What to Ask in a Sitter Interview

by Genevieve Thiers, Founder and CEO of Sittercity.com

interviewingFor many parents, the thought of finding a babysitter or nanny can be terrifying. What if I don't pick a good one? How can I be sure the sitter is experienced enough to care for my children? Will this particular sitter be a good match for my family?

Many of these answers lie in the sitter interview. Whether you ask every question below or simply use this list as a loose guideline, this checklist will help you get one step closer finding the perfect sitter for children – as well as peace of mind.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

• What do you like about babysitting?
• What do you look for in an employer/family?
• How do you get to your sitting jobs? Drive? Walk?
• What are you studying in school or what is your full time job?
• Do you have any allergies to cats, dogs or other pets?

BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE

• How many years have you been working with children?
• What child care roles have you done in the past? Teacher, nanny, coach, etc.?
• How many families have you cared for and how old were the children?
• How many families do you currently sit for?
• Do you have experience in bathing children?

TRAINING AND SAFETY

• Do you know First Aid?
• Do you know CPR? Infant CPR?
• Are you familiar with the Heimlich maneuver for children and infants?
• Can you swim?
• Are you familiar with emergency numbers?
• Can you drive in an emergency?
• Have you ever used a fire extinguisher before?

BEHAVIORAL QUESTIONS (look for concrete examples)

• Tell me about a time where you faced a crisis on the job. How did you handle it?
• What would you do with the kids on a day like today?
• What do you do when a child refuses to go to sleep?
• What do you think is the best way to handle tantrums?
• What is your proudest moment in babysitting and why?
• What kinds of discipline have you implemented in the past and why?

RESPONSIBILITIES AND TASKS

• Can you care for more kids if we have a play date in the house?
• Are you OK assisting with homework, possibly making dinner and/or doing light housework?
• Are you comfortable watching my child as a mother's helper if I decide to stay home during a job?
• Are you will to help with overnight care if needed?

IF NEWBORNS ARE INVOLVED

• Are you comfortable sitting for newborns?
• What do you know about SIDS prevention?
• Are you familiar with Shaken Baby Syndrome?
• Can you change a diaper?
• Can you properly carry and pick up a newborn?
• Can you prepare and heat formula correctly?
• Can you tell if a room is childproofed?

IF THE SITTER WILL BE DRIVING

• Are you comfortable driving children in the car?
• Are there any conditions in which you don't feel comfortable driving? (Rain, snow, evening hours?)
• How many years have you been driving?
• Do you have any marks against your driving record (speeding or accidents)?

Copyright © Sittercity, Inc. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org by Sittercity, Inc. Find hundreds – even thousands – of local babysitters on sittercity.com.