Having a fabulous babysitter is a game changer in the world of parenting. If you have one, you already know the comfort that comes with having a great babysitter. If you don’t yet, you’re probably on the hunt for one — or desperately longing for one…..
I share with you a few things I’ve learned about babysitters….
AND a few tips on how to keep them happily sitting for your family.
FINDING a GREAT babysitter:
There are many routes to take in finding a sitter that fits with your family. It does take some leg work, BUT it’s completely worth it when you find someone great!
- Talk to other moms — Friends share great babysitters with other friends. Getting a sitter from a trusted friend/family is a great way to hear about what they enjoy about their beloved sitter.
- Ask neighbors — You may have a fantastic babysitter living right there in your neighborhood. Just ask around. Bonus : You have an opportunity to know their family and there’s ease with proximity (Think: no traffic delays on the way to your house).
- Care.com — A fee-based membership site similar to on-line dating but for babysitters and families. You write a job post with your needs and preferences. Caregivers then respond with their information. You can look over their profile, see availability, access background checks, and ask for references.
- Trade babysitting services with mommy friends — A simple swap can save you both money and give you a chance for a date-night or to schedule that long overdue dentist appointment. A win-win for you both!
- **Do your homework** — No matter how you find the sitter, be sure to do your own homework. Speak with a potential sitter yourself, set up a time to meet in-person, ask for (and actually check) references, and do a background check. Make sure you are comfortable with the person you are hiring to watch your children. Then you’ll be able to trust that your kids are safe and having fun while you’re away. You’ll enjoy your time away all the more.
KEEPING a GREAT babysitter:
- Don’t be flaky — Respect your sitter’s time as you do your own. When you schedule a sitter, try your best to honor that appointment. If you must cancel, give them as much notice as possible so they’ll have time to schedule with another family. Remember this is their job (and income).
- Give a heads up if the kids are sick — If the kids are really sick, it’s best to cancel. But if they are mildly sick, such as a mild cold, text/call your sitter to ask if they are comfortable watching the kids.
- Talk $$ ahead of time — Ask a sitter their rate or tell them what you pay ahead of time. This will avoid any awkwardness when it’s time to pay your babysitter.
- Be hospitable — Show a new sitter around your house and where to find things. Show them where they can find a glass for water for themselves. If they’re sitting during a mealtime, have enough for them to eat, as well. You don’t have to make a special meal for a sitter, but make sure there is enough or ask them to bring their own food if you aren’t able to provide.
- Share ideas on how to spend the time — It’s nice to give a sitter a few ideas on what your kids will enjoy while you’re away (playing outside, make-believe play, reading together, working on a craft project, going to a nearby park, etc.).
- Talk discipline — It’s best to discuss discipline briefly in the (unlikely) event that a sitter needs to discipline your kids while you are away. For example, when my daughter was going through a ‘hitting phase,’ I was upfront with our sitter about how I wanted her to handle this behavior. This allowed me the comfort of knowing my sitter was being consistent with my response.
- Clearly discuss expectations — Does your child need to finish their homework? Don’t want the TV on? Want the toys cleaned up when you arrive home? Then says so. Every family is different. Be sure to discuss your expectations.
Have a great sitter? Share your tips with us!