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Questions to ask a Prospective Babysitter

BE ALERT BE AWARE HAVE A PLAN We receive numerous questions from parents who want to know what they should be asking prospective babysitters or extended caregivers for their children. Below you'll find some questions that we felt were important enough to ask (preferably before you hire the babysitter!). We've included a few questions relating to abuse, which you may or may not feel comfortable asking...use your best judgement. You may want to invite the babysitter over a few times while you are able to be at home, so you can monitor the relationship between your children and the babysitter. See how the babysitter reacts, how your children respond, and get an overall idea on how they get along with each other. Print out the Prospective Babysitter Checklist to use during your next interview for a babysitter or child guardian. These questions to the "applicant" are not listed in any particular order.

Get informed with this book by Neal Rawlins and Sue Kovach, "Be Alert, Be Aware, Have a Plan!" Some of our questions below were reprinted with permission in this informative book. (Published April 1, 2002.)

Copying & reprinting information from any website without permission is copyright infringement. We follow through on ALL copyright issues. Please respect our copyright.

QUESTION: Why have you chosen the job of babysitting?
REASON TO ASK: By asking this question, you may get a good or bad feeling - does the applicant want to babysit because they love children? Do they need the money?

QUESTION: How long have you been babysitting?
REASON TO ASK: This is one way to find out how much experience the applicant has.

QUESTION: Are you currently babysitting for other families? Will you continue to babysit for them if we hire you?
REASON TO ASK: You may be able to estimate how available the applicant will be for your family.

QUESTION: Have you ever had an emergency situation arise while babysitting? If so, how did you handle the situation?
REASON TO ASK: You can find out how the applicant responds to emergencies, which may occur while caring for your children.

QUESTION: Do you know CPR or have any other training?
REASON TO ASK: It's good to know if your babysitter will be able to handle emergency situations, should they occur.

QUESTION: Do you swim? Would you ever want to take our children into our pool?
REASON TO ASK: If yes, your babysitter should be skilled in CPR. If not, have them pass up the pool when you're not at home.

QUESTION: What would you do if my child refuses to listen to you?
REASON TO ASK: You want to be sure that your babysitter continues the manner of discipline that you have set up for your family. Be sure to discuss how you would handle the situation if your response differs from theirs, and mention whether you approve or disapprove of physical discipline.

QUESTION: Do you have any children of your own? Do you have any younger brothers or sisters?
REASON TO ASK: Knowing the answers to these questions may help you learn how the applicant feels about children, and if they ever did any babysitting for their siblings.

QUESTION: Can you tell me about the best child you ever babysat for? How about the worst?
REASON TO ASK: Learning the answers to these questions can tell you how the applicant feels about children in general. How did they describe the "best child" and the "worst child"? What happened to make them the "best" or the "worst"? How did they handle that situation? Could they have handled it any differently?

QUESTION: What type of activities would you do with my children? How would you pass the time with them?
REASON TO ASK: Wouldn't you want to know what a prospective babysitter has planned to entertain your children?

QUESTION: During your experiences as a babysitter, have you ever suspected any child to be abused?
REASON TO ASK: After you've asked and discussed the easy questions, it's time to get down to business. You want to be sure that your children's babysitter will actually care for your children - not cause them any harm. Keep close attention to the applicant's response to this question. If they brush off this topic or become evasive, there may be a reason for it. If she discusses openly and honestly about sexual abuse and how to spot it, she gains a point here.

QUESTION: What if my child told you to keep a secret? What if she told you to keep a secret about sexual abuse? What would you do?
REASON TO ASK: Now that you've unlocked the topic of sexual abuse, it's time to find out what the applicant would do if one of your children confided in the babysitter that they were being molested by someone. What if your child told her not to tell you. The babysitter's response is very important. If there were ever any dangerous secrets told by your children, you would need to know immediately.

QUESTION: How would you react to accidentally walking in on my child while he's touching himself?
REASON TO ASK: Every child has a natural curiosity about their own body. What you don't want, is someone making your child feel like they've done something wrong. This could lead to an unhealthy attitude about how he views himself and his body.

Now that you've finished asking the essay questions, it's time to ask some that are more basic:

  • When would you be available to babysit? Days, evenings, times?
  • How would you be getting to our home? Would you need someone to then drive you home?
  • What do you usually charge?
  • Can you provide us with a list of references? (be sure to call each one)
  • Are there any questions that I can answer for you?

This Babysitter FAQ is Copyright STOP SEX OFFENDERS. Copying of this list is not permitted. The information contained on these pages is provided as a courtesy to STOP SEX OFFENDERS' visitors. STOP SEX OFFENDERS makes no representations or guarantees concerning the effectiveness of such information. In no event shall STOP SEX OFFENDERS be held liable for any failure of such safety information. We advise you do a thorough check on anyone caring for your children. Our list is published in the book, "Be Alert, Be Aware, Have a Plan: The Complete Guide to Protecting Yourself, Your Home, Your Family.

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