Hiring a new babysitter can be overwhelming and daunting, especially for first-time parents. Knowing who to trust, how they'll interact with your children, and wondering if the house will be in one piece when you return is important, but it doesn't need to be impossible.

To ease the process, make sure you know what you want before you start searching. A few things to decide, prior to contacting anyone:

  • What personality would work best with your child(ren)?

  • Would you feel more comfortable swapping with another parent?

  • How old is old enough? The older she is the more experienced she'll be, and the more she'll charge. Many parents choose girls between the ages of 12 and 15.

  • Do you want her to be CPR-certified? If she's older, she may already have obtained her certification and training. If she's younger, that's something to consider.

Other things that can help in the selection

  • How well do you know the babysitter's family? Do you trust her parents? How do they treat their misbehaving children? Many habits are learned from parents, and knowing as much as possible ahead of time is in the best interest of you and your child.

  • Does she have younger siblings? While not a requirement, if she does, she'll more likely know how to act around children and resolve problems that may arise.

  • Ask the babysitter for references. Once you've received them, follow up and call.

Questions to ask her references

  • How does she act around children?

  • How does she discipline when they misbehave?

  • Was she prompt?

  • Did she follow instructions?

  • How did the house look when you returned?

There are many other things you may want to ask, depending on the circumstances surrounding your child. If you're thorough, you'll be more comfortable the first time she is hired to babysit.

While it can be overwhelming, hiring a babysitter doesn't need to be an impossible task. Arm yourself with knowledge, get your questions answered, and know as much as you can about what to expect beforehand.

As a bonus

Emergency contact numbers to have on-hand for your babysitter

  • Your cell phone number

  • Your spouse's cell phone number

  • Emergency response numbers and your home address.

  • The number for your child's doctor

  • If she's a minor, the numbers for your babysitter's parents

  • A close neighbor's number

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