Choosing the Best Babysitter for Your Special Night Out!
Ready for an adult only night on the town? Or maybe there is an upcoming dinner party that you just don’t want to miss? Maybe you’re looking for a long-term regular sitter. Regardless, as much as you love your child, sometimes you just need a well-deserved breather.
Of course, you aren’t just going to trust the care of your child to the first person you bump into on the street (or maybe you will, maybe you live in a small neighborhood). You should always have a solid, dependable babysitter (and a back-up for when schedules conflict). So what do you do when a family member isn’t an option? How do you go about finding one of these handy-dandy guardians of children?
In friends you trust: the best way to find someone is to ask around. Ask your friends, family members, neighbors, co-workers, even other parents at your child’s school or daycare. Word of mouth generally comes with built-in recommendations that you can trust. Or maybe you’ll find a willing neighborhood teen who would be happy to do the task just by asking around.
If you are unable to find a babysitter through word of mouth, try local or community spots that may have bulletin boards. There are also websites like care.com and sittercity where you can post an advertisement. These are also especially helpful if you are looking for someone more experienced or for a recurring sitter or nanny. Potential sitters must pay for their profiles on these websites, can undergo background checks per request, and previous parental customers can leave reviews. The pay rate will likely be higher than a neighborhood teen but with higher pay, comes more experienced and serious babysitters.
Ah, now for the fun part: interviewing. A phone interview is always a good place to start, exchange the basics and see if it’ll be a fit. If applicable, ask for and check references. From there you’ll meet the potential candidates and go into more in-depth details and questions. Discuss all of the requirements and expectations (do you need someone for just one night? On a reoccurring basis? Do you need meal prep? Someone with a car?). See how they interact with your child and if they jive well together. If you are interviewing a younger teen, it is a good idea to have their parents with them for the interview.
Always be honest about you and your child’s needs and expectations. Leave thorough instructions (when in doubt, write it out!) with your child’s schedule and preferences, emergency numbers, and information. Show your babysitter around the house and where to find the things they’ll need and how to use gadgets such as the TV, phone, locks, etc. The more informed they are, the better.
And finally, after the first sitting, ask both the babysitter and your child (if possible) how it went. Follow up and make sure that it is still a good fit. Always trust your instincts. If you get a certain vibe, go with it. Parental instincts are rarely wrong!
Be sure to always have a back-up on the off chance it doesn’t work out or if there is a scheduling conflict. When you are scheduling a babysitter, try and do some enough in advance so no one is scrambling.
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