Our reviewers evaluate products and services based on unbiased research. Top Consumer Reviews may earn money when you click on a link. Learn more about our process.

How to Evaluate a Babysitter's Performance

Thursday, October 21st

How to Evaluate a Babysitter's Performance

Alright. Somehow, amidst all the searching, all the interviews, all the time spent looking and thinking about who to hire to care for your child, you've finally found the one. The seemingly perfect babysitter, for your more-hectic-than-perfect family. But is the search really over? Yes, you now have someone you're about 98% certain can handle things. But what about that 2%? After all, hiring a babysitter is just like hiring any other employee for a job; and that employee is always at risk for losing their job, should they fail to perform their responsibilities adequately. So how do you know if your babysitter is hitting, or missing, the mark? How do you evaluate the performance of your caregiver? What's the difference between demanding and having expectations? There are generally seven areas to test whether yours is an effective babysitter. Understanding what these areas are and what your specific expectations for them are, will be useful tools in evaluating the performance of your babysitter.

Primarily, you'll need to be able to evaluate how responsible your babysitter is. Punctuality is an important quality that should not be overlooked. You'll know the caregiver respects you and your time, by showing up on time. Likewise, you should respect your sitter's time by setting clear expectations of the length of time required for them to babysit, and make efforts to not deviate from it. Another serious factor, is how well your caregiver follows directions. Do they pay attention to the rules important in your household? Or are the rules disregarded while you are away? Along with that, follow through in your babysitter's actions compared to their words, is extremely vital. If your caregiver tells you they plan to accomplish something- especially related to their employment- then they should regard you highly enough, to follow through with that. And of course, you'll want to make note of how many accidents happen while you're away, or how clean the place is upon your return. Some accidents are normal and bound to happen, and your babysitter shouldn't be penalized every time some little mess happens. However, if accidents become a recurring theme while you're gone, or if the state of cleanliness in the house once you return is going to be the next day's project- then that should raise some concerns.

The next characteristics you should use to evaluate your caregiver's performance, depend on their social skills both with you and the child. Gage the sitter's interactions with you; with the child. Are they respectful towards you? Do they have a relationship with and entertain your kid? You're not paying a babysitter to watch your child watch television all day- so pay attention to the interactions between them. Does the babysitter make efforts to infuse fun and creativity into their time spent together? Equally important is the communication between you and the caregiver. Are they a clear communicator? Do they ever sound vague or ambiguous about reports of the evening while you were gone? If so, these are certainly red flags. Finally, listen to what your child reports about the babysitter. While you are the employer, not them, trust their instincts and value their input. How your child feels and acts around the babysitter, will speak loads to the character of your caregiver.

In conclusion, evaluating the performance of your babysitter is a simple way to measure the quality of care your sitter is providing. Looking at aspects of your caregiver's responsibility and social skills, can help be effective tools in measuring that quality. In the end, however, it will ultimately depend on your family and the needs you all require; so keep that in mind while you're evaluating your babysitter.

The Best Babysitter Agencies Compare Babysitter Agencies Compare Babysitter Agency Reviews What are the best Babysitter Agencies Best Babysitter Agency Reviews

Babysitter Agency FAQ

A babysitter takes care of your child (or children) while you're away - at work, on a date, at the gym, or for any other reason. Babysitters can be male or female, old or young, but some states have statutes regulating the age that minors can be left in charge (usually anywhere from age 12-16).
A mother's helper is usually there to help with the kids while at least one parent is still present: maybe taking care of lunch and activities while Mom works from home, or doing the laundry while Dad gets the kids to bed. Nannies work on a more fixed schedule, either part-time or full-time, and there are usually employment/tax considerations to keep in mind. Au pairs come from other countries and live with the family, watching the kids and tending to other household responsibilities in exchange for room/board and sometimes a monetary stipend. Compared with those three situations, babysitting is much less formal and more of an as-needed childcare arrangement.
Word of mouth is the most common way to vet a new babysitter. It's great to have someone that's already taken good care of your friends' children with no problems! The downside is that these sitters will be in high demand, and you might not be able to get them on your desired schedule. You can also ask for references or run a background check, if you're considering a babysitter that isn't known to you personally.
When you're new to an area or don't have any available sitter referrals from friends, you could put the word out in local groups on social media. Unfortunately, that could attract less-than-reputable individuals! Instead, consider using a babysitter referral service: these platforms allow prospective sitters to create a profile, complete with client reviews and information about their background and any certifications they have (like infant/child CPR). Some referral services make it possible to get a background check, though the sitter may have to opt in before you can access the results.
You can expect to pay a membership fee in the neighborhood of $20/month to access most babysitter referral services. That gives you unlimited access to the database and to making connections with the sitters you find. Some platforms give you limited free access to get started, or a trial period to see if there are enough potential babysitters in your area to make it worth the membership fees.
That varies widely by geographic location, the number of children you have (and their ages), the expertise level of the sitter, and what you expect your sitter to provide. You can ask other parents in your area what the going rate is: underpay your sitter and they're not likely to come back! In the past, the reported average hourly rate for babysitters in the US ranged from $15-$20, but in less urban areas it tended to be closer to $10/hour.
Yes. You can make whatever arrangements you like with your babysitter. It's not uncommon to ask a sitter to fix a light meal, take care of the dishes after the kids are in bed, or tidy up the playroom while the children are watching a movie. Just remember that their primary focus should be on keeping your little ones safe, not housekeeping.
The Best Reviews of Babysitter Agencies