10 Signs of a Good Babysitter

a sitter watching a couple of kids

Between checking references, doing background checks, and conducting interviews, finding a babysitter might feel like a full-time job.

Even after you’ve narrowed down your top choices, you might feel like you’re unsure which babysitter is the best choice.

Luckily, there are 10 sure signs that indicate you hired a great babysitter.

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10 Signs of a Good Babysitter

Once you’ve decided you need a babysitter, it’s time to get to work finding the highest quality babysitter. It’s not always easy looking through so many babysitter applicants.

Here are some good signs of a quality daycare.

Pro-Tip:
The best tip I can give you is to not wait until you are in an emergency situation to look for a babysitter.

If you suddenly find yourself in need of a sitter with short notice, you might have to settle for someone you wouldn’t otherwise choose simply because they’re available.

Instead, do the work in advance to find a good babysitter. If your budget allows, hire them on a weekly basis.

You can have a date night with your spouse, catch up on errands or have some alone time.

This way, even if an emergency arises, you already have a babysitter you know and trust.

1. Excellent References

employee reference check

The number one sign you want to look for when hiring a babysitter is good babysitting experience. Ideally, your sitter will be someone who has been recommended to you by someone you trust.

You might have otherwise found them on a babysitter website (like this one), which should already have some good references in place.

Whether you found them online or through a friend, you should talk to at least two or three parents (more than that if you found them online) who can vouch for how good the sitter is.

Good references go a long way toward providing you insight into how the babysitter thinks and functions. Ask their references how the sitter responded to any stressful situations or if there were any red flags.

Also, ask how the children liked their sitter. A child’s opinion on the sitter is often even more reliable than the parent’s.

Find Top-Rated Babysitters in Your Area

If you’re looking for a babysitter, this service can connect you to qualified babysitters who have been pre-vetted.

2. Creates an Immediate Bond with Children

a babysitter playing with child

You should meet with the sitter before you hire them. The initial meeting is primarily to watch your kid’s interaction with the sitter for the first time.

A good sitter will most likely ask to get to know your children in advance. You’ll make introductions with the hope that the sitter takes an immediate interest in the kids.

It’s a good sign when the sitter asks the children about their favorite toys, books, and games. It’s an even better sign if the sitter uses that information to build a connection with the children.

For example, “Your favorite game is Battleship? Mine too! Let’s play it together sometime.”

It’s a not-so-good sign if the sitter doesn’t attempt to interact with the children once they meet. That said, the sitter might be nervous about the interview, so it’s not necessarily a red flag.

Pro-Tip
Keep in mind that this is not one of those telltale signs of a bad babysitter.

The sitter might be shy or nervous about getting interviewed. Because of that, you’ll have to keep in mind that the sitter and your kid’s first meeting may be awkward.

If that’s the case, you’ll have to go with a gut feeling at that point.

3. Holds Certifications

Special training is always a bonus when it comes to babysitting. At a minimum, every babysitter should have certification in Child and Baby First Aid and CPR.

The certification must be current and easy to check. Most sitters will have this listed on their resume or online profile. If it’s a brand new babysitter, they might not know they should list it on their resume, so make sure to ask if you go that route.

CPR and First Aid Certification Course

It doesn’t matter if it’s a friend, family member, a nanny, or a professional babysitter. Make sure any caregiver that’s taking care of your kid is certified in first aid and CPR. As a sidenote, moms and dads should also be certified.

The American Red Cross offers babysitting certification courses that are somewhat easy to obtain.

Sitters who are CPR and first aid certified show they’ve taken the time to study what it takes to watch after children in a healthy and responsible way. I think that alone should put them in consideration above others.

Another good sign is a sitter who holds a degree or has taken some early childhood development courses.

4. Makes Creative Plans

sign with plans on it

During the interview, ask the sitter what a typical evening will look like. The answer should give you an excellent idea of how good the babysitter will be with your children.

A highly competent babysitter should have an array of options. This might include reading books, a series of games, drawing, snack time, and going for walks outside.

Other sitters might rely on the television or tablet for entertainment. A sitter may suggest that a child will be happy with some cartoons or unboxing videos for the evening.

While these activities ensure the children will be safe at home, too much screen time is not healthy for young ones.

5. Asks Helpful Questions

question marks on paper

While conducting your interview, a good babysitter will take the time to ask you questions about your children and their needs.

They might ask about special diets, health concerns, special needs, fears, and bedtime routines. They should ask about household rules and emergency procedures.

An excellent babysitter is aware that many unknowns can be made known simply by asking the right questions.

Questions that could raise red flags are those that are self-serving.

If a prospective sitter asks about your wifi password but doesn’t ask about your children, it might be wise to look elsewhere.

6. Is Not Easily Rattled

a woman being rattled

It’s difficult to know how a sitter will respond in a stressful situation until it occurs.

The best way to find out if a sitter can keep their cool when emergencies arise is to ask their references. If that’s not possible, ask the sitter how they respond if a child is injured or suddenly ill.

A young sitter might have no experience with emergencies. This doesn’t mean they aren’t capable. It simply means they might need more guidance.

Find Top-Rated Babysitters in Your Area

If you’re looking for a babysitter, this service can connect you to qualified babysitters who have been pre-vetted.

7. Seems Happy and Helpful

a babysitter watching 2 kids at the last minute

A happy, bubbly sitter will connect with children. A sad, angry, or melancholy sitter might not be a great choice. The difficulty is knowing whether the sitter is a happy person.

The easiest way is to use visual cues to see if happiness is authentic.

Conversely, there are plenty of people who suffer from depression and/or anxiety who are perfectly good babysitters.

I have personal experience with this. My anxiety disorder causes me to feel depression at times. That doesn’t preclude me from being a good caregiver for children.

8. Has Healthy Habits

a grownup walking outside with kids

You do not want a babysitter who is a smoker. Being around second-hand smoke is extremely dangerous for young lungs.

Likewise, there is a direct correlation between seeing others smoke and beginning the habit. The last thing you should want is a babysitter that sets a poor example for your children.

You should also look for a babysitter who encourages healthy eating habits. Rather than giving children snacks of chips and cookies, sitters should suggest fresh fruit and veggies.

Instead of extra screen time, the sitter should recommend creative play. These healthy habits will reinforce what you’re trying to teach your children.

Related: Should You Provide Food for Your Babysitter?

9. Offers a Flexible Schedule

a paper planner

A babysitter with a very strict schedule might work just fine with your needs. However, it’s often much better to have a sitter with some flexibility.

Look for those who have wide areas of availability or open-ended times. When I was babysitting, I told my families that I could sit from 5 PM through whenever they needed me. Sometimes my night ended at 9 PM, and sometimes it was 1 AM.

Pro-Tip
It’s important not to take advantage of a flexible babysitter. Sitters work this type of job because they need the money.

If a sitter tells you they can be available eight hours, but you only use them for two with no notice, they may be missing out on a much more lucrative job.

Take advantage of a babysitter, and you might find yourself looking for a new one before you know it.

10. Arrives Prepared

adults talking

Arriving prepared to an interview means the sitter has copies of references and their resume as well as a list of questions. It also means they are not caught off-guard by the questions you ask.

A young sitter who hasn’t had many interviews might not be as prepared. If this is the only area where they don’t check all of your boxes, cut them some slack.

Key Takeaways

Hiring a babysitter is time-consuming, but finding a great one is worth it. A good babysitter will become an important person in the life of your child. Why not take time to make sure your choice is a good one?

Let me know your thoughts about babysitters in the comments!

Find Top-Rated Babysitters in Your Area

If you’re looking for a babysitter, this service can connect you to qualified babysitters who have been pre-vetted.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The best way to know if you can trust a babysitter is by calling the babysitter’s references and asking them how their interaction with the sitter has been.