Interviewing Sitters... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 05-10-2011, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wondering what questions you would ask. This is not daycare/nanny, but an intermittent or short (couple hours) sitter.

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#2 of 4 Old 05-10-2011, 05:30 PM
 
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I'd ask about experience with children my kids' ages.  What she/he would do in specific situations likely to be encountered.  Find out whether the potential sitter can respect family rules (ie, no friends of either gender over while sitting unless it was previously cleared with us, stay off the phone unless the kids are in bed, stay off the computer--I am not paying you to play on my computer while watching my kids and I don't want to risk you getting into something not-kosher while online, though if you want to type a paper that you already have notes for, and the kids are asleep, fine.  Don't go through our stuff.  The living room bookshelf is fair game.  You may bring your own reading material if you like.  I'll let you know what you and the kids can eat.  Do not offer my kids any food other than what I tell you to feed them (special, very strict diet).  If you keep candy in your bag, please leave it in the car or at home.  I do not want my kids to have it. Tidy after yourself and the kids.  I don't expect the house spotless, but I do expect it to not look as though a hurricane ripped through it.  If I get home early or the kids were especially onery, then you may get a pass on that.)  Also, find out about transportation--will you provide or can the sitter drive him/herself or has a ride (or in my case, years ago, lives across the street).

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#3 of 4 Old 05-11-2011, 05:54 AM
 
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First, is this in your home or the sitter's? If it is at another home, I would prepare a separate list about home safety, insurance coverage, and neighbours, and ask for a tour of all areas that my child will be able to access. 

 

I would ask a lot of open-ended questions, rather than questions that can be answered "yes" or "no", so that you can assess the candidate's beliefs about a topic. For example, instead of asking "Do you spank for discipline?", try asking "What methods do you use if a child is being naughty/upset/uncontrolled?" and "Tell me about a time when you tried one method and it didn't work. What did you do next?" 

 

I like sitters to have experience and training, and preferably first aid qualifications. 

 

I would explore attitudes about

-child raising,

-activities (what kind? how much?),

-discipline (what kind? when?),

-safety issues (is the property safe, if s/he's driving is the car safe and does she have a good driving record, do you mind if they go on excursions - errands or playground or whatever),

-family and house rules (use of t.v. and computer, phone use, foods and snacks) to make sure that we can agree on the fundamentals.

 

I've never believed that a sitter has to do exactly what I would do in every situation, but I wouldn't want a sitter who did something I absolutely disagreed with or who ignored my wishes about important matters. It's up to you to decide what's important to your family and then make sure you've covered it in the interview.

 

 

 

 

 

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#4 of 4 Old 05-11-2011, 06:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2lilsweetfoxes View Post

I'd ask about experience with children my kids' ages.  What she/he would do in specific situations likely to be encountered.  Find out whether the potential sitter can respect family rules (ie, no friends of either gender over while sitting unless it was previously cleared with us, stay off the phone unless the kids are in bed, stay off the computer--I am not paying you to play on my computer while watching my kids and I don't want to risk you getting into something not-kosher while online, though if you want to type a paper that you already have notes for, and the kids are asleep, fine.  Don't go through our stuff.  The living room bookshelf is fair game.  You may bring your own reading material if you like.  I'll let you know what you and the kids can eat.  Do not offer my kids any food other than what I tell you to feed them (special, very strict diet).  If you keep candy in your bag, please leave it in the car or at home.  I do not want my kids to have it. Tidy after yourself and the kids.  I don't expect the house spotless, but I do expect it to not look as though a hurricane ripped through it.  If I get home early or the kids were especially onery, then you may get a pass on that.)  Also, find out about transportation--will you provide or can the sitter drive him/herself or has a ride (or in my case, years ago, lives across the street).



It never occured to me that I would need to tell a sitter that she was not allowed to host "guests" in my house until it happened so I think this is a great point to address during the interview.  Same with phone/texting/computer.  A teen daughter of close friends keeps saying she wants to be on our sitter list but she (the daughter) can't be more than arms length from her phone at anytime.  I just don't trust her to understand what no texting while sitting means.

 


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