comfortable they are dealing with unexpected situations. If your potential sitter is nervous or flustered engaging with you, then he or she is probably not the best choice for your family.

What’s your experience with hiring a babysitter? Do you use a relative, or have you found sitters through recommendations from friends? I’d love to hear your best tips when it comes to having someone watch your kids - leave a comment below and let me know!

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