It’s nerve-wracking to hire a babysitter. And just the thought of going through the motions of picking out the right one to entrust your children to their care can be down right daunting.
In today’s world, it’s hard to trust your next door neighbor, let along a stranger to watch your children. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to weed through the bad ones so that you can find your peace of mind with the right one.
Write your needs down first
Finding a babysitter for your children shouldn’t be something that you do at the last minute. This is a huge event and therefore should be treated as such.
Sit down with your partner and get a list going. Include the times when the babysitter will be needed, exactly what you are expecting of them, and the steps to follow in case an emergency should occur. Consider this your master plan.
Also, you should prepare a questionnaire for when you interview them. Really think about what you want in a babysitter and how you want your children to be treated.
If you have all of your needs, desires, and expectations mapped out in front of you, then your chances of seeking out one who can fill them all will be that much easier.
Start your search close to home, then expand
Look to those whom you are closest with first. Can your best friend watch your kids? Perhaps your neighbor down the street has some extra time these days? Anyone at work need some extra money?
Also, look to your local YMCA, church, high schools, colleges, and private schools. Maybe you know someone who knows someone who can recommend a potential sitter who would be fantastic for your situation and its needs.
If no one is available in your immediate circle, then start branching out your feelers to sites like Craigslist, SiterCity, and Care.com.
Interviews and reference checks
Refer to your list of questions you wrote out earlier as well as your master plan. Set blocks of your time aside so that your interviews are lengthy, thorough, and to the point.
Relay your expectations, take in the potential sitter’s answers, and read between the lines. All interviews are frenzied in nature, so it’s best to keep that in mind. It’s hard for any one's true colors to shine through with them being nervous - that’s where references come in to save the day.
I’d ask for at least four for good measure and be sure to call them all and get their honest input on the potential’s babysitting abilities.
You can also do some research on the Internet about them. Maybe they have a Facebook page or other social media site that can tell you more about them.
Take the winner for a test run
After you’ve chosen your potential sitter, have them over a few times while the family is home. Watch them interact with your kids and how they handle possible meltdowns or arguments.
If you feel comfortable, run a quick errand or get some laundry done. The key components that these test runs will cover is for you to see firsthand how the potential sitter handles your children, how well they adhere to your family’s rules, and how they will contribute to your peace of mind when it comes time to leave your children in their care.