Just as you’ve come to terms with being a new parent, and caring for your beautiful baby is slightly less terrifying than when you first brought them home, comes the next big step – finding a babysitter you can trust.
Most new parents are anxious about leaving their newborn with people as trustworthy as their own family, so finding a babysitter is doubly hard. How do you find someone that you believe will treat your baby with the love and care you do, and what advice for new parents is there readily available?
1. Use a Babysitting App.
On the face of it, this sounds a rather cold way of finding a babysitter; but use the right Babysitting app, and you could find it pays dividends.
www.urbansitter.com connects parents with trusted sitters and nannies for a monthly or annual fee (babysitters rates are additional). You can search by day, or post a job and see personally recommended babysitters. Sitters build profiles with reviews, repeat families, video background checks and more.
Urbansitter is available in many cities so that you can arrange a sitter for those unexpected (or expected!) trips away too. Jobs are paid for with a quick tap – simple!
www.sittercity.com has been around since 2001, and matches parents and care providers. Having been established for some time, it’s more likely to be in your town if you live outside a major metropolitan area.
The site asks you to tell them your family’s needs, allows you to review responses and detailed profiles and screen, interview and make your choice. It boasts that 95% of U.S neighborhoods have used Sittercity and that 2,000+ new, local babysitters join every day. Basic membership is free, with a monthly fee due when using.
Most babysitting apps charge for signing up to their service – either a one-off registration fee or annual membership, and some can be difficult to cancel should you not like them. To avoid unwelcome fees or nuisance messages, check the app and online reviews before giving your details.
2. Best Babysitter Websites.
Like the apps, website childcare is just a click away, with the best babysitting websites providing all the resources needed to find a babysitter that will meet your standards. Some, like Sittercity, even have a Trust and Safety page, giving advice for new parents on hiring a babysitter or nanny with confidence.
Many have pages that answer important questions, such as how much you should pay your sitter according to your area, how to run background checks (if not included) and how the website verifies its sitters.
Some Babysitter Websites also offer an online chat service you may find invaluable. Affording you the opportunity to ask questions perhaps not mentioned on the website, they also offer an insight into the customer service you can expect from the company.
3. Finding a Reliable Babysitter.
Whether in a relationship or a single parent, an absent babysitter can mean lost wages, clients – or even a job, so reliability is key to your childcare needs.
If you have downloaded a babysitting app, or have access to a babysitting website, read the reviews for potential sitters which will include reliability. As most sitters rely upon good reviews for repeat business, it stands to reason that the majority will be reliable.
Ask your friends and neighbors, family or groups such as your local church for reliable local sitters. You probably won’t be able to run background checks on teenagers still at school, but the recommendation of a close friend who loves and uses someone regularly may prove useful in your search to find a babysitter. Bear in mind though, that word-of-mouth recommendations often lead to booked up sitters, so availability may be limited.
If you live in a larger city or suburb, you may have local, nonprofit agencies that can help by offering information about individual sitters and people offering daycare out of their home. Local libraries may also have leaflets or brochures offering information on child care.
It sounds obvious, but if you have a candidate you are interested in, whether from a babysitting app, website, friend or relation – ask for references – and actually call them.
4. What to Look for in a Babysitter.
After you’ve asked for recommendations and looked around online, you’ll quite possibly have a list of potential babysitters.
So how do you choose who’ll be right for the job?
It’s important to ask what age they are more experienced with. You may decide not to shortlist someone who has only worked with older children if you are looking for someone to care for your newborn or toddler – particularly if they are a teenager and not professionally trained.
Ask about certifications in CPR and First Aid for children. They should be a staple for professional babysitters, but teenagers may not have either, so you may need to decide how important this is in your decision making – particularly if you want your babysitter to engage your children in activities.
Do you like the appearance of your candidate? Are they clean, well-spoken and dressed, and (when interviewed) relaxed around your baby or toddler? Children are little sponges and will soak up the example your babysitter will set. Make it the right one.
5. Questions to ask when Interviewing Potential Babysitters.
It’s very easy during interviews for babysitters, to get carried away chatting about your child(ren), their personalities and behavior, only to find when your candidate has left, that you forgot to ask the important questions you had thought about beforehand.
Write a list of questions you feel it’s important to know the answer to, for example:
- What would you do if you were locked out of the house with no phone, but my child(ren) were inside?
- Tell me some of the things you’ve achieved while babysitting that you’re proud of.
- What do you love most about looking after children?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you have any allergies/disabilities that I should be aware of?
- How important is it to you to stick to mealtimes or nap schedules?
- What makes you think you would be a good choice for my childcare?
- Tell me how you would spend your time looking after my child(ren)
- Do you have your own transportation, and if so – what is it, and do you have an unblemished driving record?
- Tell me how you decide when, and how, to discipline.
- Do you believe in following a parent’s instructions absolutely – or do you believe that you should be allowed to make your own decisions when appropriate? Give me an example of such an incident.
It doesn’t matter if your child is being babysat for an hour, or a day – you want their interaction with their babysitter to be positive, and hopefully educational!
Finding a suitable babysitter can be complicated, frustrating and often a case of trial and error. A sitter that is perfect for one family, may be completely wrong for another due simply to different personalities, but rest assured – once you meet the right one, you won’t look back!
How did you find the perfect babysitter?
Share with us in the comments below!