Finding a new babysitter can be one of the most frustrating and scary experiences for a parent. However, if you know the right questions to ask about childcare, you can be more confident about child safety and your child’s overall happiness with a new childcare provider.
The problem most parents face is not wanting to seem too distrusting and offending a new babysitter right out of the starting gate. Worrying about hurting a babysitter’s feelings will, however, only leave you feeling worried instead. You have to remember that you are your child’s first and best advocate and you have every right to ask any question that helps to ensure the safety and well-being of your child.
In Part 1 of this series, you’ll learn questions you can ask about your babysitter’s personal habits, qualifications, and expectations. In parts 2 and 3, you’ll discover questions to ask about your babysitter’s daily activities and views on challenging situations, and specifics on the safety of her home.
Part 1: The babysitter
1. Will you submit to a background check?
2. Have you ever been through drug or alcohol rehabilitation?
3. Do you have any health issues that could cause you to suddenly be unable to care for my child?
4. Who has access to your home during the day besides you?
5. Do you need to leave the house for any reason during the hours you’ll be watching my child, and if so, do you have properly installed child-safety seats in your vehicle? Can you demonstrate how you’d strap my child into the car seat?
6. What system do you have in place to make sure only designated people can pick up my child?
7. What are your feelings about opening the door to someone you don’t know?
8. Have you been trained in CPR and first aid for choking?
9. What would you do for a scraped knee? Bee sting? Bloody nose? Lost tooth?
10. Does anyone smoke in your home?
11. Are alcohol or drugs used in your home?
12. What precautions do you take when taking the children outside or for a walk?
13. What is your fire escape plan?
14. What procedure do you follow when there are severe storm warnings in the area?
15. What is your procedure for making sure my child is cared for if you have a personal or family emergency during the day?
16. What is your policy on caring for a child who is sick?
17. Will you expect to be paid on days when my child stays home?
18. When do you expect to be paid?
19. Do you charge additional fees if I ever run late picking up my child?
20. Can I claim your child care on my taxes?
The answers to these questions should give you some idea of how equipped the babysitter is to care for your child, how important child safety is to her, and what expectations she has in regard to compensation. In addition to these new babysitter questions, be sure to ask for non-family member references, preferably from other parents who have used her services.
Don’t forget to read Part 2 and Part 3 of this series for additional questions pertaining to the new babysitter’s normal daily activities with children, her approach to challenging situations, and what child proofing efforts she has made in her home.
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