Choosing a Babysitter

Finding a care giver you can trust and leaving your baby in the hands of someone else is difficult. There are several things to be taken into account before you plan to hire a babysitter. Questions like whether your baby would be safe in the hands of the babysitter or if he or she would be happy with the babysitter would bother you. To find the perfect answer to these questions you need to do a bit of homework to zero in on the perfect babysitter.

The first and foremost, while searching for a babysitter think about how long you want to leave your children with the babysitter. The best references generally come from your friends and relatives. Your office colleagues can also be of good help while you are searching for a babysitter.

Funny enough, I remember babysitting at 14 years old, but I do not find many parents now willing to leave their baby to a 14 year old – myself included. I much prefer that I have someone capable of driving in case there is an emergency; yes, I know there is 911, but it makes me as a mom feel better that my babysitter has a license.

However, if you are in a situation where none of your family, friends and neighbors do not have good suggestions for babysitters, consider looking into the following websites, and/or CareNovate to help navigate through the world of babysitters.  Provided below are key benefits for and SitterCity, but unfortunately I have nothing yet on CareNovate because they were just launched in October 2011. Key Benefits

  • Secure sitter service but smaller database which can affect more remote towns.
  • Background checks and references available
  • Instant access to sitter profiles
  • Reviews from other parents available onsite
  • Free basic membership but $30 monthly premium to hire

SitterCity Benefits

  • Secure sitter service using national database & registry checks (Family Watchdog)
  • Conduct your own background checks using Lexis Nexis
  • Instant Access to Sitter Profiles

  • On-site reviews available from other parents
  • 1 week full access free trial

Sitter Compare compares both and; I would check out this review before deciding which service would be best for you.

When you narrowed down the candidates you would like to interview, here are some questions to ask.

Interview Questions for Potential Candidates


  • Do you know first aide?
  • Do you know CPR?
  • Do you know how to swim? (Very important for summer care and you expect the care giver to take your child/children to the pool)


  • Do you have a car?
  • Are you comfortable driving children in the car?
  • May I see your driver’s license?
  • How many years have you been driving?
  • Do you have any marks against your driving record (speeding or accidents)?

Working with Infants

  • How long have you worked with children/infants?
  • Do you know what Shaken Baby Syndrome is?
  • Are you OK if a job runs later than planned?
  • Do you know what SIDS is?


  • Do you have any allergies to cats, dogs or other pets?
  • Are you uncomfortable around or scared of any particular pets?

Handling the Children

  • 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 kinds of discipline have you implemented in the past Spanking, etc.? Are you willing to change if we ask?

Additional Responsibilities

  • How do you feel about play dates for my kids? Can you help arrange these?
  • 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 willing to help with overnight care if needed?
  • Can you travel with my family if we need you to?

General Questions

  • What do you look for in an employer/family?
  • What is your rate?
  • Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a felony?
  • Are you OK if a job runs later than planned?
  • Do you have a backup ride home in case we cannot drive you?
  • How soon will you let us know if you can’t do a job?

To determine how much you should consider paying a babysitter, use this tool from rate calculator.

Please note, before entrusting anyone in watching your children, please do a thorough background check and most importantly trust your gut. Not only do a background check, but check out their online social world such as Google your potential caregiver and see what comes up. You will be amazed how many people don’t set their privacy settings on Facebook. With that being said, here are couple resources that have provided reviews on and

Good luck and hopefully, you will find reliable, trust worthy baby sitters/caregiversthat work for your family. Remember, to always trust your gut.

If you are interested in other child care alternatives, please check out my Child Care Series.