Choosing And Breaking In A New Babysitter

I know you love spending time with your baby, but the time will come when you need a babysitter. It can be scary leaving your precious little one in the hands of someone else. Here are some tips to make it a bit easier:

When looking for a sitter…

Consider The References

Checking references and performing background checks are a must during any babysitting hiring process, but when narrowing down the top picks for your caregiver, consider the conversations you had with the families she listed as references. Are the families the sitter has cared for in the past similar to your family? Are the kids the same ages? Did she have duties and responsibilities similar (baths, cooking dinner, homework help) to what you’d like your babysitter to do for your kids? As with any job, background is key, so if your prospective babysitter has had experience handling responsibilities that are similar to what she’ll be doing with your family, it’s likely to be an easy transition for all involved.

Get questions to ask references here.

Host An Interview

Before placing a child in the care of an utter stranger, an interview should take place and references requested and scrutinized. This is the time for direct questions and answers and also an opportunity for the parent’s instincts to come into play. Does the prospective caregiver seem to be a warm, flexible human being? Does she have views on discipline that are reasonably close to yours? Does she seem to like children and to be comfortable around them? It may be wise to be somewhat cautious about a prospective sitter who seems overly concerned with neatness and cleanliness, who seems inflexible or depressed.

The interview is the proper time to discuss hourly or evening rates. Does the sitter charge or is the parent willing to pay a higher rate after midnight? This is also the time to settle the matter of transportation. Does the sitter provide her own or does she expect to be picked up and returned home?

It is only fair to give the sitter general information and specific instructions about your child and your home. Be very clear about what you want her to do in your absence. Describe the routines in your home, particularly the ones that involve the child. Do you read him a story before he goes to bed? Do you feel strongly that he should not watch certain violent television programs? Do you have very definite ideas about discipline! A parent has every right to expect the sitter to follow these general guidelines, still leaving plenty of space for fun and initiative and creativity. ~ChildDevelopmentInfo

Try a Test Run

If possible, invite the sitter over for a visit before you actually need their services (or at least 30 minutes before you need to leave). This way the two of them can get to know each other (and you can watch the sitter in action). Some babies love everyone at first sight, so if your baby is willing to be cuddled right off the bat, great. But if your baby is shy or skittish, take it slow: Make the introduction with your baby in your arms first, then put him in an infant seat or swing near the sitter, so he can adjust to another person in the room. ~WhatToExpect

When you are ready to leave your baby in the care of a sitter for the first time…

Leave Time For Instructions

Have the sitter arrive 15 minutes before you leave. Make sure the sitter knows:
1. Where you can be reached (address, phone number, pager number)
2. Rules about meals, play, TV, computer time, friends, etc.
3. General safety guidelines including important names and phone numbers, potential hazards, how to bathe and change the child (if appropriate), and how to handle emergencies
4. How to keep the play areas safe

What are the best traits in a babysitter or nanny? Katie and have some suggested traits to look for:

Have tips to add? Leave them in the comment section!


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