Finding the perfect babysitter can be an incredibly daunting and complicated task for any parent. As a Mum or Dad, you’re probably not new to over thinking! What-ifs flood your mind at the thought of leaving your little cheeky monkeys with a stranger. Will I be able to trust the babysitter? What if something goes horribly wrong? Will my children get along with the sitter? The list of what-ifs is endless and can cause any parent to become overwhelmed.
However, at some point you’re probably going to need to hire a babysitter. You might have a well deserved date night planned with your other half or you might get stuck late at work. Having children is a selfless act and it’s easy to neglect your own life, however, it is beneficial to both you and your children for you to have some time apart.
Read on to discover our 7 tips on how to find a babysitter that will put your mind to rest!
#1 Finding a babysitter
There are many ways of finding and hiring a sitter. Some people are lucky and have family and friends that are willing to babysit for them. Although, this is not always the case for all parents. However, thanks to the internet and the increase in babysitting platforms such as Babysits, finding a babysitter has never been easier! These sites serve to connect parents and babysitters and are a cheaper option than hiring a babysitter via an agency. Some parents may be reluctant to hire a ‘stranger off the internet’ but there are a number of steps you can take to avoid any potential issues. To find a suitable babysitter, browse the options available and make sure to read through each profile thoroughly. Profiles that are detailed, well-written and include photos are the most trustworthy. Feel free to contact multiple babysitters at once as this will give you an idea of which babysitter will fit best with your family!
#2 Meeting the babysitter
Meeting the babysitter in person before he/she starts caring for your kids is recommended (especially if you have never met this person before). You’ll be able to discuss your requirements, fees and expectations. Make the rules and responsibilities of the job clear from the get go. You will also be able to gauge whether or not the babysitter will fit in with your family dynamic. It is recommended to meet in a public space such as a coffee shop or a cafe so both parties feel safe and comfortable.
#3 Questioning the babysitter
Now’s the time to start asking questions! Don’t hesitate about asking difficult questions. After all, this person will be looking after your kids so it’s important for you to get to know the babysitter as best as possible! Ask about how they handle emergencies and their previous babysitting experiences. Also, encourage the babysitter to ask questions in return. This will help the babysitter see whether or not they are capable of the job and its expectations.
#4 Observing the babysitter
Want to see how the babysitter interacts with children? Bring your kids with you to the initial meeting and simply observe how well they connect with each other. Does the babysitter greet the children, or just you? Does the sitter make an effort to talk to the kids, or does he/she ignore them? By subtly observing the interactions between the children and the sitter, you will be able to make an executive decision of whether or not this person will fit in with your family and the expectations you have. Your children will also be able to offer a third judgement on the compatibility of the babysitter and your family. Make sure to get their opinion as they could pick up on aspects of the babysitter that you completely overlooked!
#5 Background check
Checking references and undertaking a background check is another great way of ensuring that the potential babysitter is suitable for the job. You can check their social media pages and/or carry out a formal background check. When checking references, consider the previous families that have hired the babysitter. Are these families like yours? How many children do they have? Are the kids around the same age? Did the babysitter have the same duties that you’re expecting? If the previous families are similar to yours, it means that the sitter will have had experience handling similar responsibilities and challenges.
#6 Doing a trial run
If you’re still a little worried, you can arrange a trial run. The babysitter can come and care for your children for a few hours and you can see how well it goes. Some parents prefer to stay in the house during the trial run so feel free to do so. Staying in the house will allow you to see how the sitter interacts with the children and you will be able to get feedback from both the sitter and your children. Doing a trial run will benefit everyone as it’s important for the babysitter and the children to get along. If they don’t get along from the get-go, issues could arise in the future.
#7 Trusting your gut
If after all of these steps you still feel slightly sceptical about a certain babysitter, trust your gut instinct! If something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t. Hire a babysitter that doesn’t raise any red flags and works to make you and your children feel comfortable.
This article was written by Ines Fenner from Babysits, the babysitting community of the UK.