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A Positive Babysitter?

You want your babysitter to be a positive caregiver for your children.  What behaviors should you be looking for when interviewing babysitter candidates? 

Does your babysitter:

  • smile easily?
  • laugh easily?
  • exhibit good eye contact?
  • speak using a variety of pitches or tones?
  • discuss the silver lining in each cloud? (This information can be obtained by asking interview questions about difficulties in prior babysitting jobs and listening for the positives and negatives in her answers.)
  • discuss the future with anticipation and excitement? (This information can be obtained by asking her what her career goals are, where she sees herself in five years, etc.)
  • give praise or affirmations to others often? (This information can be obtained by observing how she behaves around a third party. For example, if you hold your first interview in a public location such as a café, does she thank the serve for refreshing her water glass or clearing her plate from the table?)
  • employ friendly, open body language and facial expressions?
  • exhibit empathy, compassion, and patience instead of criticism? (This information can be obtained by asking interview questions about prior babysitting jobs in which she had responsibility for difficult or unruly kids.)
  • forgive quickly and easily? (This information can be obtained by asking interview questions about prior babysitting jobs when she had misunderstandings with parents or had to accommodate parents on short notice.)
  • seek to understand perspectives that differ from her own? (This information can be obtained by asking interview questions about prior babysitting jobs in which she and the parents have had differences in perspectives.)
  • promptly and correctly identify problems and their solutions? (This information can be obtained by asking interview questions about prior babysitting jobs in which she identified a problem and solved it.)
  • identify problems as learning or growth opportunities? (Using the questions from the bullet point immediately above, listen to how she is framing her responses. Is she focusing on the problem or the lesson learned?)
  • exhibit a love of learning, socialization, and health/wellness? (This information can be obtained by asking interview questions on these topics.)
  • exhibit self-awareness and self-acceptance? (This information can be obtained by asking her what her strengths and weaknesses are. Once the interview is complete and you have developed a baseline understanding of her, do you agree with her self-assessment?)
  • model behaviors associated with establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries? (This information can be obtained by asking interview questions about what she thinks healthy boundaries are and how she manifests them in her life and teaches them to the kids in her care.)
  • adapt easily to change? (This information can be obtained by asking interview questions about prior babysitting jobs in which she has had to adapt to change.)
  • remain calm when circumstances are hectic? (This information can be obtained by asking interview questions about prior babysitting jobs in which she has dealt with multi-tasking, tight timelines, or other hectic scenarios.)
  • embrace feedback with an open mind? (This information can be obtained at the end of an interview by providing her with immediate feedback about some of the answers she gave during the interview. What answers did you like and why? Then choose one or two answers that you may be concerned about or need to give a little more thought to . . . and explain your concern or hesitation. Observe her reaction.)
  • lead by example? (Observe her behaviors in general. If your kids behaved that way, would you think that was a good thing?)

Your children learn by example.  When you model positive behaviors and choose a baby sitter that does the same, you set the stage for your children’s own positive behaviors.

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