Are you heading back to work after your maternity leave? Or perhaps you have three young children and simply need a night out of the house?
While you might think finding the perfect babysitter is simple, it is not as easy as it sounds. After all, you are looking for more than just a reliable, breathing individual.
You are searching for someone who can nurture and engage your children while at the same time, keeping them out of trouble and in line with your household rules.
Challenges With Finding a Babysitter
Finding the right babysitter for your children can present certain challenges depending on:
- The days and times you need a babysitter - While it may be easy to find a teenager willing to take on a few hours of babysitting on a Friday night, finding a great babysitter to watch your children while you are at work through the week can be much more difficult.
- The number of children you have – The babysitters you have worked with in the past may have been the perfect solution for your two toddlers, they may not be able to handle an additional new baby as well.
- Whether your children have special needs - Children with special needs require special care. You may need a babysitter with previous special needs care experience and certification in CPR.
- Your location - If you have lived somewhere for a long time, you may easily be able to find a friend or relative to watch your children while you go back to work or head out on a date. However, what do you do if you have just moved to new location and don’t know anyone?
These challenges make it difficult, but not impossible, to find the perfect sitter. By knowing where to begin your search and knowing what qualities to look for, you can easily overcome these obstacles and find a loving, nurturing, and fun sitter for your children.
Where to Begin Your Search
Finding the right babysitter begins with the initial search:
- Talk to other parents to see who they have hired in the past. Be thorough with your questions about each individual, though. Find out the strengths and weaknesses of the sitters, how many children they sat for, whether they cleaned up after themselves, and whether the kids liked him or her.
- Speak to the youth minister at your local church. He or she may know some responsible young adults or teenagers that might be interested in babysitting.
- Contact your local school. If you are looking for a babysitter for a few hours on the weekend or for after school, call your local school and ask to speak to a home economics teacher. Many students take child care classes in high school, and babysitting is a fantastic way for them to practice what they have learned.
- Find a sitter online. These days, technology allows us to do almost anything, including finding a responsible babysitter. Sites such as www.sittercity.com and www.care.com make it easy to find a reliable, loving, and trustworthy sitter. They provide references, background checks, information on certifications, and profiles for every sitter. You can post the position you need filled on the sites and have the babysitters contact you, or you can search through local profiles and contact sitters directly.
5 Must Have Qualities to Look for When Choosing a Babysitter
Once you have found an individual interested in watching your children, you need to know what qualities to look for during the interview. You may also want to schedule a time when they can come by and be a “mother’s helper” for a few hours.
During this time, you will still be home, but you can test to see how the babysitter interacts with your children and what qualities they display.
Here are five must have qualities you should look for:
- A Connection to Your Child – A caregiver will be with your child for extended time periods. For this reason it’s essential that your child develops a connection to his or her babysitter. Watch how the two of them communicate, the body language, and of course, look for any red flags. Does the sitter talk to your child as another individual or talk “at” him or her. Many skills can be learned, but the ability to connect with your child is something that is either there or not there.
- Reliability - The perfect babysitter should always arrive on time or a little bit early so you can leave on time.
- Respect for You and Your Family - Keep in mind that your views and those of the babysitter’s may not line up. However, a great babysitter will always respect and adhere to your rules, boundaries, and parenting choices.
- Flexibility and Problem Solving – When dealing with children, you have to be ready to deal with almost anything. Whether it’s getting a child’s head unstuck from the stair railing or dealing with a wailing baby who won’t take her bottle, these qualities are important.
- Able to Handle Stress – Not everyone can raise angels, and most parents who think they do are wrong. The perfect babysitter will be able to handle temper tantrums, screaming, crying, and even the most exasperating ‘test’ the children can throw at him or her.
Hiring the right individual to watch your children is important. Make sure to consider these helpful tips the next time you need a new babysitter.