10 Steps to Take When Choosing the Right Babysitter for Your Child

Choosing a babysitter is one of the most important things that any parent has to do. Leaving your child in the care of another person can be difficult because you want to be able to trust the person you hire. If you take the right steps and make sure that every box is ticked before hiring a babysitter, you will have nothing to worry about. There are many great babysitters out there. And even though handing your child over to someone else can be difficult for some parents, it’s not a risk.

There is work to do to ensure that you hire the babysitter that is right for your child and situation though. The ten steps below will talk you through every stage of the process, so start reading now.

  1. Ask for Recommendations from Trusted People

When you’re looking for a babysitter, the best place to start is usually with the people that you already know and trust. They will have your best interests at heart, and they will also be able to give you helpful and honest advice. If they have children of their own, they might have used a babysitter that they can then put you in contact with.

You will still need to carry out your own checks once you have got that recommendation though. You will also have to ask yourself whether they will be right for your child. Some babysitters are good with children of a certain age but not with children who are younger or older. It’s important to take that into consideration when getting recommendations for babysitters from people.

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  1. Find Reviews if Searching Online

The internet is another option to explore when you’re looking for a babysitter. It’s never been easier to find babysitter listings on the internet. You can find so many people available to babysit in your local area on the Babysitters Registry. And you can read reviews from other people who have hired each babysitter before. These reviews can really help you make your decision.

The reviews are left by people who have hired them, so you know you can trust them. It will help you to rule people out and learn more about what each babysitter is best at. Don’t pass up the opportunity afforded to you by these online outlets. They can be a real help when you’re trying to find the perfect babysitter for your child.

  1. Interview Them

The interview process is one of the most important aspects of hiring a babysitter. This is when you get to talk to the person face to face and learn a bit more about them. You should plan the questions that you’re going to ask in advance. Ask about their past experience and ask why they think that they would be the best person for the job.

You could also give some example scenarios to them and ask how they would deal with them. This allows you to find out how they would deal with a problem if it were to arise. If they don’t seem confident in their answers, or you’re just not convinced by what they say, then they might not be the right fit. That’s why it’s best to interview a few people and see which you think is best. This is especially necessary if you want them to babysit regularly for you.

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  1. Check Their References

You need to ask for references when you get in contact with potential babysitters too. If it’s a family friend or you know them already, then this obviously isn’t necessary. But if you have never met the person before, it’s always best to get references from people who have hired them in the past. If they don’t want to give you references, then this should immediately make you suspicious.

It’s often the case that people are hiding something when they don’t want to provide you with this kind of information. Most babysitters will have past clients that they will be happy to put you in contact with. This allows you to talk to them and find out about what their strengths and weaknesses are.

  1. Give Them a Trial Run

It’s a good idea to see how the babysitter interacts with your child before you actually go ahead and hire them. Many people can talk the talk, but can they perform those challenging tasks in practice? This is what you can find out when you give them a trial run looking after your child. Of course, you will be there supervising them and seeing how they do during this time.

If they prove to you that they’re able to look after your child and talk to them positively, you’ll be more comfortable hiring them. One of the most valuable things that you can find out from doing this is how well your child gets on with them. If they seem to like each other, then that makes leaving them together so much easier for you as a parent.

  1. Rely on Your Instincts

Your parental instincts will also play a big part when you’re trying to make a decision. Trying to decide who to hire to look after your child is not an exact science. Sometimes, you just have a bad feeling about someone or the fit doesn’t seem quite right to you. When that happens, it can often be best to go with your gut instincts and trust yourself.

Parents know their children better than anyone else possibly could. So, there is nothing wrong with following your gut reaction about these kinds of things. If you ask me, it’s always best to just keep looking for a babysitter until you have found one that you are 100% comfortable with. There’s no sense in hiring someone who you’re unsure about when there are so many alternatives out there.

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  1. Give Them Detailed Instructions

When you have finally chosen a babysitter to look after your child, you will need to make sure that they do what they need to. Even good babysitters can make mistakes or do things wrong. That’s why it’s up to you to give them the right instructions. They can’t do what you want them to do if they don’t know what you want. If there are set bedtimes and foods that your child can or can’t eat, let them know.

They will only be able to get things right if you make sure that they are fully informed. It’s best to leave contact numbers whenever you’re away so that they can get hold of you quickly and easily. And you could give them the contact number of a relative in the event of them not being able to contact you.

  1. Create an Emergency Plan

Emergencies don’t usually happen when you leave your child with a babysitter. So, you don’t need to spend too much time worrying about them. But having a plan in place for certain kinds of emergency is a good idea. As I mentioned above, the first step is to make sure that they have all the relevant contact details that they might need to use in an emergency.

You also need to make sure that the babysitter is familiar with the house and knows where the keys are. If they need to get out of the house in a fire, they will need to know the key escape routes. And you should make sure you show them where things like fire extinguishers are if you have them. Finally, if your child is old enough, teach them how to dial the emergency services when something goes wrong.

  1. Check Up on Them

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to check up on a babysitter when they’re looking after your child. In fact, it can be a very good idea to give them a call and see how things are going. It’s not about making them feel under pressure though. It can help the babysitter if they have any questions that they’re not sure about when they’re just starting out.

If you’re hiring a regular sitter, you might even want to drop in on them and see how things are going. Obviously, you can’t do this if you are hiring a babysitter on a one-time basis. But when you want to be sure that you’re hiring the right regular babysitter, it can be a good idea. It gives you some peace of mind when you see them doing the job properly.

  1. Listen to Your Child

Finally, make sure that you listen to your child when they tell you something. They are the ones that will be spending all the time with the babysitter. If they have something to say about them, then listen. Of course, some children might be too young to do this. But if your child is old enough and has genuine problems with the babysitter, you should at least hear them out. It might be better to find a babysitter who your child enjoys spending time with if the current one is causing problems.

Do you have any sage tips or advice?

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25 Comments

  1. 22nd June 2016 / 9:50 pm

    we’ve never used a babysitter but these are great tips! x

  2. 23rd June 2016 / 8:51 am

    I babysat for our neighbours, but we hadn’t known them well beforehand. I just happened to be the only teenage girl in the area! But I ended up absolutely loving it and getting on really well with them x
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  3. 23rd June 2016 / 5:44 pm

    Thank you so much!! I had what I thought was a reliable babysitter in my friend but recent situations have swayed my opinions. I need to look for a new one but have no idea because we normally only trust family

  4. 24th June 2016 / 9:01 pm

    I’ve never had to use a babysitter as I’m lucky to have family near me to help out, but I can see these tips being very useful if you had to use a babysitter, it’s a very thorough checklist x
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  5. 26th June 2016 / 2:44 pm

    It’s such a big decision trusting people to look after your children. We have only so far left our children with family but as they only babysit infrequently, my husband and I have been wondering what our options are for babysitters. I must confess, there are not many people I would feel comfortable leaving my children with and the idea of agencies, and leaving my kids with someone they genuinely don;t know, I find terrifying, despite them being the best qualified to look after them! x

  6. 28th June 2016 / 11:10 pm

    These are all great tips. We’ve been wondering whether to get a babysitter (as in someone that’s not a friend or family member) so this has been invaluable x

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    Great tips, agree with them all. Especially always trust your instincts. We are lucky we have alot of family willing to mind the kids.
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