ParentClick Santa Barbara

Babysitter interview questions & job description


Finding the perfect sitter… It can be overwhelming when you first think of leaving your child with a complete stranger. Most of us, at some point, take that leap and bring someone into our home to care for our kids. Sitters are great for parents and for children. It gives parents some time off and it gives kids an adult playmate. When you find a sitter that your kids click with, the kids will be the ones pushing you out the door. The Mary Poppins of today does not show up with an umbrella and a spoon full of sugar but she does still exist. For some parents, it is the nanny they have found on their own or through an agency (or on the ParentClick Classifieds). For others, it may be a special home daycare or an infant center that becomes your child’s home away from home.

I have learned some things over the years: paying more for a sitter does not get you a better sitter; you don’t always need to pay more when you have more than 1 child; and the more clear you are with your expectations before they babysit, the smoother the transition. Some sitters are happy to put the dishes away and tidy up. Others will simply say, I don’t do any housework. I have had 2 sitters over the years that became part of our family and did everything with our kids and we are still in touch years later. My hope is that my daughters will have the same impact on the children they care for.

Whey my daughters started babysitting in 7th grade, we had each of them take a babysitting course in order to have some basic CPR training and to understand the expectations of being a responsible babysitter. We ordered business cards for them on vistaprint with their rates and contact information. We set their rate for the first year at $5 an hour and increased it each year based on their experience so now in 11th grade, they charge $10 an hour. They hear about other teens charging more but what we have emphasized is them being paid appropriately for their age and their experience so that they have the reward of being able to increase their fees over time. They have also found that many parents tip them when they do a good job because they are affordable. Now that the tables are turned, I feel a sense of responsibility when they leave to go take care of someone else’s children. I want to know they won’t be distracted by their cell phones, that they keep the children safe and that they straighten up before the parents come home, all things I appreciated when I hired a sitter. It has been a great way for them to take on responsibility and earn money.

Check the CLASSIFIEDS on to find babysitters!


  • Get several work references and at least one personal reference. Call these references.
  • One option is to hire through an agency and they will take care of the background check.
  • You can order a background check that can cost up to $100. There are online companies available.
FEES – How much do you pay a babysitter?
  • Sitters/nannies charge different amounts.
  • The average for a high school or college students seems to be $10-15 an hour.
    Junior high age kids may charge in the range of $5-7 an hour based on experience.
  • Some sitters charge based on the number of children. Others charge based on the child’s age or their experience.
  • One way to save is to get another family involved and share a babysitter. This can be fun for the kids too. This can average $5 an hour per family.
  • How long have you been babysitting? What age children have you taken care of?
  • What hours do you have available? Do you have another job or are you going to school?
  • How would you handle an emergency with children?
  • Do you know CPR?
  • How do you handle discipline if a child is not listening to you?
  • What types of activities do you like to do with children?
  • Have you ever had to transport children? Are you comfortable driving them, putting them in carseats?
  • Do you know how to change diapers?
  • Can I answer any questions for you?

It helps to write out your expectations for the person you are hiring so that you are both clear on the duties. Below are some ideas. Everyone’s expectations are different so modify this for your personal use.

The nanny/babysitter job entails the following:

1. Daily care of (insert age & name of child)

  • Feed bottles
  • Put down for naps
  • Change diapers
  • Reading and playing with babies
  • Help with baths
  • Nurture and comfort
  • Walks in stroller

2. Help with cleaning dishes and kitchen area

3. Keep babies room straightened / clean up toys / baby laundry

4. The following is expected of nanny:

  • Experience with babies (please provide references)
  • Infant CPR certification preferred
  • Must have transportation to our home
  • Needs to be on time and somewhat flexible with schedule.
  • We can work around school schedules.
  • Needs to give notice when a day off is needed.
  • Good Hygiene: Wash hands prior to picking up babies
  • Outgoing, energetic, loving and responsible

5. Compensation:

  • Job will be approximately (insert #) hours a week.
  • Rate of pay will be $(insert #) per hour.
  • Food will be provided when you are at our home.


  • How much should you expect to pay for a sitter?
  • What can you expect from a sitter?
  • What questions do you ask when you interview a babysitter?
October 19, 2015

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  1. Reyna Angel says:
      I am lucky to have family that is usually able to babysit for me.
      I am shocked at how much people pay babysitters $10-$15 per hour????. I usually pay $5 per hour for 1 child. I don’t think you should have to pay more than minimum wage to a high schooler that is being paid under the table. It’s pretty easy if the child will be sleeping and if all the babysitter is doing is watching TV.
  2. Marygrace Monteleone says:

    In this social media day & age the first thing I would do is look up the person on their social media accounts – that will tell you a thing or two!! I guess it’s cyberstalking but pics don’t lie. Call me cynical but safety first.
    It’s very stressful to leave your kids in the hands of someone else.

  3. Reyna Angel says:

    I think the best way to find a babysitter is by word ofmouth. Asking friends and family who they use. I would never trust a complete stranger. I’m all for using a sitter that someone you know and trust recommends. In this day and age its important to have a sitter that you can trust and is dependable.

  4. Justin Haagen says:

    Great article! A good Babysitter is always prepared with a Sitter bag. Follow this link to download the Top 5 Must Haves for your Sitter Bag.