The truth is we all need a break from our children. Mommy and Daddy need a date night and Mommy just needs some time to be herself, apart from just being Mommy. However, I am not so naive to think that finding a babysitter is an easy problem to solve. It can be anxiety-inducing, especially if you are a new mom and you aren’t leaving your child (or children) with someone that isn’t a family member you trust with your life. However, with a little time and preparation, a date night or just leaving the house for a bit doesn’t have to feel like a giant leap of faith. Here are my 8 tips for finding a babysitter, or as I like to call them “sanity savers.”
8 Tips for Finding a Babysitter
1. Try to avoid finding a babysitter online.
If possible, try to avoid finding a babysitter online. I know that family members aren’t always an option. However, try to use your resources. Turn to the people you trust and ask for their go-to list.
However, if you need to look online for a babysitter the following tips are still important to follow.
2. Background check and references.
Does a background check sound crazy? Honestly, not in the world we live in today. We want to make sure our children are safe and being left in capable care. There are many ways you can go about this. For example, identity confirmation, social media check, and CPR/First Aid verification. It can take many steps and it really depends on how long you will be using the babysitter, how well you know the babysitter personally, and your specific needs as a family. For instance, if you need your babysitter to do a lot of driving then you might want to check into their driving record. For more ways to do background checks and detailed steps click here.
References are extremely important. Ask for a list of references and call them! Here are some examples of questions to ask your babysitter’s references:
- How long did they babysit for you, and how often?
- Why aren’t they babysitting for you anymore?
- Did they follow the rules of your house?
- Did your kids like them? What did they like?
- Do you think they could handle an emergency?
- Would you hire them again?
3. Set up a public interview.
I like to use a two-step interview process. The first step is to set up a public interview. You can meet at a restaurant or coffee shop. I like the idea of keeping the first meeting public and kid-free. This way if you just don’t think it will be a fit then you didn’t get your home or children involved. Here are some questions you should/could ask:
- How much do you charge?
- What do you look for in an employer?
- Do you live nearby? Do you have a car or a reliable form of transportation?
- What are your views on discipline?
- Are you looking to babysit for a family long term?
- How do you deal with fussy babies?
- How would you handle a situation where the children refuse to go to bed?
- Tell me about a difficult babysitting situation you’ve faced and how you handled/resolved it?
- How many families have you babysat for? How old were their kids?
- Do you know CPR? Do you know first aid?
4. Set up an in-home interview.
If the first interview went well and you didn’t see any red flags then I think you should set up an in-home interview. This will give you the chance to see how the babysitter will react to being in your environment. Above all, this will give you the chance to see how they will interact with your children. You really want someone that enjoys children and seems excited to go to work and spend time with your kids.
5. Evaluate the personality types of your potential babysitter and your children.
This isn’t to spoil your children, but the truth of the matter is some personalities don’t mix. You want to make sure you find a babysitter that pairs well with your children’s strengths and struggles. Your children need to feel comfortable and know that they can depend on the babysitter when you aren’t around.
6. Trust your instincts.
Mommy’s gut is something that I will never argue with and I have learned to put a lot of stock into my gut instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, even if you can’t verbalize it, move along. Start looking for someone else if it doesn’t feel right.
7. Make a prepared and informative exit.
Once you have made a decision be ready to make a prepared and informative exit, especially at first until everyone starts getting into the groove of a routine. Make sure you give the babysitter cell phone numbers, the number to the places you will be at, local hospital number, and the phone numbers of neighbors or friends that you trust.
Be sure to leave detailed instructions on your babies’ or children’s schedules. Children are creatures of habit so you need to make sure the sitter is able to fulfill what the child is used to especially when it comes to a bedtime routine. If your children have any allergies or have to take certain medicines then make sure you leave detailed instructions for that as well.
Have your sitter come over before their first night of babysitting to allow them time to get the lay of the land and give time for your children to get used to them. Give them a tour and be sure to point out the important things. For example, security systems, door locks, etc…
8. Last tidbits of advice.
- Don’t rush the decision process.
- Take notes, especially during the interviews, so that you can refer back to them to help you make a decision.
- Consider hiring a teacher from your child’s school because these individuals will already have child safety training, passed a thorough background check, and your children might already know them and be comfortable with them.
In conclusion, this might sound overwhelming. However, if you get lucky and find someone that wants a longterm job then you won’t have to do this each time you want to go out. Plus, knowing you put this much effort into finding the right babysitter will help give you a little peace of mind while you are away from your children. I hope you find these 8 tips for finding a babysitter helpful.
Do you have any tips for finding a babysitter? I would love to read about them in the comments.
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“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31