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Top 10 questions to ask your babysitter:

Mei Koon from Meet A Sitter shares her top ten questions to help you find the right babysitter
By Mei Koon
Date: June 21 2012
Editor Rating:
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Finding someone you can trust to care for your child is almost inconceivable to many parents - especially if it’s your first time doing so. Of course, no one is ever good enough. But as any parent knows, life and all that comes with it mean that you can’t be there 24x7.  Apart from that, you may very well need a break to spend some time by yourself - to reenergise and refresh yourself!

So, unless you have an extended family around the corner to step in at any given moment - being prepared to find the right babysitter is the smartest step forward you can take.  The key to interviewing a candidate is going beyond the obvious questions about them reciting their history, and getting down to understanding their level of knowledge, experience and philosophy on caring for children.

To help you gain this depth of knowledge, here are ten questions that you should ask at your next interview:

Question #1 - What are the kinds of activities you would do with my children while you babysat them? (Elaborate on your children’s ages and their interests for context)

Question #2 - What would you do in the case of a medical emergency, for example if my child was choking? 

Question #3 - If my child suffered from separation anxiety, how would you try to settle him/her and calm him/her down? (Ask this question if your child’s attachment to you is a likely concern)

Question #4 - What would you do if my child doesn’t want to listen to you or exhibits bad behaviour such as biting other children? 

Question #5 - If my child throws a tantrum because they didn’t get what they wanted, how would you react? (Both #4 & #5 are insightful kinds of questions you can use to determine how much the potential babysitter understands children’s behaviour and also how they would manage challenging situations)

Question #6 - What is your hourly rate and are there any factors that might change the rate charged? (This would be relevant to know if any other factors such as the number of children, additional duties required, driving or frequency of sitting might impact the rate being charged.)

Question #7 - Please share with me your most challenging and difficult experience you’ve had working with children.

Question #8 - Please share with me your most rewarding experiences working with children (Questions #7 & #8 give you insight into what the candidate’s personal experience of what they find a challenge, how they dealt with it, and also what has given them most fulfilment)

Question #9 - What do you enjoy the most and the least about working with children? 

Question #10 - What kind of support would you like from me as a parent to help you to do the best job you can with my children?

*Be aware that there are the basic questions you should ask about their babysitting or nannying experience, their schedule of availability, ages they are experienced with, what they would be willing to do etc.

This article is meant to shed a little more light on the kinds of questions you may need to ask to get beyond the surface of a typical interview. Choose the ones most relevant to your situation. Armed with this list and with a little practice, you’ll be a deft recruiter in no time!


Mei Koon is founder of Meet A Sitter™ - Australia’s first boutique “speed-dating” service connecting busy parents with pre-screened babysitters and nannies at exclusive events held across Sydney and Melbourne. To find out more about the service please visit www.meetasitter.com.au. More tips and useful advice on hiring and managing the relationship with your babysitter or nanny at Meet A Sitter’s blog - www.meetasitter.posterous.com

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Martha says: 2012 02 09
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That is such a good article - I must admit that I have often guilty of giving the sitter cursory treatment as I dash out the door, putting lipstick and clothes on as I go.

Anne says: 2012 02 09
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Yikes!!!  I think I’ll stick with grandma!

Meet A Sitter says: 2012 03 04
Rating:

Hahah…funny reaction, Anne! But I do understand how you feel - it can be really daunting hiring your first babysitter. All the questions and concerns. But, there are amazing people out there who love children and want to be part of a family doing something they love. It also gives you (and grandma!) more flexibility.

One thing that many parents may not think about is actually how the babysitters can bring new experiences and skills to your child(ren). So many of our candidates have wonderful skills from teaching new languages, musical abilities, sporting experience, swim qualifications and even drama and arts!

Martha - thanks for your comments! Most sitters completely understand the “parent dash” - I mean, it’s so infrequent that we actually get any time away! Of course we’re excited! As long as you take the time to appreciate them when you come home - they’re happy. smile

Mei
Meet A Sitter
http://www.meetasitter.com.au

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