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Parent writing a babysitter reference

How to Write a Babysitting Reference Letter

(Template & Tips)

When your babysitter is ready to pursue another job, a great reference letter may be the difference between them getting hired or not. Help maximize their chances of success by following this advice.

How do you write a babysitting reference? At a minimum, your babysitting reference letter should have a greeting, introduction, details and examples, and a summary or conclusion. Be sure to include your contact details in case the person reading it has any additional questions or concerns.

In this article, I'll explain why you may want to write a babysitting reference for someone who has babysat for you. I'll let you know what kinds of things you should include in the letter and how to format it. Then I'll provide you with several example templates that you can use as inspiration.

Why Write A Babysitting Reference Letter?

If you've found yourself tasked with writing a reference letter for your babysitter, it's probably because your sitter has asked you to. Although you may simply volunteer to write a letter for them without being asked too if you'd like.

A positive babysitting letter can give a great extra boost to their resume or CV. As their former employer, giving a glowing review of them provides social proof and a real-world example of them excelling in their role as a babysitter.

While there's nothing saying that you have to write a reference letter for your babysitter, it's certainly a nice thing to do. If they're a long-term sitter who has worked for your family for several years and watched your kids grow up, it's definitely nice to help them out in the next stage of their life. When going from a part-time babysitting job to their first full-time job, your reference letter could make all the difference.

Some sitters may want a reference letter just to use for other babysitting jobs as well. Your reference letter in this case doesn't need to be as in-depth, but it's still nice to help them to get some extra business for themselves. Particularly with how quickly you can fill in one of the templates I'll include below.

Looking for a new babysitter yourself? See my article Babysitter Reference Checking (Ask the RIGHT Questions!) to learn the right process.

Get The Information You'll Need Up Front

It's best not to try and guess when it comes to writing a reference letter. So before you even start, ask your babysitter for as much information as they can give you.

Having a copy of their resume or CV is a good idea. Even if you've known them for a while, it might prompt you to remember things that you had forgotten like important certifications and other details. There may also be some new qualification they have that is worth highlighting.

If you are writing your recommendation for a specific job opportunity, ask to see a copy of the job posting as well. That way you can tailor your letter to include all of the skills and qualifications that the job application is looking for, to really make them stand out compared to other candidates.

If they're applying for a college or university program, similarly ask for a copy of the program or more details about it. It will give you more prompts as to what you should write in your letter.

If the letter is for a specific person, ask them for the name so you can address it to them specifically.

Lastly, it's good to get a deadline of when they need the letter by. Sometimes babysitters may give you a couple of weeks of notice. Other times they might expect a finished letter in a day or two. So make sure you're both on the same page.

What To Include In Your Babysitting Reference

Your babysitting reference should follow this basic template. There is plenty of wiggle room for creativity and customization. But if you stick to this outline, it's hard to go wrong.

A Greeting or Salutation

If you know the specific name of the person you're writing a recommendation letter to, always opt to use that. Start your letter with "Dear Mr/Ms. Name."

However, sometimes babysitters might just want you to produce a generic letter that they can show to multiple different potential employers in the future. In this case, you can use something more generic like "Dear Prospective Employer of {Babysitter Name}."

You can also use completely generic salutations like "To Whom It May Concern" or skip a salutation altogether. But this should be your last resort if no other information is available, as it can come off seeming cold and uncaring.

Paragraph 1 – Introduction

An introduction paragraph explains how you know the person, and how long you've known them for. (This could be as short as one sentence.) It's also good to explain the purpose of the letter and why you're contacting them.

Try to give specific dates and numbers. How many days or hours per week did this person babysit for you? For how many months or years have you known them?

Paragraph 2 – Details

This paragraph includes your opinion of the person, and their skills or accomplishments. Here you can include specific examples that help to illustrate the person's qualifications or strengths related to a particular job. Include as much detail as you can, but also try to be brief. Let the recipient know why you think the babysitter is qualified. This section can be longer, and you may even want to split it up into multiple paragraphs.

What role the babysitter is applying for will determine what kind of strengths you decide to highlight. For other babysitting jobs, you may talk about their caring and warm nature around your kids. Whereas if they're applying for an office job or something not childcare related, you might want to emphasize other details like their punctuality and good communication skills.

Need some inspiration on what to write? Look through my article 16 Signs of A Good Babysitter.

Paragraph 3 – Summary

Next, you make a summary that explains why you'd recommend the person for the role. Try to use strong language like "recommend without reservation" or "highly recommend" to really drive the point home.

Paragraph 4 - Conclusion

In this part of the letter, you can choose to include your contact details like your phone number and email address, if you aren't including them at the end of your signature instead. That way, if the new employer wants to get in touch with you to clarify anything or get more details, they'll have a way to reach you. Alternatively, you can include your details in the return address section of the letter.

You may also choose to repeat the sentiment that you recommend the babysitter "without reservation," "wholeheartedly," or something similar.

In Closing

End your letter with your full name. If you're sending a physical copy of the letter, adding your signature above or below your typed name is also a nice additional touch of professionalism.

How Long Should A Recommendation Letter Be?

You should aim to make your recommendation letter no less than two paragraphs. If your letter is too short, it will give the person reading it the indication that you didn't care enough to put in the time, don't actually endorse the babysitter, or don't know them very well. You don't want to be too busy or lazy to write a proper length recommendation to negatively affect the person you're recommending.

On the other side of the spectrum, there isn't usually much need to write a recommendation that's more than one page. You should be able to fit everything you need to say about your babysitter into one page. The person reading your letter is likely just looking for a summary and doesn't want to read through multiple pages of details and examples.

So the ideal length of your recommendation letter is three or four paragraphs, that fill up most of a page.

How Should A Recommendation Letter Be Formatted?

Try to keep your recommendation letter professional and business-like. Use a traditional font like Times New Roman, Calibri, or Arial. Steer clear of fonts like Comic Sans or Papyrus. It might seem cute to use more casual or child-like fonts when writing a reference for a babysitter, but not everyone reading the letter may see it that way.

Aim for the standard 12 point font size. Although you can adjust it between size 10 and 14 as needed to make your text take up more or less of the page or to make it easier to read.

Stick with the default formatting that comes up in most word processors. Your letter should be single-spaced, with space in between each paragraph. Your margins should be 1" at the top, left, right, and bottom of the page. And your text should be aligned to the left.

Proofread Your Recommendation

Always proofread your recommendation letter before sending it off. You'll want to use spell-checking software for sure. But sometimes even this can miss embarrassing typos or grammatical mistakes. So really take the time to read through your letter as if you're seeing it for the first time, and be extra critical when looking for errors.

If you aren't the best at writing, you can also get a friend or family member to edit your letter for you. You can conceal the babysitter's name for privacy if needed.

How To Email A Babysitting Reference

In some cases, you may be asked to send a reference letter via email. In this case, the content will still be the same. But the format of your letter will be slightly different.

The biggest difference is that you should include a clear subject line including the word "reference" and the babysitter's first and last names. That way it is less likely to be accidentally disregarded or seen as a possible spam message. You also don't necessarily need to include either the street address of your recipient or your own address.

What If You Don't Think You Can Write A Positive Reference?

Normally, a bad babysitter will have enough awareness that they wouldn't ask you for a reference. They will know that you didn't fully approve of the job they did for whatever reason. And normally that alone makes it too awkward for them to ask you for a reference.

But in rare cases, you may have a babysitter ask you for a reference, even when they've done a less-than-ideal job.

If you don't think that you can speak positively about a particular babysitter's abilities or skills, it's best to turn down their request. Make sure that you feel you can write a positive reference letter before ever agreeing to write a letter for someone.

You don't have to be too harsh when rejecting their request. You can just say something like "I'm not sure I'd be the best person to write you a recommendation." If you know anyone else they babysit for who might be able to help, perhaps suggest they contact them instead.

Most babysitters will get the hint and not push any further. For really insistent babysitters who keep asking for a reference, you might just have to come right out and tell them that you wouldn't recommend their services.

It's always better to say no to writing a recommendation letter, instead of writing a negative one. The latter is a waste of your time, and won't do them any good when applying for future jobs anyway.

List qualities in your reference letter that parents look for. See my article What to Look For in a Babysitter (12 Essential Qualities) to find out what they are!

Personal or Professional Reference?

Usually, a personal reference or character reference is written by a family member, neighbor, friend, or someone who knows a candidate and can vouch for them being a good fit for the position.

A professional reference is typically an employer, teacher, or colleague who has worked with the candidate in a professional setting. They can talk about specific job positions and responsibilities, how long the person worked for the employer, and other details.

So which one do you fall into? People who employ babysitters are an interesting position in that you could kind of think of them as both a personal or professional reference. You employ the babysitter, but it's also more of a casual relationship, and you may be friends with their family or have some other connections.

As a general rule, it's best to write a professional reference instead of a personal one. Professional references tend to be more difficult to get. Especially for those who haven't had many jobs before. And they'll also come across better to potential clients than a letter coming from a friend or relative.

Want to see some babysitting reference examples? Browse our page of sample babysitting references letters to easily find one to customize for your own situation.

Conclusion

Once you have the basic format, creating your own babysitting reference letter doesn't have to be difficult.

Just be sure to cover all the basic parts. It should have a greeting, introduction, details and examples, and a summary or conclusion. Within that framework, you can add a bit of your own creativity, flair, and personality to the letter.

Just keep it professional and remember the end goal: To convince the person reading it to hire your babysitter!

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