How to interview a babysitter

Interviews are essential when searching for a sitter. Cover the basics, then focus on your rapport with the candidate using conversational questions. Here are some questions to get you started:

Basic questions:

* Name, phone, address, age, citizenship status
* Availability (e.g., after school, evenings, weekends, short notice)
* Rates
* References (request name and contact information for 2-3 references)

Conversational questions:

* Tell me about your experience with children (e.g. babysat siblings, has children)? What age ranges do you have experience with, and are you most comfortable with?
* What activities do you like doing with kids? Are you willing to go on short, nearby outings (e.g. park, library)?
* How do you comfort and discipline children? How have you handled crying children or temper tantrums in the past?
* What is your comfort level with cooking and preparing meals for kids?
* Are you comfortable with bathing children and bedtime routines?
* Have you had problems in the past following directives like discipline, development, and daily routines?
* What have been the most challenging and rewarding parts about being a babysitter?
* What was your scariest or most difficult babysitting moment? How did you handle the situation?
* Have you ever had to handle a child emergency? What did you do and what was the outcome? Do you have infant and child CPR certification? Would you be willing to receive such training?
* What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
* For teenage sitters: How are your grades? What do you enjoy doing outside the classroom? Are your parents supportive of your babysitting?

Once you have covered your questions, encourage open communication and ask if they have questions for you. Then, post-interview, follow up with the sitter's references and ask about creativity, dependability, communication abilities, strengths, weakness, and why she's no longer working for them. Interviews are key to determining whether a babysitter is a good match for your family. Outline your questions in advance to help guide the conversation. Christine Koh is a music and brain scientist turned parent and writer about parenting issues for She is also the editor of