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How to hire a babysitter


Hiring a babysitter, especially if it’s your first time doing this, might feel like a daunting task. After all, you need a person who’ll not only keep your children safe in your absence but also who knows how to keep them engaged and help them develop new cognitive, motor, and emotional skills.

This article will guide you through this process, providing practical and effective advice on how to hire a babysitter who is the right match for you and your children. 

From understanding the most important skills and qualities to look for (such as communication and understanding instructions), to having the right questions to ask during an interview, we'll talk about the entire babysitter hiring process and help you make a confident decision.

What is a babysitter?

A babysitter is a person who takes care of a family’s children while their parents or guardians are away or busy. They play an important role in children’s life, providing a safe and nurturing environment where children can play, gain new skills, do their homework, and more.

While a babysitter’s main responsibility is to take care of the children’s safety and well-being, their specific tasks may vary a lot, depending on factors such as:

  • The family’s and the children’s needs

  • The children’s age

  • The duration of the babysitting session and the time of the day

Some of the typical tasks of a babysitter might include to: 

  • Play with the children or read to them

  • Organize fun activities, such as going to the playground, museum, or zoo, for example

  • Help with homework and other school-related tasks

  • Prepare the children for bed and staying in the house or flat until the parents come back

  • Feed the children, which might also include preparing food

  • Help with bathtime

  • Change diapers for babies and toddlers

Occasionally, a babysitter might need to deal with an emergency, such as a child getting hurt or sick, so it’s important that they know when and how to escalate the situation – and how to offer basic first aid. Some babysitters have CPR and first-aid training and might have other certifications.

Babysitter skills to look for

So, what skills should you look for in your next babysitter? Below, you’ll find our suggestions on the most critical abilities to consider when hiring someone to take care of your children.

Remember, however, that the "best" babysitter isn't the same for every family. Each family has unique needs, so the most important thing is to find a babysitter who can be flexible and adapt to your needs and home environment.

babysitter skills to look for graphic

Childcare experience

Experience in childcare is essential when choosing a babysitter. This doesn’t need to be formal babysitting experience: You might also decide to hire someone who has previously only taken care of siblings or of children from their extended family. 

On the other hand, you might also consider applicants who have worked as an au pair or in a daycare center. Overall, people who have experience in childcare: 

  • Understand age-specific needs 

  • Know how to manage children’s temperaments

  • Are able to deal with emergencies swiftly and in the right way

Good communication

For a babysitter, good communication skills are essential: They need to know how to communicate clearly and effectively with both parents and children. 

When communicating with you, the children’s parent or guardian, they need to explain how the day went, talk about any issues that arose, or discuss changes in the child's behavior. Plus, in an emergency, their ability to communicate is essential to getting adequate care on time.

When communicating with your children, they need to give clear instructions and guidelines, discuss a wide range of topics in simple, age-appropriate terms, and always be kind and patient. Plus, a babysitter who understands the value of active listening can better understand a child’s needs, ensure that they feel heard, and build a stronger bond.


Obviously, you need to hire a babysitter who you can count on. This means finding someone who:

  • Always arrives on time

  • Doesn’t cancel appointments last minute (except if they’re unwell)

  • Can carry out their tasks as requested

  • Is able to take proper safety precautions

  • Knows when to escalate a situation

To assess a babysitter’s reliability, you might want to check references from other parents.

Problem-solving skills

Every parent – and indeed, every babysitter – knows that unexpected situations are bound to happen when you take care of children. For example, your child might decide to give the dog a makeover or they might lose their favorite toy on the playground. Or they fell and broke their glasses.

Your next babysitter needs to be a quick thinker and be able to find the best solution to each unexpected problem that they face. 

First-aid and CPR certification

Not all babysitters have first-aid and CPR training and certification, but those who do will be better equipped to ensure your children’s safety, if an emergency occurs. 

If applicants have a first-aid certification, check when they obtained it – a more recent one is better than one they got ten years ago and never used. 


A babysitter with a creative mind can turn everyday tasks into fun activities and captivate a child's attention for longer. A creative person will also find it easier to engage children in stimulating games, educational activities, or storytelling. 

This way, babysitting becomes more than just supervision – it transforms into a fun and interesting experience for the child.

Understanding and following instructions

Your babysitter needs to be someone who can easily understand and follow instructions. 

You probably have specific routines or guidelines for their children, or also ways of doing things at home. So, a babysitter must be able to adhere to those rules, whether it's bedtime rituals, specific dietary requirements, or homework schedules.

Time management

Babysitting involves juggling multiple tasks, such as helping children with homework, feeding them, managing playtime, and sticking to bedtime rules. 

A babysitter who knows how to manage their time well will be able to schedule activities efficiently, ensuring everything gets done on time without rushing or causing unnecessary stress to your children.

Language skills

If the babysitter isn't a native speaker of the language used in your home, it's important they have the right language skills to communicate with you and the children. 

They should be able to understand and respond to your children’s needs, explain things to them, and maybe help them with homework. Sufficient language skills are also super important in emergency situations where clear communication is paramount.

How to test babysitter skills

Now that you know what skills to look for in your next babysitter, how should you actually test them? 

Thankfully, there’s an easy answer to this question: Babysitter recruitment can be much easier if you use skills tests to evaluate candidates and find the right person. 

You might think of skills testing as something that companies do when hiring employees for office jobs, but that’s actually not true. Our assessments can be used for nearly any role out there, including the role of a babysitter for your family. 

This way, you’re not leaving anything to chance and can be confident that the person you hire truly has the skills they need to take care of your children.

With TestGorilla, you can build an assessment of up to five skills tests. Here are some of the tests we recommend when evaluating babysitter skills: 

  • Communication: Your next babysitter should be an excellent communicator and an active listener, which you can evaluate with the help of this test.

  • Understanding instructions: Understanding and following instructions meticulously is essential for a babysitter, because each family has their own routines and requirements.

  • Time management: Playtime, homework, meals, bedtime – managing all those activities requires good time-management skills. Assess them with this test. 

  • Problem-solving skills: Unexpected challenges might arise at any point during babysitting sessions, so it’s important to hire someone who knows how to address them.

  • Language skills: If your babysitter speaks another language than the one you speak at home, you might also want to test their language skills. 

Each test takes about ten minutes to complete and you can pick the ones that make the most sense to you and your family.

Where to find a babysitter

By now you’re probably wondering where to start looking for a babysitter. Here are a few ideas: 

  • Your personal network: Ask your friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers if they have a recommendation for a babysitter. This way, you’ll also be able to ask them additional questions and make sure the person is reliable and trustworthy.

  • Online platforms: Websites and apps like Care.com, Sittercity, and Urbansitter connect families with babysitters in their area. The advantage of such platforms is that you can check each babysitter’s profile, reviews, experience, and certifications.

  • Babysitter agencies: In bigger cities, you’ll be able to find at least a few agencies. On the upside, they take care of the screening and background checks and match you with qualified babysitters. However, this also means that you have less control over the babysitter hiring process. 

  • Parenting groups on social media: Check local parenting groups on Facebook or other social media networks. You might ask the group for recommendations or they might already have a directory of local babysitters or nannies.

  • Local colleges or universities: Students studying in fields like early childhood education, nursing, or child psychology may be interested in part-time babysitting jobs – plus, they already have a strong interest in working with children and might be more qualified than others. 

Babysitter job description template

Title: Babysitter needed for a family with [X] children aged [Y] and [Z]

Our family is looking for a fun-loving, and responsible individual who is ready to keep up with our [number of children] energetic, imaginative, and adventurous children.

We're on the lookout for a babysitter who is more than just a placeholder while we're away but instead someone who can plan fun activities, provide our children with gentle guidance, and teach them new skills. 


  • Plan daily activities that encourage curiosity, learning, and motor skill development

  • Prepare healthy meals and snacks 

  • Enforce household rules and ensure bedtime routines are smoothly executed

  • Step in for first aid for minor injuries and know when to escalate medical situations

  • Provide us with real-time updates about our children while we’re away

  • Provide gentle guidance and set limits when the kids cross lines

  • Help with homework assignments and bath time


  • Previous experience as a babysitter or in a similar role, such as a nanny or daycare worker

  • A strong understanding of child development stages

  • Stellar references from other families

  • Ability to multitask and manage the unexpected

  • Availability [from/to am/pm] on weekdays and occasionally on weekends

  • A natural ability to have fun, be creative, and maintain a positive environment with children

  • CPR and first-aid certification is a major plus

Are you ready to join our exciting world of imaginative play, art projects, park outings, and bedtime stories? If you are trustworthy, energetic, and love being a positive influence in the lives of young children, then you might be the babysitter we're looking for.

Does this sound like you? If so, we'd love to hear from you! 

How much does a babysitter cost?

So, how much does it cost to hire a babysitter and what are the factors that you should consider when determining what a fair wage is?

The cost of a babysitter can vary a lot depending on several factors: 

  • The location: In areas where the cost of living is high, babysitting is also more expensive

  • Experience: More experienced babysitters have higher fees

  • Number of children: Caring for one or three children is not the same amount of work, so it’s only natural that the cost reflects that

  • Specific needs: Babysitting children with special needs or infants will usually be more demanding and thus more expensive

  • Time of the day or week: Babysitting at night or on weekends might cost you more

According to Care.com, for 15-hour weeks of after-school babysitting, US parents paid an average of $18.30 per hour, with costs ranging from around $21.75 (in Seattle, Washington) to $15.50 per hour (in San Antonio, Texas). 

Sittercity reports similar findings, with national averages of $20 per hour, and 54% of families offering tips. 

For more than one child, you might add $1-$2 per hour; consider adding more if your kids have special needs or if work is at irregular hours with no fixed weekly schedule. 

Babysitter interview questions

Below, you’ll find some interview questions you can ask when interviewing babysitters. They’ll help you gain a deeper understanding of their babysitting experience, skills, and ability to handle difficult situations in the best way possible.

  1. What previous experience do you have in babysitting or childcare?

  2. Can you provide references from your previous babysitting jobs?

  3. How do you handle challenging situations? For example, what do you do if the child is acting out and doesn't want to go to bed or do their homework?

  4. What type of activities do you usually plan for children while babysitting? 

  5. How would you handle a child who is sick or injured? How about an emergency?

  6. How do you manage kids’ screen time?

  7. Are you comfortable with doing additional tasks, such as helping with homework or driving children to activities? 

  8. How do you handle a child who is having a tantrum related to house rules? 

Hire the best babysitter with skills tests

Hiring a skilled babysitter who knows how to take good care of your children even in difficult situations or when unexpected problems arise doesn’t have to be difficult, if you use the right methods. 

Skill testing can be an excellent way to filter applicants and find those who truly have the skills you need. Then you can conduct short interviews with the best babysitters and ask them for references from other families they’re working with. This will enable you to make the right choice with confidence and know that your children are in good hands while you’re away. 

Sign up for our free plan and see for yourself how much easier it can be to find the perfect babysitter.


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