Trusting someone with your most precious possessions can be a hard thing to do. Hiring the right babysitter can be a difficult task.
Here are some dos and don’ts to consider when choosing a baby sitter for your child or children.
Don’t hire someone too young or inexperienced:
Be careful with hiring a sitter who is too young. If an emergency situation came up, you want someone mature enough to handle it safely and professionally. You may make some exceptions. For example, if you are comfortable with hiring a sitter that has never had baby sitting experience, but has watched younger siblings at home, then be clear about your expectations with that sitter. Everyone needs to start somewhere, and you don’t want to disqualify a great babysitter just because it’s their first job.
Even if finding the right sitter is looking bleak, whatever you do, don’t settle for less than what you need. Keep up the search. The right baby sitter may be just around the corner, figuratively or literally. Don’t give up.
Ask for references:
And don’t just ask, but check the references. Make the calls and contacts and ask questions to those who this person has worked for before. Ask questions like, What were the responsibilities that they carried out at your place? How were they with getting the tasks completed? How did they handle situations that came up unexpectedly? Did they focus on your children or text message friends? Ask what concerns you most. This is your time to find out from someone who has experience with this person and the abilities or drawbacks that they saw in this person. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard or uncomfortable questions. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as the saying goes.
Interview the candidate in person:
Get to know the individual. Ask them to tell you about themselves. Ask why they want this position. Make sure to include questions that are unique to your situation of what you’d like to them to do while watching your children. If they need to prepare meals, ask them about their cooking abilities. Will they be driving your kids somewhere for dinner? Ask them about their driving experience and driving record. Do they have CPR and first aid training? Be clear and firm about your expectations and ask if they feel they can handle the job.
Have them spend time with your children:
Set up an opportunity for the potential sitter to meet your kids with you there. Remember, they may be just as nervous and trying to make sure they meet your expectations. You will want to try to get them to be comfortable being themselves so that you can see how they interact with your kids in different situations. Are they gentle yet command respect? Both sides of that spectrum are going to be important. Can they come up with activities to keep your kids occupied or do they follow directions of activities well that you have already set up? Just be honest about your expectations and see if you feel they are qualified to meet the demands. Don’t forget to ask your children how they liked them. Of course, you will want to keep in mind their responses and personalities. A child that wants a total pushover babysitter will have a different list of criteria that they are looking for. Of course, you are the parent but keep in mind your children’s response to the potential baby sitter. You won’t want an overly assertive sitter who is intimidating to your shy child. You know your kids and trust that you will know the best match needed.
Trust your gut feeling:
If you are already having reservations about hiring this sitter, then listen to that feeling. Chances are the feeling you are already having will just intensify and lead to letting them go later.
In summary, finding the right sitter can be a daunting task, but don’t give up. I hope this short list of do’s and don’ts helps you in your search.