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Choosing a Baby Sitter

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  • Category Advice Column, Baby, Child, Parenting, Pregnancy & Baby, Toddler

Choosing a baby sitter for your children can be a very daunting task.  You need to find someone trustworthy, who is the right fit for your children.  

Here are 10 tips to help you find the perfect babysitter for your family:

#1 Before you start looking for a baby sitter it is important to decide what you will require of them.  Decide what is important to you and your family. 

  • How often will you need them? (daily, weekly or overnight?)
  • What will their duties be? (tutoring, cooking, looking after pets, driving the children around)

#2 Find out from friends or family what the going rate is so that you have a figure in mind when conducting the interview.

#3 Ask family and friends if they can recommend a baby sitter.  It is wiser to get someone who is recommended. It will be helpful to find someone who has had experience with children who are a similar age to your own.

#4 Choose someone who is old enough.  Teenagers are often keen to help out for a bit of extra money.  Some people prefer a teenager to babysit an older child as opposed to a young baby.

#5 Ask the potential baby sitter to give you references. This will help you see what their past job experiences have been.  Phone the references and check them out.

#6 Preparing for the interview is also important.  Make a list of questions you would like to ask.  Keep a pen and paper nearby during the interview, so you can write down their answers and refer back to them at a later stage.  

  • Put them at ease and ask them to tell you about themselves.  Do they have kids of their own? What are their achievements? What are their goals in life?
  • Have they taken care of kids before? What ages were they? What were their responsibilities?
  • Ask some questions like “What would you do if the baby fell down the stairs? Or what would you do if the baby started choking?” This will give an indication as to how they would manage situations.
  • How would they spend time with your kids?  Do they have ideas of stimulating activities to do with your children?
  • Do they have training in first aid?

#7 Trust your gut.  Someone might have great references and the perfect answers to your questions, but something is off.  Trust this instinct and only proceed when you are completely happy with them.

#8 Once you have completed the interview, why not have a trial run? You can go out for a short while and see how your children respond to the babysitter.  Do your children connect with them?  Seeing the interaction first hand will help you determine if they are the right fit for your family.

#9 Be on the lookout for warning signs.  Is your house left a mess when you get home? Are they unable to tell you important details like what time the children went to bed? Are your children battling to settle and bond with them?  If anything like this is happening, chat to your baby sitter and see if you can get to the bottom of the problem.

#10 Take time in making your decision.  Go back to the answers they gave during the interview.  Make a list of the things you liked about them.  You should only hire them when you are completely satisfied.

Choosing the right baby sitter is vitally important and should never be done without careful consideration.  At the end of the day, your child needs to be kept safe and happy. 

By Lauren Reddell, Grade 000 Teacher of Trinityhouse Pre-Primar

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