Finding someone you trust to take care of your children can be a difficult task. We’ve listed some helpful tips on how to find, hire and keep the best person for the job.
We asked John Hodge, education manager, REMSA, and Jennifer Nunzir, Child Life Specialist, Renown Health, key things to consider when looking for the right babysitter.
Where to look
Personal recommendations: Ask your friends, family, coworkers and others for someone they would recommend to babysit.
Organizations you already trust: Reach out to your child’s daycare, your family physician’s office or places of worship.
Agencies and websites: This may be a better option if you’re looking for someone with specific experience (with special needs children, tutoring or a full-time nanny). Care.com, and SitterCity.com are some of the most popular websites.
Screening applicants is the most important part of finding a babysitter — but try not to make it uncomfortable. Have the applicant fill out a basic application form, but most importantly, have an honest conversation with the candidate. They are probably as nervous as you are, and your goal is to get a feel for how they interact with you and your family.
Make sure you get (and use) references. Teachers, parents or community leaders are good choices if the applicant hasn’t babysat before. Call the references to find out if the candidate is responsible and trustworthy.
A good way to see if the babysitter is right for your child is by a trial run. Post-interview, observe how the sitter and your child interact. Then you can go for a quick errand and evaluate his or her performance. Don’t forget to prepare your sitter with important information (here’s a template for an emergency contact sheet).
What to pay
The price depends on age of your child, the sitter’s age and experience, how far they have to travel, any extra duties (like bath time or making dinner), what you can afford, etc. Ask the sitter if they have an established rate or make an offer; you can negotiate from there.
Maintaining a good relationship
Openly communicate with each other. If there is a sense of trust and respect in the relationship, you and your sitter will feel that it’s easier to communicate and address any issues that arise.
You want to find a caring, compassionate, patient and loving babysitter that loves all children. Your first instinct about a person is usually right.
REMSA hosts Kid Care Babysitting classes where they teach the basics of child care. From diaper changes to CPR and first aid training, this class is a great resource for new babysitters. Click here for more information.