As the parent of a young child, you're probably ready to spend an evening free of stepping on toys, chasing around an active toddler or dealing with temper tantrums. However, before you make those dinner reservations for your well-deserved date night, you should make sure you have a babysitter lined up first. Some people are able to find great babysitters through word of mouth, while others hire babysitters through agencies. Whichever path you choose, you should always interview potential babysitters in person before coming to any kind of business agreement. Asking the right questions will give you peace of mind in knowing that your kids will be taken care of.

Is there anyone you would recommend as a reliable babysitter?

The best place to begin your hunt for a quality babysitter is by asking other parents, including friends and family, for recommendations. Word of mouth is a great way to find someone you can trust!

Are you trained in infant and child CPR and first aid?

Personality and references go a long way in choosing a babysitter, but don't forget to ask the basics. If the person will be babysitting an infant or small child, make sure they are prepared for an emergency and are up to date on CPR and first aid knowledge. 

What discipline methods do you use?

As much as parents may wish otherwise, children aren't always the little angels we'd like them to be. Always know ahead of time what discipline methods the babysitter uses, to make sure they line up with your own!

Do you have any time constraints?

Knowing ahead of time whether the sitter needs to be home at a certain time or has other responsibilities to attend to can help save a lot of frustration for everyone later on. Choose a babysitter whose availability works well with your needs, and make sure to leave a little bit of wiggle room in case of an emergency. 

How much experience do you have?

Always ask applicants how long they've been babysitting and what ages they've babysat, to give you a better idea of their experience level. This is especially important for infants and young children, since they demand more time, attention and care than older children might need. 

Do you have any references?

Never hire a babysitter that doesn't have at least a few glowing references from previous employers or other parents. Ask for the names and phone numbers of all references, and actually call to follow up with them. This will help you learn more about the babysitter and put your mind at ease knowing the sitter has successfully worked with other families. 

Is there anything you need to make the babysitting experience go more smoothly?

If your child is old enough, ask what might make him more comfortable with a babysitter, especially if he's not used to being left with a stranger. Oftentimes, something as simple as putting his favorite movie on or promising to call in an hour to check in with him will be enough to put your little one at ease, saving you and the sitter a lot of frustration. 

Do you prefer to babysit at our home or your own?

Some sitters are happy to come to you, while others prefer to babysit in their own home. Ask prospective babysitters which they prefer, and narrow your list down based on your own needs and preferences.