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Hiring a Babysitter

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 6 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Babysitting Babysitter Childcare Kids

Whether it is for an hour or overnight, when you leave your children with a babysitter you want to make sure that they are in the best hands possible. Though it may seem dramatic, you are literally entrusting this person with the lives of your children, so hiring the right babysitter might just be one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Do away with worthless worrying by using these handy hints for hiring a brilliant babysitter!

Interview Potential Babysitters

This may seem obvious, but for a variety of reasons parents may elect not to interview a potential babysitter. If you are tempted to skip this step, remind yourself that babysitting your children is the most important job in the world and it is your right to interview those that will be keeping your children safe.
  • Ask relatives, friends and neighbours for recommendations.
  • Inquire about any potential babysitter's training. Have they ever taken a childcare course? Are they certified in first aid? Can they perform CPR or the Heimlich Manoeuvre if needed?
  • Follow up on references. One quick call to a former employer can set your mind at ease.
  • Discuss pay rates including any extras like working after midnight or on a certain date (New Year's Eve, Valentines Day, etc.).
  • Follow your intuition. If you feel that someone is being dishonest or shifty but you can't put your finger on it, don't hire them!

Allow Potential Babysitters to Interview You

A brilliant babysitter will be worth his/her weight in gold, and most of them will be well versed in their jobs. Allow them to ask you their own questions to help make their job easier. Be prepared to be asked:

  • If you expect any other work to be carried out besides watching the children (will the kids need to be fed and bathed, are you expecting laundry or cleaning done, etc.), and be prepared for extras to cost extra.
  • If your children have any allergies that a babysitter should know about.
  • If your children take any medications that will need to be administered, and why.
  • The frequency of your babysitting needs. Are you trying to book a sitter for every Friday night, or for an occasional evening out every now and then?
  • If your children are in the middle of any events such as potty training or "the terrible twos."
  • If you will be providing meals for the babysitter as well as your children.
  • If you will provide contact details for yourself, the kids' GP, and any other emergency information you feel might be relevant.
  • If you would allow the babysitter to take the children out of your home, such as to the park or the cinema.
  • Your television and computer/Internet policies.
  • If you will be in the house while the babysitter is employed.

Try a Trial Run

One of the best ways to get a sense of a new babysitter is to invite them over for a trial run with the kids before you leave home. This will give you a chance to:
  • Orient the babysitter to your home.
  • Allow the babysitter to meet your children and allow you to observe their interactions.
  • Discuss your children's routines and your parenting policies on things such as what to do when your child cries, refuses to eat his vegetables, or demands her favourite DVD.
  • Introduce the babysitter to your emergency supplies such as the torch, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, etc.
  • Show the babysitter how to set your house alarm and other locks, if needed.
  • Agree on payment procedures.

Have Fun!

Once you have interviewed potential sitters and watched them with your children, you have every right to pat yourself on the back for making an educated, informed decision. Now put on those dancing shoes and hit the town without kids in tow!

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