How To Find A Great Baby Sitter...
...and choose, hire and work together...
The first time I was to leave my infant to a baby sitter I felt awful! Well, my daughter had spent an hour or two with grandma before, that what is that compared to a real sitter AND for the whole evening including bedtime..?
It all went very well, as it often does. That time our baby sitter was a very dear friend, and we were completely comfortable with her intentions and abilities. However, that's not always how things are. If you don't have family in the right age close by, it can be really hard to know who to leave your baby to.
Below you'll find some useful tips to help you find the right baby sitter for your little one.
Baby Sitter Checklist
How to find a sitter
If you need someone more than (or instead of) grandma, read on...
The hardest part is probably the actual finding of the baby sitter. Some people are a little nervous to check newspaper ads for baby sitters, although you can find some excellent sitters there.
If you're afraid of finding a thief, dangerous person, or just a plain old freak, skip the classifieds. Ask other parents you know for a referral. This is a great way to find a babysitter, because you know that the sitter has been used by your friends, and was good enough for them to refer.
Also check the community boards in your neighborhood, or at your church. If you find a sitter here, chances are other families have utilized the services of this one, and you can get opinions on the sitter's work.
Using babysitting agency services like this one means that you not only get access to a really wide selection of sitters, you will also be able to read other parents' reviews of a particular sitter before hiring. You can also do background check for a comparatively very low amount of money. If you're the nervous type (like I am...) both these sources (parents and background checks) are invaluable!
You can check out Sittercity here. You can try them for free for 7 days. If you want, simply type your zip code in the box to the right, to see if they have any sitters available in your area.
Choosing the right sitter
If you're still nervous, with the sitter's permission, you can do a background check. You can do this online, and you will need the baby sitter's social security number. You should also ask him or her to sign a statement authorizing you to do a background check.
Next, bring your child in to meet the sitter. Even if your child is too young to speak, see how the sitter acts with your child, and vice versa. Does your baby cry, whine, or act different than normal? Does your baby giggle, coo, and fall in love right away? Believe it or not, your baby may be the best judge of character.
Well fair enough, if your baby is 9 months old and suffers from strong stranger anxiety, you probably should not hold that against the poor sitter. Give the two of them some time to get to know each other, and then watch your baby's reactions.
Another thing you might want to do is have the sitter over a couple of times while you're at home, so you can give her an idea of routines, special directions, or just let her and your child get to know each other.
Successful babysitting when the time comesYou want to make sure that your baby sitter understands the house rules.
Do you want to allow her friends to come over while she's taking care of your child? What about rules for computers, televisions, phones and so on? You don't want to open your cable bill next month and owe $5,376.93 for pay per view movies.
Also, when time has come to leave your child, make sure that the sitter has emergency numbers, the number to where you will be, and your child's doctor's number.
It's a good idea to show her where you keep your first aid kit, the child's medicines, and anything else that is of importance. A baby sitter with CPR or emergency training is a big plus.
Another part to go through is how your baby prefers to be taken care of. What is the best way to comfort him when he is sad, how will he best fall asleep? What foods does he like and dislike? Any allergies? What are his routines? His favorite games to play, toys to play with etc. Does he sign or talk and how should the sitter interpret his signs or words?
Help your new sitter all you can to have a good time together with your baby. Rules for how to discipline your baby (if at all depending on age) are also very important.
Following these tips will help you find the right sitter for your child. Keep in mind that safety is the number one issue. Check for references, watch her closely when she comes for that first visit with your child, and use your gut instinct. If you do these things, finding a sitter should be simple.
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