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How to Hire a Babysitter

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Authored by Kate Beswick in Parenting
Published on 11-13-2009

All parents wish that they could take a break away from their kids and spend some time alone out as a couple. This is much easier for parents to do when they have a trusted babysitter at home. But parents who are new to an area or have just had a baby probably won’t have a list of numbers that they can turn to when they need a responsible and reliable person to watch over their children. For these parents, hiring a babysitter can be extremely frustrating. How do you start? And how do you know if a person is capable to take care of your children? Here are all the steps you’ll need to find the right babysitter for you. Then you can spend more time taking care of yourself and each other!

The first thing you need to do when hiring a babysitter is to look for suitable candidates. This can be done in a number of ways including posting ads up at the grocery store or even placing one in the newspaper. But you’ll probably find that you’ll have better luck getting a handful of acceptable names by asking people you already trust. If you know people who live in the area and have children, ask them if they have a babysitter. Ask if they are good with their children, if they like them, and if you can have the sitter’s phone number. If you have an older child or your child is in school, ask around to the other parents there. Churches also often have a list of young people in their youth groups that are looking for part-time job opportunities and might be able to point you in the right direction.

Once you have a handful of names you will be able to narrow down your choices by asking them some questions. Firstly, you’ll want to make sure that they have references that you can check. Three names should be enough to give you a good idea of what the babysitter is like. Of course, don’t just ask for the references but call them and ask each if they liked the babysitter, how long the sitter has been babysitting for them, and what they like and dislike about the sitter. Once you’ve checked the sitter’s references, it’s then time to ask the babysitter a few questions.

You can ask potential babysitters these questions over the phone or you can invite them to your home to interview them. The latter is usually a better idea, especially if your child can be home and awake at the time. This way you’ll not only be able to ask them your important questions but you’ll also be able to gauge how they interact with your child. One of the first questions you should ask is if they have CPR and Red Cross First Aid training. The Red Cross has a babysitter certification course that not only covers first aid but also things such as bathing and feeding small children. This could be a preference of yours but making sure that they have at least first aid training needs to be a priority.

Other questions you may want to ask of your sitter is if they are involved in extra-curricular activities, if they have another part-time job and what they like to do in their spare time. This will not only tell you how available they’ll be to babysit for you but it will also tell you how involved they are in school, if they have interests, and what kind of person they are. Also be sure to go over the rules of your house and what will be expected of them while they’re babysitting your children. Make sure that they understand what will be expected of them and allowed, and that they are okay with it. While you’re asking them these questions, also be sure to observe their appearance. Are they clean and tidy? Do they present themselves well?

Hiring a babysitter can be a very daunting task. Parents want someone who will be both competent and responsible but also available and flexible. It’s a big job that can be made much easier by knowing who to ask, which questions to ask and certain things to look for. Before you know it, you’ll be headed out for that very much needed date with your spouse. And you’ll be happy knowing that your child is at home with a capable and reliable caretaker.

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