It can be a nerve-racking process to find someone to leave and trust your precious little ones to. Doubt and fear make many parents homebodies who never get out. But there is no reason why you need to make date night a DiGiorno pizza and a bottle of cheap wine on the sofa after the kids go to bed. You CAN get out and we can help you by making sure you take these helpful steps to hiring a good baby sitter.
1. Ask other parents to recommend a baby sitter they trust.
Choosing a babysitter with whom you’ve never had any interaction can cause a lot of anxiety. A better option might be to ask friends from your social network if they have a sitter that they use and trust. Inquire at work, church, the gym or anywhere else you know there are moms that are willing to share their baby sitter’s information with you.
2. Evaluate your kid situation.
Do you have a newborn or infant to care for? Perhaps a young baby sitter new to the job might not be the best choice for a young baby that requires a lot of care. An older, more mature sitter might have better skills to handle all that a little tiny one requires. Do you have multiple active older children? Then make sure to hire someone equally as energetic that can keep up with the activities they will all want to be participating in while they are in the baby sitter’s care. Bottom line is there is no one-size-fits-all baby sitter out there and each situation is unique and should be handled accordingly.
3. Interview candidates and ask good interview questions.
Since you are leaving your precious offspring with a virtual stranger you have every right to ask as many questions as you would like to get to know each potential candidate. Don’t be afraid to ask situational questions in addition to questions about their background in childcare. Ask questions like “What would you do if Johnny started choking on a piece of food?” or “A delivery man comes to the front door, what do you do?” These questions will not only let you know how each person would handle things on the fly but also will let them know that you are expecting someone who is responsible enough to handle anything that might happen in your absence.
4. Pick a potential babysitter who has children of their own or siblings they have taken care of.
It might reduce a little anxiety if you hire a baby sitter who is either a mother of their own children or someone who has taken care of their much younger siblings. The mother is a no brainer because she has first-hand experience taking care of a child 24-hours a day. If hiring a younger sitter though you’d be amazed at how much time an older brother or sister has clocked in caring for their younger siblings. This is definitely something to consider rather than a baby sitter who has no real first-hand experience dealing with children.
5. Invite the sitter over for a visit first.
The “sitter visit” is a critical step. If you have picked a candidate that you like based on their qualifications, experience, personality and answers during the interview, it is equally important to get them some face time with the kids. Invite them over to the house for a short visit where your kids can get to know them prior to you leaving them alone with this stranger. Allow the babysitter to take the lead and interact with the kids. Encourage your kids to give them a tour of the house, show them their favorite toys and talk to them about what they like to do. This will make the actual first baby sitting experience a much easier time for everyone involved.
6. Trust your gut.
You know your kids better than anyone. If something doesn’t feel right about a baby sitter then stop using them. And conversely, if you feel really great about a baby sitter, make sure to do everything you can to nurture that relationship so that they want to keep coming back.
HOW TO KEEP THE BABYSITTER HAPPY AND COMING BACK FOR MORE!
Once you find someone you trust and that your kids love it’s time to make sure that you never lose them. A good baby sitter is golden.
- Make sure you are compensating them appropriately.
- Provide open communication. Don’t just ask them how the children did but also how the baby sitter enjoyed his/her time.
- Give them feedback. Make sure to tell them how much your kids talked about them after they left last time. Get as specific as you can, “Sarah couldn’t stop talking about how nice it was that you braided her hair.”
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