Finding a babysitter can be truly difficult. My baby is still only 8 months old and we have only had people that we know babysit him at this point. However, sometimes it is hard to find someone you trust that is available when you need them. So you sometimes have to find someone you do not yet know. This can be hard for a young toddler.
I have come up with a list of questions based off of my own experience from when I was younger. My parents were in a business and left my brother and I with multiple babysitter and most of them we did not like. So it helps to understand your son/daughter and help find a perfect babysitter match for them. Asking them some questions and making them feel like they play a role in finding who will be there with them should help make the situation more comfortable even though they don’t know the person too well.
One aspect I hated as a child was when my parents called the sitter a “sitter” or “Babysitter”. It made me feel young and like I was being controlled (which was basically true but children don’t like hearing that). So try using other terms such as “new friend” or “buddy”. Make it sound more like a playdate while still letting them know there are ground rules.
Depending on whether the babysitter is there for the night, day, or over night, some of these questions may not apply to your situation; however, I tried to gear most of them towards all situations.
What is the one thing you would want most out of your babysitter?
–Especially if you are hiring a babysitter online or through an ad, this question can help you decide what to ask the new babysitter and what to look for while finding one.
What are some other qualities I should look for? What are qualities you dislike in a person?
–Giving your child some questions will help them feel like they have more of a choice of who is coming rather than just having someone come at random.
What should I leave for dinner? (or breakfast or lunch)
–Giving them a choice for food (a reasonable choice, not like fast food or a fancy restaurant, but something to make or have ready at home) will make the experience a bit more fun.
What movie(s) do you want me to leave out?
–A movie is a great way to pass time. Letting them choose an age appropriate movie to rent or even one you already have will give them something to do with the babysitter.
Do you have any chores you will need help with?
–You are hiring a babysitter to help. If your child “needs” or wants chore help, this will help them get done more efficiently. But make sure the babysitter knows you told your child that they can have help so they don’t think they’re being conned into it.
What games will you want to play?
–Putting out some games that they chose helps the babysitter out by giving them a fun activity to do to start a conversation over.
Bedtime is at …(fill in this blank)…. . Would you enjoy a story before bed and do you need help with any part of your bedtime routine?
–Bedtime can be the hardest part so they will love that you give them some choices before bed.
What are some activities you would like to do tonight with your friend?
–These should be reasonable of course. Examples: Arts and crafts, go on a walk, go to the park if it is nearby, play an hour of video games, watch a movie, story time, play a board game, learn a new skill, play ball outside, play with Barbies/racecars/Legos, make cookies etc.
Why don’t you get out some toys to show off to your new buddy (babysitter)?
–This helps the meeting process if they start a conversation over something they enjoy.
Do you need help with any homework? (this one depends on how old they are and if they have homework yet)
–This kills two birds with one stone! Your child will get their homework done and pass the time with the babysitter while learning whatever it is they are having to do.
Are there any questions you want me to ask the sitter before they arrive or before you meet?
–Some kids are a bit shy meeting new people. Especially when their parents are leaving. So asking questions and giving them answers as they meet helps them open up!
Make sure that your child also feels comfortable in letting you know how the experience was and whether or not you should hire the babysitter again.