Finding and keeping a great babysitter is at the top of most parent’s list. You want to find someone who is responsible, qualified, plays with your kids, and loves them like you do. And let’s be honest, this can be very hard to find. But never fear, there are really great caregivers out there but you need to take the time to find the best fit for your family and do your homework. Before you kick-off your search, decide what kind of care you want for your kids. Do you need full-time or part-time care, a nanny-type situation, or a babysitter for an occasional night out? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Ask for Recommendations. Some of the best babysitters come from people you know (if they’re willing to share!). Ask your neighbors, coworkers, friends, church family, and even your kids’ teachers. You might even be surprised to find out your child’s favorite teacher moonlights as a babysitter or summer nanny. Ask them all the important questions like, do they arrive on time, are they responsible, do they clean up after the kids, how much do they charge/do you pay them? You can also check out sites like Care.com, Sittercity.com, and Sittersearch.com.
Think About What You Need. Do you need someone who drives or has their own car? Do you want someone who can help your kids with their homework or someone who will be helpful in potty training? Are you wanting household duties to be performed? Make a list of all your needs and preferences. You may not be able to check off every item on your list, but go into it prepared to find someone who meets as many of your needs as possible.
Interview Candidates in Your Home. Host the interview in your own home. Have your kids meet the candidates and watch how the person interacts with your children. Prepare a list of interview questions, talk about house rules, your feelings on guests and cell phone use, anticipated compensation, and what you expect from a babysitter.
Have Realistic Expectations. We both know Mary Poppins doesn’t exist. It’s ok to have high expectations, but also remember nobody’s perfect. Make sure you check going rates for babysitter’s in your area to know what you should be at paying. And remember, this person will be looking after your beloved children so don’t try to be cheap with wages. It’s fine to want the babysitter to keep things tidy and pick-up after the children, but anything she does beyond that takes her away from caring for your kids. If you do need household tasks done, be prepared to pay extra. Lastly, don’t ask a babysitter to do something you wouldn’t want to do or be capable of doing yourself.
Good luck & happy parenting!
Image: By Jim Pennucci from Hope, USA (Painting)