Finding the Perfect Babysitter




By: Nicole Pelletiere

Can’t remember the last time you and your husband had a night out?  Maybe it’s time you both get to planning.

“It’s so important to have a date night, especially for new parents” says Katie Bugbee, Managing Editor and Resident Childcare Expert at Care.com.  “There’s something special about dressing up and going out that gives renewal to your relationship”.

However, finding a sitter can be a difficult task.  Hiring a person that fits your specific needs can be even more challenging.  Thankfully, Katie Bugbee has provided New Parent with some great tips to get our Moms and Dads prepared for the interviewing process.

Here are 5 qualities to look for in potential sitters:

1.) A great level of experience and responsibility.

Experience can constitute for maturity, as well as talents that you’d like your sitter to possess.  For one, he or she should be CPR, Heimlich, and First-Aid certified.  Their experience should also be specified in your child’s age range.  Taking care of a five or eight-year-old is a lot different from a caring for a newborn.

Responsible candidates should show up on time for the interview.  The process should be no different from interviewing at an office.  If they confirm with you, it shows a great level of maturity.  It is a positive sign of how he or she will treat the job.

2.)  The willingness to listen and learn from the parents.

Every child is different.  It puts parents at ease to share tips and tricks on what soothes their little one.  It is a great quality for a sitter to listen to what techniques work.  It shows that he or she is interested in your baby.

3.)  Creativeness.

A creative sitter will not only come up with exciting activities to do with your child.  What about how they will get your son or daughter to eat broccoli?  By asking these questions, it shows how the candidate thinks on their feet.  It also gives you a sense of who they are as a person (if they are fun, smart, and engaged in the task).

4.)  Energetic.

This quality especially goes for daytime sitters.  You don’t want to hire someone who is going to be exhausted all day and can’t chase after your little one.  It is important to hire someone who has plenty of energy and can bring that to the constant tug and creative demands.

5.)  Firmness.

It is important for your sitter to be happy and friendly, but how firm will they be?  When Mom and Dad are out, sometimes the little guys try to give sitters a run for their money.  In the end, kids have respect when they are introduced to boundaries.  Your babysitter should be just firm enough where he or she is able to enforce rules here and there.

New Parent wishes you luck on your interviews.  To send you off, Katie has left our Moms and Dads with these tips for reviewing candidates.

  • When calling references, dig a little deeper.  Ask for a neighbor or a professor’s phone number upon the other information that he or she provides.
  • Don’t count out Care.com.  The site offers background checks for the prospective candidates.  It’s an even more reassuring sign if they complete the background check on their own.
  • Go with your gut.  If there were any red flags, or something that was a little off, then there is no reason to hire that person.  Continue your search—there are a lot of prospects out there!