How to Hire a Babysitter


Finding a good sitter is worth the time it takes.

By FamilyTime

 

Even though you may wish you never had to leave your little ones at home, there are times when you must hire a babysitter.

You may be lucky enough to have a relative nearby or neighbor who will "round-robin" babysit with your kids and hers. If not, you'll have to venture outside your immediate circle to find someone to watch the kids.

The Search
The most obvious way to begin the search is to ask friends, family members, fellow parents from daycare or playgroups, and neighbors. Many moms resist divulging the name of their prize sitter, but that sitter may have siblings or friends.

Although it's common to hire teens, sitters may be mature women who enjoy children and need the extra income.

Ask friends and acquaintances at church or synagogue. Contact the local high school; the guidance office usually has a job bank. Ditto for a local college.

You could also post ads at the local recreation center, youth club, or YMCA. For security, list only your telephone number, not your name.

Agencies can be helpful, but before you commit, ask hard questions about their screening procedures. Make sure the agency's clients are completely vetted. Also make sure you understand the fee structure.

The Interview
When you find a prospective sitter, check at least three personal references. These should include other clients, employers, teachers, or responsible adults. The references should not be family members.

Sit down with the sitter and ask about her or his experience. It's advisable to ascertain if the prospect has infant CPR or first-aid training. Ask the sitter how she would react in an emergency, coming up with one or two hypothetical situations (bleeding wound, high fever).

Watch how the sitter interacts with your children during the interview. She should seem relaxed, warm, and genuinely interested in the kids.

Most experts advise interviewing at least three sitters before choosing one. Go with your gut if all meet your requirements.

When you hire a sitter, make sure you know his or her full name, address, and phone numbers. And take a little time to get to know the sitter so that you can communicate with ease.

Your kids will thank you, and you will be able to leave with peace in your heart.