How to Decide on Your First Babysitter

Note: I may earn money or products from the companies, products, or links mentioned in this post.

Leaving your baby or child with a babysitter for the first time can be a big and scary step. Everyone wants to find someone they can trust, and who has experience, but it can be hard to find the perfect person.

If you are a working mom, then you are probably looking for someone to watch your child during the day. Or maybe you are just looking for a babysitter for a date night with your spouse.

Either way, here are several tips to help you decide on your very first babysitter!


How to Decide on a Babysitter for Your Child

1. Age
The first thing to think about is how old you want your sitter to be. Are you ok with a teenager watching your kids, or would you rather have an adult? Most adults already have jobs so sometimes it can be hard to find someone older (unless they already have kids and don’t mind taking yours on too). Teenagers can be a great help, but if it’s your first time you may want someone a little older.

Another age group to think about are college students. A lot of college students are looking to earn a little extra cash to get by, and they are also old enough to have some experience. If you are not sure what age to go with or if you don’t have a preference, the next thing to look for would be how experienced they are.

2. Experience
How much experience would you like your sitter to have? Do you want someone who has had years of experience in babysitting or being a nanny? Maybe you would rather have someone with personal experience such as children of their own. No matter what you choose, make sure that your sitter has some type of experience before you allow them to stay with your child. A great way to know if a person would make a wonderful babysitter or if they have previous experience would be to ask to see their references.

3. References
When interviewing potential sitters, one of the first things to ask for would be their references so you can find out about their previous experiences with children. A good sitter should be able to provide at least three or more references of families that they have worked for in the past. When calling these references, make sure to ask about the sitter’s experience, how many children they watched and what ages, and if they would recommend them to watch your child. Having good references can make a huge difference and give you peace when deciding on which sitter to choose.

To the Parent Who Feels Guilty About Hiring a Babysitter

4. Availability
Another thing to think about when choosing a sitter is the sitter’s availability and schedule. Are they able to work the days you need? Will they have to take some days off because of other needs or will they be able to be there every time or almost every time you need them? If the sitter you choose has their own children, keep in mind that illness, school problems, or other child-related issues may be a problem when it comes to availability.

5. Interview
Lastly, but also the most important, would be to take the time to interview your sitter. Keep in mind all the tips above and have a list of questions that you may want to ask them. Have them spend time with your child and see how they relate to and act around them. You may even want to have a separate trial run when you are at home. Ask them to come over to play with your child while you get some housework done. This will give you peace of mind about leaving your child alone with them for the first time.

Not sure where to start in finding people to interview? Care.com and Sitter City are great places to start!

What about YOU? How did you decide on your first babysitter?

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  1. There's a book on my moms-must-have list,but you don't need to be a mom to benefit. It's about the gifts in you. Some people are servers–they're really gifted at the cleaning up thing. I'm definitely not that. It's something I have struggled with. Once I understand my strengths and weaknesses, I understood that I spend my time doing other jobs beautifully. A wife is not so much defined by her kitchen cleanliness as how she does other things. What's your gift? While we all have to clean the kitchen eventually, our happiness isn't contigent upon it-unless you're a server gift:)

  2. Hi Kathryn,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I love your blog, especially the diamonds in the background.

    I get motivated for the day pretty easily because I have a two year old that forces me to get up early in the morning. 🙂 The cleaning gets in where it fits in (during naps and after bedtime). I have found that lists work for me. I feel like I've had a productive day if I can put a check mark next to something.

    Remember, your house isn't going to be spic and span everyday, but as long as it is decent most days, you are doing good!

  3. Kathryn,

    I simply love your blog! Your sweet spirit just oozes through your posts!
    I'm not sure what motivates me besides LOTS of prayer and the fact that I know it needs to be done. I've been a mother for thirteen years and if I really, really don't feel like doing it, I usually don't. My mother always told me, "It'll be there when you get back because no one else is going to do it!"

  4. I definitely have days where I just don’t want to do much, and then I have days where I have so much energy and motivation that I’m nonstop getting things done. I don’t ask my husband to do much around the house since he’s the only one working right now, but he’s very understanding when he comes home and I have yet to make dinner or clean up the house. He knows I take on a lot so I’m very appreciative of his support.

    I tried creating more of a schedule for my schoolwork, blogging, house cleaning, and everything else I do during the day/week and it just doesn’t work for me. I can’t get myself to commit to a schedule. So instead, I just take each day as it comes. I keep a daily planner which has everything I need to get done that week and all our appointments so I can see what each day/week will be like in advance. Some things have deadlines (like blog and schoolwork) while other items can be done whenever I get around to it. When I wake up, I evaluate how I’m feeling that morning and then plan my day accordingly. I’m very good about not letting everything get too backed up so it works well for our household 🙂

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