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My wife and I rely heavily on her grandparents for baby-sitting when we need. Having only them to rely on is difficult when there are schedule conflicts. I want to diversify who we can reach out to to help with our children but obviously not at the expense of our children's safety and well-being.

Question: What tools and methods can we use to make fair and reliable assessments of babysitter candidates?

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    Are you looking to try and hire someone like a nanny or a neighborhood kid? Or are you trying to assess friends or other family to be babysitters? – Becuzz Oct 24 '18 at 14:37
  • You might want to take a look at he memes online about hiring babysitter for first child, second child, etc. They are funny because they hit the truth nerve. – pojo-guy Oct 25 '18 at 17:40
  • You may want to outsource the sitting just for the sake of your relationship with your inlaws, if they feel they are being taken advantage of, things may sour – Neil Meyer Oct 26 '18 at 14:42
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Think of this as a job interview, and you are the employer, and are looking at potential candidates. If someone passes your initial phone screen, bring them in for a full interview.

You should come up with a list of expectations for this job, and interview candidates in your home when your children are around to get a feel how they are going to work with your children.

Look at things like:

  • How do they interact with your children, are they excited or is this just "a job".
  • Can they change diapers/make bottles/make meals/etc.
  • Do you ever see them take out their phone during this time when things settle down..

You can get a pretty good impression of someone in a short amount of time.

If and when you do hire someone, I would definitely suggest cameras, and let them know they are in use as that will bring about some sort of accountability on their part.

Good Luck!

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    I'm just wondering... What if a candidate is really good at childcare, but it IS "just a job" for them? Does it make them unsuitable? May be making the child feel comfortable around them is just a part of their job description, so they do it well. – learner101 Oct 25 '18 at 6:08
  • @learner101 For me, those who care for my children have better look at it as more than "a job and a paycheck". They need a much deeper sense of duty, honor and respect associated with the position. And yes, this severely limits my candidate pool, and that is ok with me. – raterus Oct 25 '18 at 13:30
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    My concern is, how do you know if they are telling the truth? You also need references. – anongoodnurse Oct 25 '18 at 13:52
  • It would hardly be a dealbreaker for me if the sitter fiddles on his phone while the children are sleeping, there seems to a certain amount of downtime as a sitter. – Neil Meyer Oct 26 '18 at 14:40
  • When my daughter was an infant, my wife went through all of this angst. In the end, my daughter chose because it wasn't a matter of skill or experience. The only sitter she would be happy with for a long time was the teenaged son of a friend of ours (the mother was, incidentally, one of the qualified candidates). Eventually pragmatism won over paranoia, since the "qualified" sitters weren't able to cope with my daughter's crankiness at them. – pojo-guy Oct 27 '18 at 18:12

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