Finding And Screening A New Babysitter

Feb 16, 2011

By Staff writer State Farm™ Employee

As a parent, leaving your child in someone elseís care can create a lot of anxiety. Family members might not be available, and you want to choose a babysitter that is responsible and trustworthy. First, think of the places where you may know people with such qualities, such as work or place of worship. If you have friends with children in your neighborhood, ask them for a recommendation and feedback. If your child is in day care, ask around to other parents there. You can also post notices at a local college, where there are many students looking to study childcare. Online agencies and public boards are another possibility.

Interview

Once you have a few candidates, prepare some interview questions. Make sure to have the interviews face-to-face to help you gauge their professionalism. Request their hourly wage, and ask all candidates for work references. Also ask if theyíve had any emergency training, such as CPR. Trust your intuition if someone doesnít feel right.

If possible, have your child present for a part of the interview. This will help you see how the candidate relates to the child and how your child reacts.

Although the interviews may be less formal with a teenage babysitter, you should still ask about their experience with children and get a feel for their level of responsibility. Ask them about school, their hobbies, and what they like about babysitting.

If itís adult caregivers youíre interviewing, ask them for their basic information and if they agree to a background check. They should provide you with the following:

  • Current address
  • Home and cell phone numbers
  • Date and place of birth
  • Social security number
  • Any former or maiden names

If your babysitter will be driving your child around, also ask for a driverís license number to check their driving record. You will need to request a form from your local DMV to do this, called the Requester Release and Affidavit of Intended Use.

Once you have used the information for a background check, it is strongly advisable to destroy, by shredding or other means, any of the information youíve obtained.

Check References

Once youíve narrowed down the candidates, do your homework. Call their references and see if any problems occurred in past work experiences. Donít be afraid to ask all the questions you need to; youíre doing this to establish confidence in the candidate and assure yourself that the candidate is right for the job. After all, youíll be putting your childís safety in the candidate's hands.

Background Check

A background check is always a good idea for prospective babysitters. Let them know in the interview that you will be doing a background check on all candidates, without exceptions, and ask them if there are any prior incidents in their lives that they may be withholding, such as crimes or accidents. Then use their basic information to obtain a background check through an online service or local courthouse records. Online nanny and babysitting agencies often do this pre-screening service for you.

Try not to think of a background check as prying into someoneís life; think of it is as a check of their honesty. Remember, itís necessary to trust your babysitter to handle your most important responsibility: your child.

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