Hiring a babysitter can feel like an intimidating process: have you chosen the right candidates? Were you right to request specific qualifications? What interview questions will you ask? But it’s important to remember that you are looking for the perfect fit for your family. Narrow down your search for the perfect caregiver by writing a simple checklist. Specify the additional duties you will need to be done through to the qualifications you are looking for – the caregiver that is right will check all those boxes.
Once you’ve interviewed your chosen candidates consider these 5 steps to help you make your final decision:
Go back to their references
Checking references and performing background checks are a must during any babysitting hiring process, but when narrowing down the top picks for your caregiver, consider the conversations you had with the families they listed as references. Are the families the babysitter has cared for in the past similar to your family? Are the kids the same ages? Did she have duties and responsibilities similar (baths, cooking dinner, homework help) to what you’d like your babysitter to do for your kids? As with any job, background is key, so if your prospective babysitter has had experience handling responsibilities that are similar to what they will be doing with your family, it’s likely to be an easy transition for all involved.
Reconsider the interview
Consider the answers you liked best to the questions that matter most to you and your family. We all have standard interviewing questions (availability, experience, age, etc.), but every individual family has its own, unique set of needs. So what are yours? Is it imperative your kids have a lift to and from after-school activities? Go back to the answers your candidates gave you about driving history, punctuality and familiarity with car safety belts. Do you need someone to cook meals in your absence? Go over what your top choices said about being comfortable in the kitchen.
While it’s great if a babysitter gave a good interview, the one who stands out among the rest will be the caregiver who really shined when speaking to you about something near and dear to your heart. You know the one–you just love her story about how having the kids help her bake her famous chocolate chip cookies is a sure fire way to cheer the little ones up when they’re having separation anxiety, or how she absolutely loved spending the afternoons playing games with the children she sat for last.
Know where your kids will need a little extra help
If you know your child needs some time to practice their swimming, don’t be afraid to ask your sitter to go with them a couple of days a week. Science class posing a bit of a problem this year? Hire a chemistry major — they can create science-based games while babysitting to get your child on the path to scientific success. Choosing a candidate with an academic background may be the perfect option for both you, your child and the babysitter.
Watch their interaction
Watch your children and potential babysitter interact together. A good babysitter won’t blink an eye at the request for a trial run. Do you like their style? How about their teaching skills; their playfulness? Are you comfortable with the way they discipline? How do the kids connect with the candidate? After all, they’re the ones who will be spending the most time with them, so seeing the child-sitter interaction first hand can be a big help when making your final decision.
There might be a candidate who has a remarkable babysitter resume, fantastic references and perfect answers for all your interview questions — but something just seems off. You might not be able to put a finger on it, but you don’t need to explain it. Trust your instincts.
In the end, it doesn’t hurt to have a number of great babysitters and back-up sitters in your contact list. If you had three outstanding options, why not ask the two that just didn’t make the cut if they’re still interested in sitting for you every once in a while? No matter how reliable your new go-to babysitter is, they will have to bail at the last minute at least a few times over the course of her time with you and your family. Maintaining relationships with sitters that you’ve already vetted and feel comfortable with can be priceless when you’re in a pinch.