I, Lauren Schultz, owner of All In One Childcare, personally hopes that you enjoy this page containing all the information and frequently asked questions before hiring a babysitter or Au Pair. 

Please feel free to contact me on 083-6252260 or email at info@allinonechildcare.co.za should you have any further queries.

Thank you!

What are The Differences between an Au Pair and a Babysitter?

The world of child care often uses a variety of terms to describe exactly what type of service that the child care provider offers. 

Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast definition of the term ' babysitter '. A ' babysitter ' can refer to someone who comes to your home to watch your children while you go out to dinner and the movies, for example. In this case, we usually think of a teenager who is trying to earn some extra cash. Other people refer to a ' babysitter ' as a person who comes into their own home to care for their children on a regular basis. However, some people use the term ' babysitter ' to refer to a day-care environment that takes place in someone else's home. Babysitter is a general term that people use to describe a child care provider of almost any sort. 

 In contrast, the term Au Pair refers to a specific type of child care provider. An au pair typically works only for you, whereas a babysitter or a day-care may also care for other children beyond yours. Typically an au pair will live in your home, but this is not always the case. An au pair lives with the family, and often must take some sort of educational coursework while she is working. Au pairs are typically paid a small salary, travel expenses, as well as room and board. 

 There are some organizations that provide training and certification for all sorts of child care. Teens may take a babysitting course from the Red Cross, although no formal education is required to baby-sit. Day-Care providers, whether in a day-care facility or in their own home; must typically be licensed by the governing authority. There are au pair organizations that train and also aid families in finding nannies. The majority of au pairs, however, dont have this sort of formal preparation. 

 The type of childcare you require, your budget, and the local market will determine what kind of child care you are able to choose.

What do you want? 

Decisions, decisions What type of child carer is right for you? Before beginning your search you need to write yourself a small job description, or at least have one in mind. Ask yourself a few questions: 

Do I want someone to come to my home or do I prefer to leave my child in another persons home? 

This is the difference between a babysitter, au pair or day-care Do I need help full time or just afternoons? 

Do I need someone to live with my family or do I love my privacy too much! 

A live in carer will be an au pair. Au pairs who live in offer more flexibility than live out. They also tend to be younger living with a family, no matter how lovely yours may be is not easy. Maybe three days a week works. Be realistic. If you want a proper qualified Chilton au pair with 10 years experience, you cant expect her to work the odd afternoon and occasionally full time. An au pair like this will seek the top salary with the best conditions. If you are looking for casual childcare a Grandma type or student will provide the most flexibility. 

Do I want to raise my child bilingual? 

A bilingual au pair or babysitter will cost you no more and will give your children an extra edge in life by teaching a second language. Learning two languages at a young age is the perfect time! 

What do I want my child carer to do? 

Maybe you want someone to focus their day just on educating and playing with your child. Maybe you would like a nanny/housekeeper who cleans, cooks, irons, dusts and has time left over for your baby.

What you should look for in babysitter 

You're going to a much-anticipated social event and have successfully secured a babysitter. So far, so good; But does the sitter have what it takes to ensure your outing is worry-free for you and safe and happy for your kids? Childcare experts say trust and crisis management are the two most important skills the caregiver should possess. What else? 

Finding a Babysitter You Trust 

Accidental injuries are the leading cause of death in children over age 1. Five children under 5 die every day from accidents in the home. Because teenagers are a large source of today's baby sitters, it is important that they learn or know proper safety skills in case of emergency. 

Where to look and what to ask to find a Babysitter 

The best place to start looking is within the community you know: your church, your friends and us, All In One Childcare! Once you have some names, it's important to check references. These may come from friends, youth group leaders or from other families who have used the sitter. When you contact families the sitter has worked for, ask how many kids they have. Also, find out if they ever had any problems with the way the sitter interacted with their kids. Of course, references are one of the first things you check, but babysitters considered the best will have ample references from happy parents! The best are looking to have your name added to their "satisfied customer" list and will make sure your kids clamour to have her come back again...and again! Be sure to ask for references and follow-up with calls to provide that extra peace of mind and security. And, then make sure you call in plenty of time, before she gets a job elsewhere! But dont worry; we at All In One Childcare do most of this for you before we even allow a sitter to work for us. If however, you would like to contact references as well, we will be more than happy to give them to you. 

Observe Babysitter Interaction with Your Kids 

The next step is to invite the sitter over to ask questions and see how he or she interacts with your children. This type of interaction shows how much your prospective sitter likes kids and if he or she is open to your methods of parenting. Be sure to ask about the sitter's training in first aid, CPR or any other training. Discuss what he or she may do in certain emergency situations. A competent sitter will be able to answer these questions and prove he or she can handle the job.

 Plan Early Arrival for Babysitter 

After you hire a sitter, have him or her come to your home 15 minutes before you leave to go over all emergency issues. "More than half the parents who leave their children with baby sitters under 16 don't leave emergency telephone numbers," says Dr. Keener. 

Discuss House Rules and Leave Contact Information 

Make sure you discuss your rules with the sitter and always leave a number where you can be reached at all times. In the event of a life-threatening emergency, a medical professional is permitted to treat your child, experts say. But if it is a non-life-threatening injury, they will need parental consent to treat. 

Call Home to Check on Kids and Babysitter (At Least First Time) 

During the evening, be sure to call home, especially if you are not easily accessible. Call home at a time when you may be able to head off a potential problem, such as a half-hour after bedtime when the kids may be refusing to go to sleep. You could suggest some ways for the sitter to convince them it is bedtime. All In One Childcare sitters will phone/sms you as the children are put to sleep and if they are caring for a baby, they will call you to fill you in before you call them. 

Get a Debriefing after You Return Home 

Consider debriefing the sitter when you get home. Ask specifically about areas where you think the sitter may have had trouble. Often sitters think your child's behaviour is a reflection on them and may be reluctant to admit any behavioural problems unless asked. Choosing a sitter with training in handling emergencies and checking the sitter's references will make you more comfortable and your children safer.

 Is He or She Qualified to Be a Babysitter? 

Check your sitter's qualifications against these characteristics recommended by the Government; First aid/CPR training; Maturity; Good judgment; Common sense; Friendly personality; Responsible; Non-smoker; Healthy; Neat; and Organized. But, beyond any qualifications, go with your heart. Do you trust this person with your child? At All In One Childcare, we would never send a sitter to your house if we were not 100% comfortable leaving them to look after your precious ones. 

Know What You Want in a Babysitter 

Ideally, a baby-sitter should bring along her babysitting skills acquired from her previous employments. This is a basic requirement for parents like you who want their children in the hands of a capable and responsible babysitter. Yet, there may be nagging questions about the traits of a great babysitter such as: 

  • AGE A teen-aged or middle-aged babysitter may not be suitable for you. Do you want college-aged or a babysitter in her late thirties or early forties?
  • GENDER do you prefer a female or a male babysitter?
  • WILLINGNESS TO RUN ERRANDS do you want a baby-sitter to do some occasional errands?
  • APPEARANCE should the baby-sitter be free from tattoos, nose rings, and pierced lips?
  • LANGUAGE are you particular about her/his English/Afrikaans?
  • ADDITIONAL TASKS is he/she willing to take on cooking for the children?
  • PHYSICAL HEALTH hearing and eyesight should be near perfect and she/he must be able to cope with the daily stress.
  • CRIMINAL RECORD would you still approve of her if she had a traffic violation? 

The requirements can be more stringent and the list much longer. But before you take on that stringent list of must-bes and must-haves, be honest. These are traits that you as parent cannot fill up perfectly, so be realistic. At All In One Childcare we try our best in finding sitters that are as close to perfect as possible.

Signs you have a great babysitter 

It's hard enough to find a babysitter, so how do you know when you've located the "best?" Here are signs that the babysitter you've hired to watch your kids is a true jewel!

Exhibits an Engaging, Positive Personality 

Does your babysitter effuse warmth and friendliness? Is she positive, accepting and seem eager to have the opportunity to care for your precious tots? An engaging personality with you is a good clue that she'll be vivacious and fun with your youngsters as well. 

Asks Relevant Questions and Seems Anxious to Find Ways to Bond With, Please Kids 

Your sitter gets an initial nod of approval if he/she asks a lot of questions beforehand or during the first couple of sessions. Understanding kids' likes/dislikes, special preparation of food (even to whether they like their nuggets microwaved or baked) or sandwiches cute diagonally or straight, are good signs that the sitter truly wants to do a good job! 

Delivers On Time Arrivals, Every Time! 

Babysitting should be approached like a real job. That means an on-time arrival, so that parents can leave on time as well! While unavoidable emergencies can occur, oversleeping, running out of petrol, not having transportation, or worst, "something came up," are not acceptable reasons for not meeting their part of the bargain. A great babysitter arrives as scheduled and ready for action! All In One Childcare sitters who do not arrive on time without a valid excuse will never be used by the company again. 

Has Completed First-Aid/CPR Training and Other Classes 

Many babysitters prepare to make themselves marketable to parents by willingly taking CPR/First-Aid and even early education classes to boot. If your sitter has initiated taking training, it's a good sign she will be passionate about doing a good job when hired! Although, to many sitters, looking after children comes naturally and some of the best dont have the training, but their experience makes up for the fact. 

Is Dressed Appropriately for Fun Time

A sitter who arrives dressed ready for a hot date later is not going to want to play ball, get dirty or sweaty, or have much fun with your kids. The best babysitters arrive "not to impress" but to have kid-friendly fun with your youngsters. They should be dressed in comfortable and conservative clothes, preferably in items that won't be ruined with a little grime, food or action! Sandals, flip-flops or takkies means she ready for play action! 

Provides Parents with Feedback 

Find a babysitter who will happily tell you what she did with your youngsters while you were gone (and beaming tots interrupting to add details is even better). Beware of the babysitter who seems to only want to talk with you when kids aren't in earshot; that could signal that she's going to provide a different version than what they might indicate. Some babysitters even leave parents with a "what we did" recap with fun summaries, poignant moments, and even who ate what. What a keeper!

Interview Tips for Parents

If this is your first time hiring an au pair or babysitter I imagine you are terrified by the prospect. Maybe you have a 6 month old baby who you could not bear to pass on to your mother let alone a stranger! Well, relax a little. When you find your perfect au pair or babysitter you will wonder what all the fuss was about. In home childcare is a truly a wonderful thing. As you watch your child laugh as a friendly au pair tickles his tummy or reads her a book, you will feel secure as you walk out the door for work or play. 

But first you need to find your perfect Marry Poppins, or Mrs Doubtfire, whatever your needs may be  

So now you think you know what you are looking for, you have made a few selections from the list of local child carers, youre ready to visit some childminders in your area. Now what? 

  • First rule; dont try to meet too many child carers. You will only get confused and end up loosing your chance to hire the one you really really liked because youve spent three weeks interviewing 100 candidates and now that perfect one has found another job!
  • Make a selection of between 3 to 6 profiles you really like. Then contact them to arrange interviews quickly. Good candidates find jobs fast. If you can only find 2 candidates you really like the look of, this is fine, one will be great and the other a comparison to let you know you made the right choice. 
  • Have a chat to each candidate on the telephone then, if you feel confident, arrange to meet them. You can meet au pairs and babysitters in your own home or a coffee shop if this makes you feel more comfortable. If you are looking for a local day care you should visit at their residence and inspect the area where they care for children. Ask them to bring along photo ID. If they will be driving your child make sure you inspect their car and ask to see their drivers licence. 

What candidates should bring to interviews and interview etiquette  

  • Always ask to see TWO forms of I.D (one must be photo ID) 
  • Ask to see written references. If this is not possible ask for landline telephone number for a minimum of two verbal references. These do not both need to be childcare references. 
  • A character reference from a respected member of the community is fine, i.e. a doctor or University Professor. The candidate should have an up to date CV. 
  • ORIGINAL copies of any first aid or other relevant certificates. 



Arrange a time to meet the candidate when you will be able to concentrate fully. It is important for her/him to meet your children, but having them present for the entire interview may be distracting. 

Go through the candidates CV carefully. Look for areas you wish to question her / him on:  

  • What activities did you plan with the children in your previous position? 
  • Why did the contract end? 
  • Do you still keep in contact with previous employers? 
  • What was the most challenging aspect of the position? 
  • What was the most enjoyable aspect?  

Question the candidate about her qualifications, remember babysitters and au pairs may still be very good candidates even if they do not have qualifications. Experience is always the most important attribute. 

If a chosen candidate is from abroad, check he/she has a valid visa to work and ask how long he / she intends to stay. This may affect your choice as finding another nanny in 6 months is not ideal for worried parents! 

The interview 

An interview should last 40 minutes to one hour. Plan the interview so the children can be introduced at the end. If you are interviewing in your home and your child is young he or she may take an afternoon nap - you could plan the interview to coincide with your baby waking up. 

Take your time when meeting a prospective candidate this will help you both to feel at ease. Begin by talking about your children and the position: 

  • Confirm the start date and hours of work or in the case of a babysitter how often you may likely need a sitter. 
  • In the case of a nanny discuss household duties, i.e. cooking, cleaning. 
  • Run through each child's routine and which aspects the carer will be responsible for, i.e. playgroups, swimming lessons, homework. If the children have any allergies, medical conditions or special dietary requirements discuss these.
  • If the childcare is in your home, discuss the rules of the house. 
  • If you are hiring an au pair it is normal for him/her to arrange playgroups with other au pairs and meetings at the park. 
  • Let the au pair know your policy on this, i.e. is he/she allowed to invite other au pairs and their children to your house? 
  • Confirm salary/hourly rate and any other expenses which will be paid e.g. petrol or outings with the children

Now proceed with your prepared questions. 

A good candidate will be proud of the career choice and working with children - look for passion in their answers, but remember they may be nervous!  

  • Have you babysat previously? If so, please describe your experience. 
  • Have you received any specialized training for child care (such as first aid/CPR, attended a babysitter course, or taken related school courses)? 
  • Do you regularly work/volunteer with kids? If so, please describe (such as helping out with young dance classes, serving as a sports assistant, etc.). 
  • Are your immunizations current? 
  • Do you have any health restrictions that could affect your ability to babysit? (Yes, it really is okay to ask this question. For example, if you have three cats and the candidate is terribly allergic to cats, then this could be a problem. Or, if you have someone who can't access stairs but the kids' beds are on the 2nd floor, you need to know that before making a hiring decision. 
  • Is there an adult or family member nearby in the event of an emergency whom you could contact? (This question is relevant if you are considering using a teenager or person who does not drive.) 
  • What activities will you plan with my kid(s) when I am gone? (Ask this question to determine whether the potential babysitter plans any games, crafts or child-friendly activities in your absence.) 
  • What do you enjoy about caring for children? 
  • What qualities do you think are important to have as carer of children and why? 
  • What do you feel is the most difficult aspect of childcare? 
  • In the case of an au pair or day care: What are you philosophies on discipline? Give the nanny specific examples and ask him / her to comment e.g. What would you do if Peter refused to take a bath? 
  • Ask the candidate about herself, what hobbies s/he has. 
  • Ask the candidate to describe herself. Does s/he believe s/he is punctual, reliable? 
  • What activities do you enjoy doing with children? In the case of a nanny or childminder: How would you plan a typical day? 
  • Ask the candidate if s/he has experience in specific skills you require of him/her, i.e. perhaps you have a toddler soon to be going through potty training, ask the candidate if s/he has experience in this field. 
  • In the case of an au pair or day care: What are the important areas of development for each child during the following year? 
  • What do you think is important in my childs/childrens diet? How would you plan their meals and what would you cook? 
  • How would you react in an emergency, i.e. what would you do if Peter was choking? Have you ever been in an emergency with a child?


Post interview 

If you loved the candidate that you just met, tell them! Dont loose your opportunity to employ your Mary Poppins. Let the candidate know that you would love them to come back for a trial if they are interested - no pressure of course. The candidate may have other employment offers s/he is considering and you could miss the opportunity to have him/her as your child's carer. Dont hang about, she may fly off.

A Little Bit About All in One Child Care

Why do we do what we do? 

  • Because we have a heart and passion for kids and we love it.
  • We enjoy working with kids.
  • It brings us great joy.
  • Kids have a unique way of viewing life.
  • No two days are ever the same. (Variety)
  • It is amazing when youve spent months teaching them something and they finally get it. (Light bulb turns on)
  • Love watching them interact and discover their world.
  • We have a passion for the next generation.  
  • We get to play all day (Bonus)
  • It is important to be the right kind of role model for kids, to love them and teach them respect, compassion, self-worth and patience.

We believe:   

  • Children are the future and we need to equip them to be the best they can be.
  • Children need love
  • They need to respect their elders and them selves.
  • They need to know their self-worth and who they are and how they fit in the family.  
  • Children need to learn responsibility, that their actions have consequences.
  • Children need boundaries, it makes them feel safe and they grow better in a structured environment
  • Children also need the freedom to be themselves and yet have the respect to listen to correction and advice.
  • Children need quality time with the ones that care about them more then quantity. 

Thank you for reading this information! 

We look forward to working with you in the future and hope that this information has helped

with any worries you may have had. 

Please remember we love your feedback. 

If you would like to get hold of All In One Childcare, please contact Lauren on 021-9793519 or 

if Lauren is out of the office call her cellphone on 083-6252260. 

Alternatively you can email any queries to info@allinonechildcare.co.za