Questions to Ask a Babysitter for Your Infant
New moms get tired but many of us don’t trust anyone with our babies. However, it’s always best to be prepared with questions to ask a babysitter for your infant should the need arise. (My need was when the doctor’s office stopped allowing babies to come with their mommies to the 6 week post-partum checkup).
Below are 8 questions to ask a babysitter for your infant. Have a toddler? Find your interview questions here.
1. What made you decide to become a babysitter?
This is one of the most basic questions to ask a babysitter but beware: the answer you might be thinking, ‘I love children’, may not be the answer you hear. Be prepared if that happens. Before interviewing prospectives, keep a running list of your non-negotiables, so if one of those comes up in the interview you’ll know to spend more time seeking to understand before shutting the interview down.
2. What’s your favorite age group to watch?
Again, another one of the easier questions to ask a babysitter but the responses can be across the board.
When my oldest was an infant and the prospective babysitter answered ‘pre-teen’, I saw red flags everywhere. I’m interested in people who enjoy the age group my children are in.
3. How often do you babysit infants?
Now that we are warmed up, we are getting to the essential questions to ask a babysitter for your infant. If this person was referred to you by a trusted friend, AND they are doing you a favor (maybe your mother-in-law who usually watches the baby, isn’t feeling well), then their answer may not carry that much weight. But if you don’t have any connection to the person, then their response may end up being pretty important. Do you want your infant to be the first one they’ve ever babysat?
If you get stumped on how much infant experience is ideal, think back to when you were a first time mom. How long did it take for you to feel confident caring for your baby for half a day by yourself?
4. What do you do when the baby falls asleep?
This is one of the best questions to ask a babysitter. Why? Because many moms have a very strong opinion about what their babysitter should be doing during nap time. The missed opportunity usually occurs if those expectations were never shared with the babysitter. That could be for a variety of reasons: wanting your position to seem more appealing in a competitive market; not wanting to pay the babysitter more money, etc.
If you know you don’t like addressing issues, make sure you ask this question in the interview. It’s a much less stressful option compared to complaining about your babysitter behind their back. Identify what you want your babysitter to do.
Personally, I’m looking for an answer where they will mention something about picking up toys or rinsing the baby’s dirty bottles in the sink, before relaxing. If that doesn’t come second nature to them and that is a requirement for you, again, make sure you clearly convey your expectations before hiring anyone.
5. Are you Infant CPR/First Aid Certified? If not, are you willing to take the class if we end up working together?
This is another one of the questions to ask a babysitter for your infant. Emergencies, while rare, do happen and you don’t want a person sitting around waiting for you to come home to deal with it. Things can go from bad to worse in an instant.
An unwillingness to comply with Infant CPR/First Aid is a red flag for me, especially if I would cover the cost for it. Your local fire department may offer this class in-person, so check that out. There are plenty of virtual offerings as well.
6. What do you do when things aren’t going well with my baby? (i.e. they are fussy, etc).
An experienced caretaker should have a response to this question. Keep in mind their response may not be one you agree with. This is why this is one of the best questions to ask a babysitter because you can dig deeper and see their thought process. Will they turn the tables and ask me in the interview how I handle my fussy baby?
I’m looking to see that they have thought this scenario through and have an answer. An ‘I don’t really know’ response doesn’t sit well with me. Make sure you identify a specific problem to solve in your question.
7. Do you like spending time outdoors?
If the weather is nice, some parents feel comfortable with their babysitter taking a baby for a stroller walk. However, if the babysitter doesn’t like being outdoors, then this activity may be sidelined. If you will be upset if your infant doesn’t get outdoor time, make sure you’ve noted this as one of the questions to ask a babysitter during the interview.
8. What is your hourly rate?
This is one of the last questions to ask a babysitter in an interview. Just be aware that you might get hourly rates all over the place. Some babysitters might feel uncomfortable sharing a number and put the ball in your court. Others may propose an astronomical amount that exceeds what you can afford. This is not the time to make a low-ball offer so you can get a good deal; this person will be caring for your baby. Connect with your local friends who use babysitters beforehand, so you can have a good idea of what you might expect to pay.
Before dashing out the door, make sure the babysitter knows where to find the basics (diapering/feeding/dressing/bathing, etc).
Pause and observe how the babysitter holds your child. If you have a young infant, you know their neck is delicate. Make sure the babysitter knows, too! Now is the time to provide guidance if you feel they need a refresher course on how to hold an infant (or how to change a diaper).
Don’t be afraid to have these conversations; you are a pro because you do these things multiple times a day, every day. Others may not have an infant in their home so they could be a little rusty. Share your expertise!
Ask your babysitter to send you pictures/video!
Always, always, always invest in a nanny cam.