10 Questions to ask parents during your babysitter interviewApr 16, 2022
When you attend an interview for a babysitter job you can expect that the parents will ask you a fair few questions but have a list of questions to hand that you can ask the parents too. Having questions of your own shows parents that you have thought about the job and it shows that you want to clarify a few things before you decide if the job is right for you.
- Has your child or children had a sitter before?
If it is the first time parents have left their children alone then they might be super nervous about doing so. Usually, the parents need a little more reassurance that their children will be in safe hands. They might also suggest some unrealistic expectations of you if they have never had a sitter before so just bear this in mind.
If a parent has used a sitter before it is good to ask them what they liked or did not like about the previous sitter.
This will give you a good idea of what to do or avoid doing. If parents have used lots of sitters in the past, and none have returned then this might be a red flag that this might not be the right family for you if previous sitters don't want to sit for them again.
- What is the typical routine expected of me during the booking?
By asking parents to talk you through what the children's usual routine is during the period of the booking then it will give you an idea of what is expected of you.
Ideally, you want to be able to emulate the childrens' current routine so that you keep the same routine the children are used to. If the children's routine involves you being a taxi driver for 4 hours taking them from one sports practice to the next whilst waiting in the car for them to finish their activities, and you don't think you are up for this, it's as good a time as any to find this information out.
It is good to enquire if they want their exact routine followed or if there is flexibility for you to have a bit of fun with the children too.
- What kind of games do your children like to play or what activities are your children involved in?
If you are going to be spending an entire day or evening with the children it is a good idea to find out what they like or dislikes so that you can prepare for the booking in advance. Knowing what their favourite book is, if they enjoy arts and crafts, if they are happy for you to bake with their children, or if they have sporty children will help you to plan ahead.
Ask things such as: are their children allowed to watch television during the booking or be on any form of technology? Asking if they are likely to have playdates with other children in their home whilst you are looking after the children is also very important as this will increase the number of children you might not feel confident looking after.
- Do you have any specific Dos and Don'ts in the home relating to cultural or religious beliefs?
This is an important question to ask. Many families say a prayer before a meal or take their shoes off before entering their home, have different prayer times throughout the day, or don't celebrate birthdays or traditional UK holidays periods such as Christmas so it is important to understand their family's cultural or religious beliefs before you start working for a family so you know what to expect.
- Do you have a First Aid Kit in the house and is it fully stocked?
As a sitter, you should always have your first aid kit with you at every booking. However, asking a parent if they have one and knowing where a parent's first aid kit is kept is super handy, especially for things such as ice packs, or plasters which you really only want to delve into your own supply if there are no emergency supplies in the parents home to use.
- Do the children have any special needs, allergies, or conditions I should be aware of?
Nowadays many children have some kind of food intolerance or allergy. Things such as being allergic to nuts, shellfish, bee stings, and honey are quite common. Usually, if it is severe children will need an epi-pen and the parents should advise you of this. It is also important that parents are open and frank with you if their child has a special need that might involve specialized experience. Knowing from the beginning that you are confident looking after a child with additional needs is important from the offset in order to build a good rapport with the family.
If of course you feel overwhelmed or not competent enough to look after a child with additional needs then this is the best time to find out rather than during the booking.
- How would you like me to handle discipline whilst in your home?
Every family handles discipline in its own way. There is no right or wrong way to discipline a child however asking the parents how they would like you to discipline their child is important as you do not want to get it wrong! Some parents use 'the naughty step', other parents let their children cry it out, some parents don't discipline at all… this might be a red flag to not accept the booking especially if the parents indicate that their child is a tyrant!
8. When the children are asleep or not asleep, is there anything else you would like me to do?
This is a very important question to ask during the interview. It is good to find out at this stage what additional tasks are expected of you during the booking. Some parents might expect you to do things such as cook meals, do the laundry, help with homework, drive children to and from school, clean the kitchen, take the dog for a walk some of these tasks which you might not feel comfortable doing or you might be happy to do at an additional cost per hour. These are good to know and talk about before accepting to work for the family.
- How would you like me to communicate with you during the booking?
Nowadays most parents have mobile phones. Ask parents if they are happy to be contacted via call, text, or WhatsApp message. It is also good to understand if parents want periodic updates or only to be contacted in an emergency.
- Do you have any other questions for me?
This is usually your last question as it might prompt a parent to ask a question they hadn't asked before.
Don't be worried about asking too many questions, the more information you get from a family will give you a better idea of whether you want to sit for them or not.
Being prepared in an interview with some questions to hand will make a great impression on the parents. Do you know any other ways you can impress a parent in an interview? If so we would love to hear from you at [email protected]
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