Have Children with Special Needs? Here are 5 Questions to Ask a Prospective Sitter

Leaving your kids with a sitter can be complicated, and that’s even more the case if you have children with special needs. As the parent of a special needs child, you know you can’t just pull someone in off the street to be your sitter. It doesn’t matter how badly you need help. It just won’t work. And worse, it can be upsetting to your child, who needs a routine he can count on.

Regardless of your child’s disability, you know him better than anyone. You know exactly what to do when complications arise. In other words, you need a sitter who can fill your big shoes while you’re away. You’ve got enough to worry about, so don’t accept anything less. You need the peace of mind that your child is getting the best care possible.

Keep in mind that sitters qualified to care for children with special needs tend to cost a bit more. Ask lots of questions before hiring. That way, you can be fully convinced that you’re getting the best value and that your child will be in good hands. Here, we’ve outlined five important questions to ask a potential sitter or caregiver.

Five Important Questions to Ask a Potential Sitter:

  1. What are your professional qualifications? First and foremost, it’s important to get some idea of a caregiver’s professional background. For example, a nurse with a background in geriatric care may not be the best match for a child with oppositional defiance disorder. You want a caregiver who is qualified and certified to care for children with special needs.
  2. What are your personal qualifications? Professional qualifications are undoubtedly important, but you can’t overlook the personal aspect when interviewing a potential caregiver for your children with special needs. How does the caregiver handle challenges? Is he or she caring and patient? The caregiver’s unique qualifications and specific areas of expertise will give you peace of mind that you’re making the best choice for your child.
  3. What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced while providing for children with special needs, and how did you overcome it? This is a spin-off of one of the most popular questions in a job interview, and for good reason. Life’s not all cupcakes and rainbows, so you’ll want to know how your potential caregiver will react when the going gets tough. Asking a targeted question like this allows you to get a glimpse into the depth of experience the caregiver has, but also how he or she troubleshoots issues.
  4. What would you do if there was an emergency? As a parent, you understand the importance of handling emergencies, especially when your kids are involved. Don’t be afraid to ask your potential caregiver tough questions about how he or she would handle an emergency. You may want to know about things like CPR certification and how you would be contacted. How has the caregiver has dealt with emergencies in the past?
  5. What is the scope of the care you will provide? This may not apply if you only need a caregiver for an hour or two at a time, but suppose you find yourself in a situation where you need a sitter for a full day? Or maybe your regular caregiver comes down with the flu and you need a stand-in sitter every day for a week? In this case, you’ll want to know the special qualifications of your potential caregiver. Do they provide things like restroom or bathing assistance, stoma care, and special feeding assistance? These factors can be critical in determining the best caregiver match for your children with special needs.


Do you have a child with special needs? How do you handle childcare? What options work best for you? Did you like this post?  Sign up below to receive our monthly newsletter that includes a digest of our recent posts, and check out our past posts at


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