Ask a D.C. Expert: How to Find the Perfect Babysitter

July 31, 2015 8:00 AM

Babysitter (credit: STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)

All of your date night plans are in place. Concert tickets are in hand, you have reservations at the perfect restaurant, there is just one thing missing — the babysitter! Finding a babysitter that is both available and trustworthy can be almost impossible. Lind Quinones of D.C.’s Seeking Babysitters has a list of tips to help you find a reliable sitter for your next night out.
Linda Quinones
SeekingSitters of Montgomery County & Washington D.C.
(301) 963-9349

As a mom to four children, Linda Quinones knows how important childcare is for parents. After being a stay at home mom for her own kids, Linda decided to branch out into the babysitting business after her children were up and out. She started SeekingSitters of Montgomery County Maryland and Washington D.C. to help parents find safe and reliable sitters for their kids. The referral service finds sitters that are at least 18 years of age, have professional sitting experience, have CPR & First Aid certification and have undergone an intense background check.

Ask For Referrals

Your inner circle can be a great resource when it comes to finding a babysitter. Ask friends, relatives, co-workers and neighbors who they use or if they know someone who has babysat in the past. Referrals are a good start, but you can’t stop there. You must do your own research on the potential sitter to make sure they are a match for your family and will be a safe choice.   

Conduct In-person Interviews

You can start by doing a phone interview and if things go well on the call, schedule an in-person interview. I would recommend meeting at a neutral location like a coffee or sandwich shop, this way if they don’t make a good impression you don’t have to worry that they know where you live. When you meet with the sitter, consider how they prepared for the interview. How are they dressed? Are they taking this seriously or did they just roll out of bed? Did they arrive on time? If they aren’t punctual for the interview, they may not show up on time for the job. 

Ask The Right Questions In The Interview

This is your opportunity to find out if the potential sitter really loves children or is just looking for a paycheck. Ask them to describe their experience with children around the same age as yours. Do they know how to handle emergencies? How will they engage the children? Ask them what their favorite activities are to do with children and how they would a handle a child who is upset or angry.  

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Check References And Certifications 

Even if the sitter was referred to you by a friend doesn’t mean you can skip checking references and work experience. Make sure they have a current CPR and First Aid certification and call the references provided by the sitter. The Internet and social media can also be a great resource. A quick check on Facebook can tell you a lot about the sitter’s everyday life and character. If the sitter already has a full-time job, ask them for contact information of current and prior employers.

Conduct Background Checks

Find a reputable nationwide background screening company that searches for the following: personal character, address history, criminal and civil records. Make sure an actual person, preferably a licensed private investigator, is verifying the information. Don’t rely on automated online services. Many times online background checks will miss items if a live person is not double-checking the data. Even a misspelled name can bring back inaccurate or incomplete information. Your children are valuable and definitely worth the cost of an in-depth screening. 

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Christa Emmer is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in broadcast journalism. She has experience as a news writer, editor and producer in television news. Follow her on twitter @ChristaEmmer. Her work can be found at