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Finding a Babysitter You Can Trust

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 4 May 2011 | comments*Discuss
 
Babysitter Sitter Child Care Childcare

As much as we love our kids, all parents need an occasional break. Remember candlelit dinners, romantic walks, and talking late into the night? Just because you have kids doesn't mean that these things have to be distant memories. With the assistance of a terrific babysitter, you can eat dinner at a restaurant – maybe even one with real silverware!

Finding a Babysitter

One of the best ways to locate a fun, responsible babysitter is to ask friends and family for referrals. Don't be surprised if some folks are a bit tight lipped, however, since they may not want to share their sitter! If you don't have any luck with referrals, consider running an ad in your local newspaper.

Childcare referral agencies may be another possibility when Looking For Safe Childcare since they routinely complete background checks and pre-qualify the candidates. You will still want to conduct your own interviews, though, since compatibility is vital in a good child/sitter relationship.

Interviewing your Sitter

When interviewing potential childcare providers, be prepared with a list of questions. Also, be sure to ask for references and always check them. It is important to let each candidate know exactly what your expectations are so that you fully understand each other before the first day of work. Work out all details regarding responsibilities, pay, and transportation, if the sitter is a teenager.

Make sure that your babysitter knows what to do in an emergency, i.e. has a basic Knowledge Of First Aid and knows what foods and playthings are appropriate for different age groups. If necessary, offer to pay for a class to get them up to speed.

While proper qualifications are vital, personality and enthusiasm matter, too. Try to find a babysitter who shares your children's interests. For example, an active teenager would be a perfect match if your kids are budding athletes, while a quiet, artistic type may be preferred by some families. In any case, be sure that you find someone who will interact with your children rather than relying on the television to entertain them.

Before You Leave

Many parents invite a new babysitter to come to the house and watch the kids while they are at home for the first time. This gives the children time to adjust to the sitter, while allowing the sitter to come to you with any questions. Additionally, being on the premises gives you the chance to observe the babysitter with your children so that you can be sure that they mix well.

Safety Matters

When you are finally ready to get all dressed up and head out for that romantic dinner, be sure to leave contact phone numbers for the babysitter. Make your mobile phone number readily available by placing it, along with other important emergency numbers, near your home phone.

If your child has any medical conditions, be sure that your babysitter is aware of them and that any necessary medications are clearly marked with dosage instructions. It is a good idea to go over medication instructions verbally and then leave written instructions as a reminder.

House Rules

Make your babysitter aware of the house rules and any other expectations that you may have. Clarify your stance on television viewing, Use Of The Internet, meals and snacks, bedtimes, and approved activities. If your sitter will be expected to perform additional tasks, such as meal preparation, be sure that you are clear in your instructions. If you are comfortable to do so, you may wish to grant permission for your children to go on outings with the babysitter.

Quality Costs

Good babysitters can be pricey, but there is no job more important than taking care of your kids. Let your sitter know that you appreciate the love and care that your children receive, and show your gratitude by paying well and respecting their time. Make every effort to return at the expected time and if you must cancel with little notice, offer to pay for the time that you had reserved.

The Final Word

While great training, stellar references, and loads of experience look great on a resume, you have to trust your instincts when it comes to the care of your children. If you have an uneasy feeling about a potential babysitter, trust yourself and keep looking. The right sitter is out there and your table is waiting, candles and all.

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