How to find a reliable babysitter?

Babysitter sitting with child

5 Simple Steps to Find A Reliable Babysitter

Find a reliable babysitter by using our 5 simple steps! Follow these steps and you’ll be confident you’ve got the best babysitter for your family.

Whether it’s time for a date night, to return to work, or get some solo time - having a reliable babysitter to call on is crucial.

Many moms and dads don’t have spare friends or relatives to help with babysitting.Families are often scattered around different parts of the states, or even the world!Grandparents are either still working, or enjoying retirement.Sometimes, sadly, grandparents are not well or able to help.

It can feel daunting to find a babysitter.If you follow these simple steps, though,it will be straightforward and you’ll have peace of mind you’ve found a fabulous babysitter.

1. Search

There are lots of ways to find a babysitter, both online and off-line.Every option has different pros and cons.Parents often use a mix of these approaches over time.

Here are some of the most common ways:

  • Online sites - we admit that we’re a little biased, but the first tactic we recommend is using an online introduction platform.Online sites and apps have been serving parents for many years, helping them find babysitters and nannies in an efficient and affordable way. Our site, The Best Babysitters, began 18 years ago (called Find A Babysitter in Australia). It has helped thousands of parents.We love that sites like ours give parents quick and easy access to find the right match for their child. Introduction sites give parents full control and choice.One of the best features of a babysitting site is the Job Posting - as this promotes your job and brings babysitters to you. It saves you spending time reaching out to sitters who may or may not be interested in the role.We know that introduction and job posting sites are not for everyone though - as parents do need to post a job ad, conduct interviews and reference checks.Babysitting sites keep the costs low for parents, but it does require a little time and effort.
  • Word-of-mouth through friends:Asking close friends for recommendations can be helpful.The key benefit of this approach is that often your friends have used that babysitter and can provide a personal recommendation.The drawback of this approach is that your friends may not want to share their babysitter!There may be times when you both want to book the babysitter on the same night (e.g., New Years Eve) and it becomes awkward.Does your friend have the ‘right of the first offer’ to book the babysitter?Or is it first in best dressed?
  • Through a community or club:Another approach is to advertise through local community groups or clubs.Perhaps you have connections to a church group or a sporting club where you can ask for recommendations or place an ad in a newsletter.The benefit of this approach is that you can gain a referral from a known connection, who is likely to have similar standards and values. The drawback is that others may not be willing to share their babysitter either!
  • Traditional babysitter or nanny agencies:Using a reputable agency can be a great way to book a babysitter.Particularly if you are time-poor and need a babysitter quickly.The benefit of this approach is that the agency has done all of the pre-employment screening and can send a sitter to you. The downside is that you usually pay extra fees and higher hourly rates for this service. Another drawback is that you are relying on a third party to conduct the screening and checks and you’re not choosing the babysitter yourself.

Once you’ve made initial contact with a babysitter, here are the steps you need to ensure they’re the perfect choice!

2. Phone screen

We recommend conducting a phone screening with the babysitter before scheduling an interview.It gives you the opportunity to ask some key questions about the babysitter’s background and availability.This ensures that there are no red flags or show stoppers before you meet for a face-to-face interview.This will help save time, as you’ll only shortlist babysitters after they pass your phone screening.Questions to ask on the phone may include:

  • Tell me about yourself - your current course of study or work
  • Tell me about your babysitting experience
  • How comfortable are you babysitting children ages x and y.
  • What availability do you have?
  • What checks or credentials do you have? (e.g., Background Check)
  • Are you available for an interview?


A face-to-face interview is an important part of the process to find a reliable babysitter.Arrange a time to meet with the sitter when the children can be present.You may like to meet at home or at a neutral location like a park or cafe.

Here are 10 Top Babysitter Interview Questions to ask:

  1. What is your current position (school, college, workplace)?
  2. Tell me what led you to becoming a babysitter?
  3. How long have you been babysitting?
  4. What are the skills and strengths you bring to being a babysitter?
  5. What do you think are the best aspects of being a babysitter?
  6. What are the challenging aspects of babysitting?
  7. Are there any babysitting skills that you’d like to improve?
  8. Why did you apply for this babysitting job?
  9. Tell me about your past experience of babysitting?When was this, what were the ages of children, how many children did you babysit, was it daytime or night time?
  10. Tell me about what you’ve done during babysitting shifts? (the types of duties including childcare and domestic tasks, activities with the children)

For more comprehensive interview guide visit our page Babysitter Interview Questions.

4. Reference Check

Reference checks are the key to success!By doing 2 reference checks you can confirm the babysitter is reliable, honest and trustworthy.Sometimes it’s difficult to judge a babysitter’s character strengths (or weaknesses) during an interview.By calling references you can gain more valid insights. This step is so simple, yet often skipped.

Here are some great questions to reference check babysitters:

  1. In what capacity do you know this candidate?
  2. How long have you known them?
  3. What were the duties of their role for you? (e.g., the number and ages of the children they cared for, day or night shifts, the tasks involved)
  4. How well did they relate to your children and perform the role?
  5. What did you consider to be their main strengths?
  6. Were there any areas they needed to improve?
  7. Was there ever an emergency or challenging situation and how did they manage this?
  8. Are they reliable and punctual?
  9. Is there anything else you would like to add?
  10. Would you re-hire them again?

By completing reference checks you can avoid anyunexpected issues (i.e., unreliable or late babysitter). You can confirm that you’ve found the best babysitter!

5. Trial Date

The final step to confirm that you’ve found the perfect babysitter is to book a trial babysitting date. This is a great way to see how the babysitter and children relate.Sometimes parents plan for the babysitter to shadow the parent for some ‘on the job training’, depending on the details of the role and the babysitter’s experience.

At the start of a trial date be sure to

  • Provide a house tour, including keys, A/C, heating information.
  • Give guidelines regarding expectations. e.g. , bedtimes, screen time.
  • Provide strategies to the babysitter for any anticipated issuese.g., separation anxiety.
  • Spend time overlapping with the babysitter and children to transition, if needed.
  • Allow time for the babysitter to ask questions.
  • Provide parent contact information and emergency contact information.
  • Leave a meal or snacks for the babysitter if it’s an evening shift, as a gesture of goodwill.
  • Gather feedback at the end of the shift.

Hopefully the babysitting shift has been successful.Sometimes, however, there are red flags. For example, the babysitter has arrived very late or does not perform to the standard expected.In this case we recommend you do not engage this babysitter.There are so many wonderful babysitters - it’s worth finding the right match.

We hope that this guide to finding a reliable babysitter makes the process simple and straightforward. Here’s to finding the best babysitter for your family!