a babysitter reading to a child

If you’re like us, you’re probably very skeptical of who you’re going to let watch your kids.

While we all want only the very best sitters watching our kids, too often the babysitters we do let watch our kids don’t fit the bill. 

To help remedy this, we made a list of some of the qualities of a good babysitter.

Our goal with this list is that we’ll have an almost comprehensive list of what parents should look for in a babysitter.

What to look for in a babysitter? You need to find a babysitter you can trust to take care of your child. You also need one that will be attentive to them and follow the directions you’ve laid out for them.

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Qualities of a Good Babysitter

1. Able to Take Lead

While we all want our babysitters to be fun (more on that later), we don’t actually think fun is a #1 priority.

There are so many qualities that are far more important for a babysitter to have. 

One of those traits is the ability to lead your kids.

If you leave specific instructions, you need a babysitter that will be able to follow those instructions despite what your kids want. 

It doesn’t matter if your kids are 12 months or 12 years.

If a babysitter can’t take the lead and stand their ground, your kids will run all over them.

2. A Reliable Babysitter

Being reliable can go in many directions, but the one I’m focusing on is a babysitter that tells you they’re going to be able to watch your kids Saturday at 6pm, and they actually show up Saturday ready to go at 6pm. 

If you don’t have a reliable babysitter you’re going to be on the struggle bus with:

  • Canceled dates.
  • Canceled plans.
  • Late dinner arrivals.
  • Difficulty making a solid plan.
  • Wasted money.

3. Punctual

Reliability and punctuality are fairly similar and go hand in hand. 

I’ve touched on this briefly above, but I can’t stress enough the level of frustration you’re going to have if you have a babysitter who doesn’t show up when they’re supposed to ON TIME.

A babysitter that says they’re going to be there at 6pm should be there by 6pm.

Pro Tip:
Punctuality, reliability, and trustworthiness (more on that later) are one of those qualities if your babysitter doesn’t have than you might need to start looking at other options.

4. Experience

For many of us, we get so desperate for a babysitter that even the thought of a neighbor’s teenage kid watching our baby gets us excited for a break. 

While it’s understandable that sometimes you just have to do what you have to do ideally you should try to go for a babysitter who has a lot of experience babysitting. 

No amount of explaining or teaching is going to replace actual experience… 

  • Watching a baby
  • Changing diapers
  • Feeding a baby
  • Handling a toddler temper tantrum.

Or most importantly knowing what to do in emergency situations. 

5. Certifications

Along with actual experience, you should look for babysitters who are certified. 

While there’s a lot of certifications that might be worth mentioning such as:

  • Water safety
  • Infant care classes
  • Nanny training

One of the most important ones you should make sure your babysitter has is CPR and first aid (source).

6. High Energy

Kids especially younger kids tend to be high energy.

If someone is going to be watching your kids you need to make sure they’re going to have the Stamina to keep up with them. 

You’re not looking for a world-class athlete. But you do need someone who can keep up with your kids. 

Related Article: How to Make a Babysitter Checklist

7. Trustworthy & Honesty

I can’t stress this enough.

After leaving your child alone with a sitter make sure you ask for a report when you come home.

We understand accidents happen, and they’re going to happen. That’s just the fact of life, especially if you have young kids.

What we don’t understand is being lied to or told half-truths. 

Make sure you have a babysitter you can trust. 

Pro Tip:
Double-check what your babysitter says with what your child says (if they’re talking age).

8. Kind & Caring

There are people you’re going to meet and they just don’t seem to be a kind or caring person. 

You probably don’t want that person watching your kid for a variety of reasons.

The first is you could make an argument that kindness leads to better relationship building.

If you think about it yourself how many people do you want to personally build a relationship with or be around that aren’t nice to you.

The second reason and one that we might not have stressed enough in this article is that a babysitter (even if it’s one you don’t use very often) is in so many ways role-modeling behavior for your child.

If your babysitter role-models unkind behavior to your child. Your child is probably more likely to show unkind behavior to others.

9. Attentive

Do you remember watching those old cartoons where there’s a babysitter but they spend the whole time on the phone while the baby is pretty much left unattended?

Here’s an example from one of my favorite Tom and Jerry episodes.

If you’ve ever seen the show, you’ll remember the premise is parents leave the babysitter in charge and the babysitter spends the rest of the night on the phone. This is obviously a cartoon and there’s hyperbole built into the show but I think you get the point.

While I’ll admit a lot of those shows were funny, the humor quickly fades if you start thinking about YOUR babysitter being that inattentive when it involves YOUR baby. 

For those reasons you need a babysitter whos going to be focused on your child. 

10. Fun & Creative

It’s not just all work. You also need a babysitter that’s going to fun.

You want a baby sitter that’s fun. 

It might not seem like it’s a big deal to you because as long as the sitter is doing what you want and keeping your child safe than a fun babysitter shouldn’t matter.

Right? 

Wrong!

A babysitter who is responsible but is not fun or doesn’t engage with your kids means that your child might not like them.

You might run into a situation where your child starts resisting or crying whenever that babysitter is coming to watch them.

A situation like this will make things more difficult for everybody involved.

Pro Tip:
If you’re still struggling with the fun aspect of this list you’re not alone.

It’s also not something entirely obvious with a sitter because you might not be able to even tell if they’re fun or not before hiring them.

In a situation like this, you just have to be attentive and discerning to the feedback you’re getting with your kids.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some faqs related to the qualities of a good babysitter.

1. The questions you should ask yourself before hiring a babysitter.

Here are some questions you really should ask yourself before hiring a babysitter or continuing to use the same babysitter.

  • Do I trust them?
  • Are they responsible?
  • Are my kids going to be safe with this babysitter?
  • Are my kids going to enjoy being around this babysitter? 
  • If an emergency situation happens will this babysitter know what to do? 
  • Does he or she show up where they’re supposed to and on time?
  • When I leave this babysitter alone am I constantly worried that my child is not going to be taken care of.

2. What should I look for when hiring a babysitter? 

As a parent, you really should look for a babysitter that is attentive, caring, trustworthy, dependable, and fun.

3. What are the three biggest responsibilities of a babysitter?

For the most part, much of the responsibilities of a babysitter can be summed up:

  • Keeping your child safe. 
  • Playing with your child. 
  • Meeting the needs of your child.

You’ll notice that the traits of a babysitter we listed will fit into one of those three categories. 

Final Thoughts 

Leaving your child alone with a babysitter might be scary but for most families, it’s a necessity. 

That’s why when you’re picking a babysitter you should make sure the person you pick has some of the qualities of a good babysitter that we listed.

Are there any qualities of babysitter that we missed? 

Let us know in the comment section below.

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