You're going out for the night and just gave the babysitter the whole low-down of how you run things. She knows about dinner, bedtime is at nine, and you're double checking everything. Before you book her again, make sure you know these 10 simple things about your babysitter. Disclaimer: Every time "her" is used, it can of course be substituted for "his". Boys are often very fun babysitters, so don't disregard them.
1. Her age
Seems pretty basic, but you'd be surprised at how old these girls are looking. You and your spouse can decide upon the right age your sitter should be to watch your children, but make sure you understand her numerical age as well as her maturity age. These can be different.
2. Her phone number
Give her yours too in case of emergencies. It's a good idea to have a direct line of communication in case plans change.
3. Her parents
It's nice to know the background of your babysitter and know who her parents are. You don't want a total stranger stepping into your house.
4. Her curfew
Believe it or not, some sitters can't be out at two in the morning. Be respectful of school nights and her night schedule. Don't stay out later than you tell her. I've babysat hours later than I thought I'd be. It's not horrible, but it's nice to know how long you'll be up.
5. Her past work
It's not an official job, but it would be nice to know who else she has babysat for. If you're feeling cautious, call the other homes and ask about her babysitting techniques. Figure out if this is one of her first times watching children or if she really does know how to make macaroni and cheese.
6. Her qualifications
Make sure she's friendly enough to speak to your children, but strong enough to resist giving them 15 pieces of cake before bed. You should ask about CPR certification and if she can drive or not. You may discover certain perks with older sitters who can drive themselves to your home. Make sure she knows whether or not she is allowed to drive your children places.
7. Her friends
Some sitters bring siblings or friends along to team-babysit in order to make things easier on themselves. Make sure she clears that with you, and if she does, make sure you meet her friend too.
8. Her fees
Many sitters will accept whatever cash you hand them, but if she has a set price, know it. Clear up any money issues or questions and do it in a friendly way. Nothing is more awkward than getting paid too much or too little, so know what you're doing. In my California experience (it may differ for each state), anywhere from $7 to $10 per hour is ideal. If you left your children and ten cousins for her to watch, throw in a little bit more.
9. Her real self
That doesn't mean set up cameras inside the house to watch how she interacts with everyone, but ask your children how things went after she leaves. Make sure nothing is secretly broken and that no one got hurt. She may be a completely different person once the car pulls back into the driveway.
10. Her character
It seems like a big thing to judge, but combine all the other nine elements and make an honest decision about who you are putting in charge of your children. If there are no worries, then have a great night and come home confident that everything is taken care of. Most girls who agree to babysit know what they're signing up for.
Hopefully you can come home and smile at your sleeping children and the clean counters. Hopefully they have fun and you invite her back again. The important part about knowing your babysitter is being comfortable enough to communicate with her. The night will go better for you both because of it.