You really need a night out, but you don’t trust your kids with just anyone so you’ve just been staying in. Finding the right babysitter can be a huge challenge for any mom. You want to make sure anyone you leave in charge of your kids will not only keep them safe, but will be nurturing and fun. So how do you find that great babysitter? Where do you even start? Here are some tips on finding the perfect babysitter so you can finally get that night out you deserve.
Start With People You Know
You may not have even thought about it, but there are many people in your life who might enjoy the opportunity to babysit your kids. First, approach your friends and relatives, throw it out there and see if anyone is interested in babysitting. Often times, these people won’t be able to babysit regularly, but might love a chance to spend some fun, quality time with your kid here and there. The best part is these are people you already know and trust, so don’t be afraid to reach out and see if there’s any possibilities in your social circle.
Asking for personal recommendations is probably the best way to find a great babysitter. Ask your friends and family members who they are using to babysit. Maybe their children have outgrown a great sitter or maybe they only use a great sitter occasionally and they still have plenty of availability. Also ask your coworkers or people in your yoga class, anyone you know who could recommend someone trustworthy.
There are many great resources now to find a good babysitter online. Websites like TheBump.com and Care.com offer reviews, recommendations, and even have profiles of potential babysitters in your local area. Reading these websites can definitely help you find a qualified babysitter. These are especially useful if you are in a city where you don’t know that many people or have a small personal network to pull from.
What To Look For In A Perfect Babysitter
There are some basic things you should look for before hiring a babysitter. Start by interviewing the sitter before they are going to watch your kids.
At an interview, a good candidate will:
- Show up to the meeting on time and prepared.
- Have great references from either past babysitting jobs or trusted individuals like church leaders, teachers, or volunteer coordinators.
- Have training like CPR, first aid, or babysitting and childcare certification.
- Will ask a lot of questions about your child, your house, and your rules.
Once you have done the initial interview, you should introduce them to your child and observe how they interact. Does the babysitter engage your child? Do they ask your child questions? Does your child seem to get along with them? If your babysitter and your child have a good interaction, you may have a potential candidate. All that’s left to do is call their references and then set up a trial babysitting job.
Half of finding a perfect babysitter is communicating your expectations. So before you set up a trial babysitting job, think about the important things you need to communicate to any babysitter.
Some of the things to think about are:
- The House Rules: Make a list of any house rules, everything from taking your shoes off to your child’s bedtime. Be sure to list anything that really matters to you about the safety of your child and even the integrity of your home and property. A list will help clarify the rules so there is no question in the future.
- The Routine: Lay out what a typical night in your home looks like. Think about things like when you typically eat dinner or your child’s bedtime. This will set up the expectations of how the night should go.
- Special Instructions: If your child has any special needs, or things like allergies or anxieties, make sure to include these things into your discussion. Provide all the information for what might happen and how to handle the situation.
- Give A Tour Of Your House: Show your sitter where you keep all the things they will need. Also show them important things like where you keep the fire extinguisher and first aid kit. Finally, make sure to show them anything that is dangerous or off limits to them or your child.
- Prep An Emergency Contact List: Put together a list of emergency contact numbers. This list should include primary emergency contacts like yourself or secondary contacts like your friends, neighbors, or family members. It should also include emergency service numbers like the local police and poison control. Also, always make sure they know where you are going and how to reach you while you are there.
- Provide Some Activities: Make sure that you have a few activities like games, puzzles, or crafts for kids ready so your sitter and your kids will have plenty of fun together.
Try Before You Buy
Once you’ve prepared all of these things, you are ready to give your potential babysitter a trial run. Have them come over for either a short time like an hour or two or while you are still at home to watch your child.
When it’s over evaluate how they did to decide if you want to hire them for a bigger job. Make sure to ask your kids about how it went. See if they liked them or if they did anything against the rules. Based on their trial period, you should know whether or not they will be a good fit for your family.
Finding the perfect babysitter can be a real challenge, however you can definitely do it. Make sure that you take the time to look through your network for some good candidates, check all their qualifications, establish clear instructions and expectations, and give them a trial run.
Don’t forget to include your kids in the process, since they will be spending most of their time together. You want to make sure they really like each other. If you follow these tips, you’ll find a great babysitter and finally get that night off you deserve!