The first time I was to leave my infant with a babysitter 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 babysitter 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 with.
Below you’ll find some useful tips to help you find the right babysitter for your little one.
How Choose Babysitter & How To Make The Babysitting Work
How to find a sitter
Well, if grandma is available, loved by your baby and in great shape, stop reading! If you need someone more than (or instead of) grandma, read on…
The hardest part is probably the actual finding of the babysitter. Some people are a little nervous to check newspaper or Internet ads for babysitters, although you can find some excellent sitters there.
If you’re worried about 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 trusted by your friends, and was good enough for them to refer.
Also, check the community boards in your neighborhood, your social media networks, or at work 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.
Another option that is a lot safer than just ads is to use a babysitter agency. There are some really good sitter services online, such as Nanny Lane (former Nannies 4 Hire).
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 actively choose to only hire a sitter who has accepted a background check (With UrbanSitter, the sitters that have opted for a background check have a special, green badge in their profile, that you can click to read the check). If you’re the nervous type (like I am…) both these sources (parents and background checks) are invaluable!
Choosing the right sitter
Once you have found one or a few potential sitters, it is time for the next step.
Call the potential sitter for an interview first. Have the babysitter come to your home, so that you can have a relaxed conversation with her or him.
You want to see how she carries herself, and how she reacts to your questions.
You should ask for referrals, and check them. This is one thing that a lot of people skip. Don’t, even if your impression of the person is really good. It’s important to get feedback from people that have used the babysitter before.
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 differently 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 how well the cooperation will work out.
Well fair enough, if your baby 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 comes
- You want to make sure that your babysitter 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 for where you will be, your mobile number, 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 babysitter with CPR or emergency training for young children 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 or her when sad, how will your baby best fall asleep? What foods does he or she like and dislike? Any allergies? What are his or her routines? What are your baby’s favorite games to play, toys to play with, and so on. Does your baby sign or talk and how should the sitter interpret his or her 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.
If you have additional tips, please share them below!