When a new babysitter is needed, it can be an unsettling time for parents. While looking for a babysitter can be stressful, knowing the right questions to ask about childcare can make you feel more empowered when you have to interview a babysitter.
In Part 1 of this series, questions about a babysitter’s qualifications and views on child safety were provided. 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 2: The babysitter’s daily activities and approach to challenges
1. What is the age range of children in your care? How do you make sure each age group gets adequate attention and care?
2. What kind of behavior annoys you and how do you handle it?
3. How do you handle discipline? Does it change with different ages?
4. How do you determine if an offense is a teachable moment, or worthy of punishment?
5. What soothing methods would you try for a fussy baby?
6. What action would you take with an uncooperative toddler?
7. Are you willing to help potty train, and if so, are you willing to work with the parents’ methods?
8. Is my toddler or child expected to take a nap if they no longer nap at home?
9. Is my child required to eat what you serve for lunch, or can he/she bring a lunch from home?
10. Do you discuss God or any kind of religious beliefs or practices within the home?
11. Do you provide any educational activities for children? Can you give examples?
12. How much time do you spend outside each day? Do you go outside even when it’s hot or cold?
13. How much time do you allow children to watch television or play video games?
14. Do you play music in your home while children are present? If so, what kind?
15. Will my older child have access to the internet? What safety precautions do you have in place?
The babysitter’s answers to these questions should give you some insight as to how your child will spend his or her day, what challenges, if any, your child may face, and what the babysitter’s outlook is on engaging and entertaining children versus letting electronic devices babysit for her. If you still aren’t sure, be sure to ask the babysitter what the children do when not participating in a babysitter-led activity, and how much of the day is spent playing on their own. Just remember, though new babysitter questions can seem tough to ask, the overall happiness of your child depends on you getting an accurate impression of the environment.
If you missed Part 1, be sure to go back and review the questions you should ask your babysitter about her background, her expectations, and views on child safety. Also, be sure to read Part 3, which gives great tips for making sure your babysitter has taken proper child proofing measures.
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