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How to Grill a Babysitter’s Reference

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how-to-grill-a-babysitters-referenceHere are things you really need to know before you hire a childcare provider.

This could be one of the most stressful jobs as mom: finding the right person to look after your children when you're not there. The first step is knowing where to look. Then, you have to actually find prospects. Last, you have to interview them.

Even if you had the most fabulous interview, it’s important to hear a second opinion before you hire someone. 

You may have asked all the right questions during your interview and gotten a feeling that this is THE person. Still, it’s imperative to take the step to speak to moms she used to work with about her capabilities, attitude and ethics, because people who've worked with her before can give you an honest opinion. 

If you were going for a job in the corporate world, you would be required to provide multiple references attesting to your professional qualifications as well as your behavior and mindset. Any babysitter should provide you with legitimate previous employers (not relatives of friends who have seen her with her own kids or theirs) who can vouch for her character and abilities.

The tricky thing is to understand that while you need to hear what these other moms have to say, you don’t know them and how their opinion may differ from yours. So aside from the important questions about the nanny, try to chat for a few minutes about your children and hers to get a sense of the type of mom she is. That will help you know how much weight to put in her opinion when she is telling you her opinion. Most importantly, it’s best to be armed for your phone call with the key points.

These are similar things you might have asked potential babysitters in an interview, but now it is your opportunity to get these all important questions answered by an unbiased person.

Top 10 Questions to Ask a Babysitter’s Reference

  1. If she’s so good, why are you passing her off to me?
  2. Was she just in it for the bucks or did she truly love your kids?
  3. Did your child run to her with open arms or run for the hills whenever she came to the door?
  4. Did she respect your parenting style and you as boss or did she dominate and reduce your role to assistant?
  5. Did her family’s various “illnesses” translate to a few too many “sick” days she needed to take?
  6. Assess her creativity when entertaining the kids. Was she one who used the TV screen as her accomplice?
  7. Evaluate her safety consciousness and common sense in emergency situations.
  8. Describe the last responsible thing she did that blew your mind (Hint: If this question has an answer other than “none,” rip up her resume.)
  9. Think about it: If you left your wallet out around her, would you be 100 percent sure there wouldn’t be a 20 that slipped away?
  10. Dish about any info you received from her references when you were doing the hiring. 

For more info and advice on parenting, check out poshmom.com.

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