How to Interview A Babysitter

Tips On Getting Prepared And Thirty-Seven Useful Questions

The most important aspect of hiring a babysitter is getting to know them well before you make a commitment. You should know what your potential babysitter is like, so that you can confidently open your home and introduce her to your children.

Finding a company who can provide a babysitter is not a challenge. Finding the right babysitter for you is the challenge. All parents have a different idea of what the job entails. Think about what you are looking for before you start the search. What you need is a reliable and qualified babysitter that makes you and your children feel comfortable.

Tip 1. Know the Difference Between Babysitter And Licensed Nurse

This is the most common question we get, let us explain. Hiring a licensed nurse means you are hiring a healthcare professional. They go through licensing every year and typically have a background from a maternity ward or pediatrics in a hospital. We see nurses hired by first-time parents who need the extra help when caring for their newborn.

Don’t get us wrong, licensed nurses are qualified to look after your child at any age. If you require care for a child with special needs or with a medical condition, then a nurse is the obvious choice. However, if this is not the case then save 50% on the cost by hiring a babysitter who is as equipped to handle the day-to-day care. They will also have experience working long-term with parents to create a calming nursery for the baby at home. In summary, if you have a good reason for hiring a nurse, then proceed. Otherwise, a babysitter should be your default choice.

Tip 2. Choose A DHA-Licensed Company

Make sure to choose a company that is licensed by Dubai Health Authority (DHA). They are especially well suited for newborn babies and young toddlers. You will be dealing with a team that can make adjustments, substitute the babysitter and monitor the childcare. They will have continuous in-house training and shadowing at work making them overall better qualified.

Never hire a babysitter through a cleaning services provider. They are unlikely to have basic first aid training and might not have any experience with childcare. Cleaning companies are supposed to specialize in cleaning, not babysitting services.

Tip 3. Make A Booking At Least 2 Weeks In Advance

Most companies expect a three-day notice period when booking a babysitter. Some will charge extra for same-day bookings, making it more expensive to book last minute. But there is another reason why you should book well in advance. The closer you get to the booking date, it's more likely that the best babysitters are already booked. By booking 2-3 weeks earlier, you will be able to pick from a wider selection. Having more options will give you an advantage.

Interview questions

Now that you have an idea of what to look for, let's talk about what you should be asking in the various stages of the interview.

Don’t Skip, Ask The Basic Questions

When you are doing an introduction to your house rules and going over must-know information about your children and family, you should ask about:

  • How long have you been caring for children?
  • How will you be traveling to my house?
  • Which age groups have you cared for?
  • What is your favorite age to care for?
  • What activities do you like to do with kids?
  • How do you deal with behavior issues?
  • How comfortable are you enforcing household rules?

Get To Know Their Experience

If you’re speaking with a candidate to hire for the long-term, then you’ll need to conduct a more thorough interview to really get to know them. Prepare a list of things that are important to you and ask questions like:

  • What’s your favorite thing about babysitting?
  • What do you find the most challenging about caring for children?
  • Have you taken any child care or safety classes?
  • Can you clarify your duties and expectations?
  • How many children have you watched at one time?
  • Do you have any formal training or certifications in early child care?
  • Do you have specific experience in potty training or infant care?

Next think about scenarios as what a typical day might look like and ask these questions. Don’t forget to mention factors like allergies, religious sensibilities and special health needs.

  • This job will require changing diapers. How comfortable are you with that?
  • Are you willing to prepare meals and snacks per meal plan?
  • Tell me about when you were babysitting during the month of Ramadan?
  • How often do you rely on screens when caring for kids?
  • Do you have experience caring for children with nut allergy?
  • What would a typical afternoon caring for my child look like?

When Looking For Newborn Babysitting

There are some significant differences when it comes to babysitting for newborn children. You want make sure you cover the basics:

  • Are you comfortable babysitting newborns?
  • Do you know about SIDS and how to prevent it?
  • How do you prepare and heat formula milk?
  • What are the steps for sterilizing bottles and helping prepare feeds?
  • What are important hygienic precautions around your newborn?
  • How do you ensure a clean and tidy nursery?

Learn About How They Take Responsibility

Make sure your babysitter knows how to protect your child’s safety, especially for newborn and infants:

  • Do you have safety training in CPR and First Aid?
  • Are you aware of any safe sleep recommendations for newborn children?
  • Are you familiar with the foods that cause choking?
  • Have you ever had to handle an emergency?
  • Do you speak any other languages besides home country language and English?
  • Can you swim in a pool or open water?
  • Do you have any experience giving medicine to children?

Additional Scenarios Of Personal Responsibility

If you still have questions about safety, ask them to explain how they would respond these situations:

  • You’re putting my child to bed and you notice he has a fever. What will you do?
  • The baby starts choking while playing with toys. How will you react?
  • My child won’t stop crying for me after I leave. How will you respond?
  • The toddler is throwing a tantrum. What will you do?

But How Do I Know What to Look For?

The questions above will help you find clarify about who your babysitter should be. Further there are certain common traits that make someone more successful than others.

Confidence - You want to look for someone who is proud of their experience and knowledge. She should make you feel comfortable enough to trust your kids with her without you checking in all the time. Avoid candidates who are looking down while talking or giving many ”I don't know answers”.

Connection - It's easy to focus only on impressing the parents, but getting the kids to like you is even more challenging. Listen to how the babysitter is asking the child questions and listening to their responses. Or watch how they are picking up on subtle hints of comfort or discomfort from a newborn. There's a big difference between having verbal and non-verbal communication versus simply talking to the child.

Manage the chaos - Every family has different house rules and every child has their own set of personal needs. You want a babysitter who can adapt to the craziness that comes up throughout the day. They should be able to handle changing events and stay calm when your child is throwing tantrums.

Punctuality - Watching out for signals related to communication and punctuality during the interview phase will help you in the long term. Did they arrive on time? Were you notified in case of a delay? Did they ask for directions to your house ahead of time?

That’s It, Get Started!

After reading this, you probably have a few good interview questions up your sleeve next time you’re hiring. You should still do your research online and compare multiple providers on UrbanCircle Childcare category: Keep in mind that you might also find solutions for some other potential problems such as nanny leave cover options, school pick-up and babysitting packages, specialized night time and daytime care.

Our mission at Urban Circle is to help you find the best care for your most precious little ones. Check out our babysitters at

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