Parent Tips: Choosing a Great Babysitter

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It has been ages since you have been able to go out for dinner – without the children. The grandparents don’t live close by, and your siblings have children of their own. So what do you do when you want a little adult time? You hire a babysitter. But you don’t want just any sitter; your children are precious, and you cannot trust the first sitter that comes along. Finding a babysitter isn’t the easiest task, but once you find one, they are worth their weight in gold. Here are some tips to help when choosing a babysitter for your little ones:

  1. Word of mouth: A great way to find a reputable sitter is to ask other parents whom they use. They already have screened and used that sitter, and can recommend that person for your children. You can also ask teachers at a local school. They will be acquainted with the serious, caring, responsible, and local students who could also use the experience and work.
  2. Screen the sitter carefully: Regardless of how you find a sitter, you still need to interview them carefully. This lets you know if the sitter is a good match for your family. Not only will you learn about their background and credentials, but it will also give you a glimpse into their personality and if it meshes with your family’s dynamics.
  3. References: In addition to interviewing a sitter, you should also check that person’s references. This will give you an idea of the relationship that the sitter had with others, and how the sitter interacted with their children. For example, references will tell you if the sitter engaged the children in games and books, or if they just sat there watching television. However, when checking references, be aware of whom these references are; are they parents or family friends, or are they families like yourself who needed a sitter?
  4. Have a trial session: Because you can never be quite sure what goes on in your home when you aren’t there, a great way to experience a sitter without the worry is to have a trial session. This means hiring the sitter for a few hours while you remain in or close to home. If there are any issues, the sitter can ask or you can intervene, but you can still have some time to yourself or complete chores.
  5. Consider the ages of your children and the sitter: Generally, the younger the children you have, the older the sitter should be. This means that the sitter could have more experience, and could be able to handle the tasks of younger children with more ease. If your children are older, then a younger sitter can gain valuable experience, yet still be at a level to play with your children as one of them.
  6. Credentials: Finally, it could happen – something could happen to your children while you are out. Therefore, you should definitely hire a sitter who has the necessary credentials – first aid and CPR – so that if something should happen, they can address the situation immediately and with expertise. Local Red Cross***chapters and YMCAs offer babysitting courses to kids 11-17 and may be a great resource.  After the kids take the class they look for clients!  Also make sure you ask about previous babysitting experience and any issues they encountered – this information can hint at their abilities in a situation.

Choosing a sitter for your children should not be a quick affair. Take the time to find just the right one that both you and children like. This will help you create and maintain a long-lasting and satisfying professional relationship.

***here is access to the Red Cross Training Manual – you can see what babysitters should learn know  http://editiondigital.net/publication/?i=55877

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Thomas Learning Centers provides NECPA accredited preschool and childcare at the most affordable rates in the Denver Metro Area.  Check us out at http://www.thomaslearningcenters.com , click on the offers below, drop in for a visit to get to know more about us. We’d love to meet you!

Call  877-938-1442 for general info

Lakewood 303-237-0917 or Westminster 303-427-8831

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