Entrusting someone else to care for your child can be a daunting ordeal. But mommies and daddies desperately need those moments away to reconnect with each other. And those times shouldn't be spent calling home every five minutes and constantly worrying if your children are being properly cared for. However, if you put in the time and effort into choosing a babysitter that you trust and your kids like, time spent away can be more enjoyable.
Where to Start?
One of the biggest obstacles may be where to even find people that would want to baby-sit your kids. A good place to start is to contact local churches, schools, pediatricians or neighborhood groups to see if they may have a list of babysitters. Another good source is to ask other parents for recommendations. There are also professional nanny services in bigger cities. Though it may cost more through this service, it does have perks such as guaranteed experience, background checks, references, and first-aid and CPR training.
If all else fails, you could place an advertisement in your local paper or look for websites that specialize in connecting parents with sitters.
Thing to Consider When Interviewing Potential Babysitters
After you've gathered a list of potential babysitters, it is a good idea to first interview them over the phone to find out if they might be a right match for you. You could also check references ahead of time as well. This will give you an idea of whom you might want to interview in person and save you some time as well.
One thing that should be a consideration is the age of the babysitter. Are you looking for a teenager or someone older? Also take into consideration the ages and number of children that need to be watched. Could a teenager handle watching an infant and a toddler?
Find out how much experience the sitter has had with children. Have they watched young children, older children or combination of both? Does the sitter have a certification from a safe babysitting course? Do they know first aid and CPR?
Ask for references of other families who have used the sitter. If the sitter has little experience, get a character reference from another adult or teacher who knows the sitter.
It is also a good idea to let the potential sitter know your expectations ahead of time. Such as the hourly rate you are willing to pay, any household rules, your policy regarding the sitter's use of the phone and outside visitors and any chores that you expect them to perform.
If the initial interview and references are good, arrange a trial run to see how your children interact with the sitter. Have the sitter come to the house for an hour or two while you are home. Be sure and pay them for their time.
Prepare the Babysitter
After you've decided on someone, it is important to prepare the sitter for the job at hand. Be sure and give them a tour of your home so they know where things are located, especially emergency exits. Show them where the telephones are located and post emergency numbers including a relative or friend who can be reached immediately. Always leave a phone number where you can be reached and your cell phone number.
Let the sitter know your expectations regarding feeding and bedtime schedules. Also let them know the household rules such as television time and what the children can and cannot watch and specific areas of the home where the children are not permitted to play.
Hopefully all goes well and you have found yourself a good babysitter! If so, make sure the sitter knows he or she is appreciated. A little extra cash or a gift card on occasion can sometimes do the trick!
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