As a divorced family, you not only need a great sitter, you need a mature sitter who can handle different locations, two parenting styles and kids in a unique circumstance.
Not all babysitters are created equal.
You have nannies, part-time nannies, day sitters and date night sitters. And each person will bring different qualities to your family.
If you’re looking for someone to help on a part-time or full-time basis, it’s even more important to focus on how this candidate can be an essential member of your parenting team. Someone your children are thrilled to see when she walks through the door. Someone who can keep track of playdates, after-school activities, homework, and if applicable, who has the kids on which nights. So on top of the general questions, we’ve added some specific interview questions you can consider asking, to dig a little deeper on how this person can support you best.
Be sure to host all interviews without your children, and outside of your home (coffee shop, work cafeteria). Once you find a candidate you love, call references, and run a background check before making an offer.
1. What is your experience babysitting for kids (in this age range)? You’ll want to get a sense for how well she knows the age range she’d be working with. Or, how she could adapt her experience around your children’s needs.
2. What type of food do you typically cook for the family – and are you comfortable making meals? Most families need some type of meal prep, whether it’s making baby foods, packing lunches, or cooking healthy meals for the whole family. One advantage of hiring in-home help is that this person is there to make your life easier. Think of a few things she can do (with the kids still being the main focus) and put this in the job description, so no one is caught off guard.
3. How do you comfort/discipline children? This is basically asking her parenting style, even if she’s not a parent. If there are two homes/parents she’ll be working with, there may also be two parenting styles. It will be important for her to have a sense of whose rules she should follow, as well as creating some of her own rules that work for her.
4. What have been the most challenging and rewarding parts about being a babysitter?
5. Are you comfortable driving the kids? This can start the driving conversation in which you will want to know if she has any driving infractions (the Preferred+ Background Check will cover this too) and go over if she’d be using a car you provide or her own to drive the kids.
6. Are you comfortable with $___ per week, pre-tax? You will need to connect with Care.com HomePay to figure out what the exact take-home pay will be. You will also want to create a nanny contract in which you go over paid sick leave, vacation and holidays. (See a sample contract here)
7. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? This will give you a little about her interests and background.
8. How would your last employer describe you? And how would your friends describe you? These two questions give a sense for how she sees herself in other people’s eyes. And tells you how she wants to be seen as well.
9. What would you do if.. someone came to the door, the baby fell off the couch, you got locked out of the house – and the baby and your phone were inside? These types of “what if” questions will give you a sense of her maturity and on-the-spot thinking.
10. How do you keep track of a busy family? Organization is key to keep a busy family running smoothly. Learn her tricks and see if they will work for all the balls you have in the air!
11. Are you comfortable working in two different homes? If this person will be splitting her time between your house and your ex’s, she will need to be comfortable with both of you, your parenting styles, and your homes. Once she passes the first interview and her references come back glowing, have her see both homes and meet both parents (as well as the kids).
12. Do you have experience working with a divorced family? It won’t be a deal breaker, but it might be nice to have who can use her past experience to help your family and your children. Maybe clear boundaries need to be set from Day 1. Or perhaps the kids need more compassion. Whatever it is, her past work might help make your family stronger.
13. How would you respond to my daughter if she…started missing her Dad? This type of scenario would be good to talk through with your top candidate. Would she handle the situation the way you’d want? What other scenarios would you want to ask the nanny about?
14. How flexible are your hours? Whether looking for a nanny or date night sitter, you might need her to stay late a few nights – and not have a curfew or regular schedule constraints.
DivorcedMoms has partnered with Care.com to bring you the most easy-to-use way to find better care for you and your family.