Parental Tips

6 Tips for Choosing a Babysitter You Can Trust

Most parents would agree that their number one goal, above all else, is to keep their children safe. But how do you guarantee your child’s safety when you can’t always be with them? Whether you work outside the home, or simply want to get away for some kid-free adult time, every parent will encounter the childcare dilemma at some point.

If you’re interviewing a nanny or babysitter, or even looking within your existing contacts, friends, or family for someone to help with childcare when you’re not around, it’s important to be cautious. Entrusting someone to care for your child is a huge decision, but it’s not one you have to make blindly.

6 Tips for Choosing a Babysitter You Can Trust


6 Tips for Choosing a Babysitter You Can Trust

  1. Conduct an interview. It’s always a good idea to meet in-person and talk with your potential applicants. This should give you a good sense of their demeanor. It’s also a time to ask questions that are specific to your family to determine if the sitter aligns with your values and expectations. If your kids are older, be sure the candidate understands your family screentime rules and online safety boundaries. You’ll also want to outline the responsibilities and expectations of the job, ask about past childcare experience, and request references.
  2. Check references. Now that you have those references, call them! Some caregiving sites can provide a full background check for you, but at the very least, speak with current and past families. Ask if they’ve ever had issues, felt concerned or uneasy, and if they’d recommend the sitter to their friends.
  3. Do a trial run. Before jumping in with both feet, invite your prospective sitter over for a trial run. Allow the sitter to watch your children for an hour or two while you’re home. Use this time to get some work done around the house, making yourself scarce but available so you can get an idea of the sitter’s interaction with your children when you’re not directly involved. If you’re comfortable, run a quick errand or take a walk around the block toward the end of the trial run to give the sitter a limited opportunity to be alone.
  4. Ask your kids. After the trial run, check in with your kids. Assuming they’re old enough to talk, ask your kids questions based on their age and maturity level. What did they like about the sitter? Is there anything they didn’t like? Did they feel safe? If your kids are young, or aren’t particularly chatty, use behavior clues to fill in the gaps. Did you kids seem happy or anxious when you returned? Establishing open lines of communication with your kids and teaching them body safety rules are key in abuse prevention.
  5. Talk openly about abuse prevention. Be straightforward with anyone who spends time alone with your children, that your family is intentional about preventing child sexual abuse. Ask if they’re familiar with consent and boundaries. Review your family technology and screen time rules. Clearly outline your expectations when it comes to bathing, toileting, time alone, media consumption. Remember, you’re not being rude. You’re ensuring everyone who cares for your child is on the same page, and doing your due diligence as their parent.
  6. Trust your gut. When all else fails, trust your gut. A sitter may look great on paper, but give you bad vibes in person. You know your child and your family best. If something feels off, listen, even if you can’t pinpoint exactly what it is. No night out is worth the lifelong pain of child sexual abuse.

Entrusting someone to become a babysitter for your child is a huge decision, but it’s not one you have to make blindly. Follow these 6 tips.

At Child Rescue Coalition, we know that about 90% of the time, a child knows their abuser. These people are often in your circle and know how to manipulate your trust. That’s why one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make as a parent is who you leave your children with.

That’s also why we make it possible for babysitting and other online companies to proactively scan their applicants for the possession of known Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) through use of our unique data.

Learn more about the work we’re doing and how you can get involved. Read more posts like this, get parenting resources and conversation starters for kids on our education page.

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