Babysitters are sometimes hard to find. Babysitting is generally a low-paying job that requires a lot of work, and it is a huge responsibility. Not every parent of young children is lucky enough to have folks willing or able to babysit for their grandchildren. Teenagers seeking a part-time job aren’t always satisfied with the meager wages earned while babysitting, and day care centers charge hourly rates that for most people aren’t affordable. This creates a dilemma for parents who just want an occasional night out.
Finding a Trustworthy Sitter
Parents have to be very careful who they entrust with their children. Infants and young toddlers aren’t able to speak up if a babysitter is abusive. There are numerous cases of babysitters caught on camera abusing babies and young children. So, how does one go about finding a babysitter they can trust?
Word of mouth is the best way to find a trustworthy sitter. Ask coworkers and friends with young children whom they hire when they want to get away for an evening. If you attend church, post an announcement on the church bulletin board or in the weekly bulletin requesting a babysitter. Chances are there is someone interested in babysitting or at least someone who knows of a reputable sitter. Another way to locate a reputable babysitter is by contacting your local high school. Ask the school to post an announcement, and with their help, more than likely you will be able to find someone trustworthy.
Do not rely on references alone when choosing a sitter. No one ever provides references that will give them a bad report. References really are not worth much unless they are supplied by someone other than the potential babysitter. They are however a good way of checking experience.
Before hiring a babysitter, make sure you are well aware of the sitter’s hourly charges per child. Don’t assume the babysitter expects the going rate. You might find yourself paying double or triple what you thought you would be paying.
What Age is Old Enough to Babysit?
A responsible preteen who is between the ages of twelve and thirteen would be an appropriate choice if you weren’t traveling far and if you were only going to be gone for a few hours. Very young babies or those with special needs should be cared for by someone older and more experienced. Someone immature might not be able to handle an emergency if one should arise.
If you are going to be leaving the region in which you reside, it is a good idea to give the sitter the phone numbers of responsible adults who would be able and willing to come over if there is a problem. This will give you and the sitter more peace of mind.
Interviewing a Prospective Sitter
Have prospective babysitters come to your home to meet your children. Pay attention to how potential sitters interact with the kids and how the kids react to them. Does he or she seem kind and caring? Does he or she talk to the kids on their level?
Quiz the sitter on what he or she would do if certain situations should arise. Be sure to ask the sitter how he or she would handle specific emergencies. Also, find out what age groups the sitter has experience with.
Before Going Out
Write out a list of emergency phone numbers, and leave the numbers clearly posted by the phone. Be sure to make the babysitter aware of the location of the phone numbers.
Also, leave a list of instructions that can be referred to regarding mealtime, bedtime, and allowed activities. Write down clear and concise instructions so there will not be a misunderstanding.
Speak to the sitter regarding how you want them to deal with bad behavior if there should be a problem. If you want the kids put in a time-out for bad behavior, make it known in advance. A sitter should never be allowed to spank your child.
Ask the sitter to arrive approximately a half hour before you plan on leaving home. This way the babysitter can become acquainted with the children and they can become more comfortable with the babysitter. This will also give you plenty of time to go over specific instructions. Also, the babysitter will have time to observe the kids, and he or she will have the opportunity to ask any questions before you leave.
Keeping a Good Sitter
If you come home and find that your babysitter washed the dishes or went over and above what was expected of them, by all means let them know. Everyone likes a pat on the back once and a while. Praise them with compliments, and let them know their efforts were appreciated. Consider giving them a few extra dollars over and above what they normally charge. This is a wonderful gesture to show they are valued and appreciated. More than likely, next time you need a babysitter, they won’t turn down the job.
Babysitting isn’t an easy job, and it doesn’t pay very well. Provide your babysitter with plenty of snacks and easy-to-prepare meals. Ask them in advance what type of soft drinks they prefer. Providing special treats is a great way to show a babysitter that you care about their comfort and satisfaction.