Finding a good babysitter is one of the hardest things new parents are faced with. It’s only natural to worry and have thousands of questions on your mind as we’re talking about leaving your precious children in someone else’s care. No matter which way you go about it – word of mouth, job ads, or an agency, here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a babysitter.
Trust your instinct
This is not a decision to be taken lightly so give yourself some time to find the right person. Allow for at least a couple of weeks to interview and verify the candidates before hiring someone.
Most HR managers would tell you that they trust their instincts when interviewing someone and this is what you should do. If a prospective babysitter strikes you as odd or you don’t like her for any reason, go with your guts and eliminate them already.
Make sure to talk at length with the ones you do like. For one thing, if they don’t have the patience to talk to you they might not have patience with your kids either. Also, a good babysitter understands all the worries a parent has, especially if it’s their first time hiring someone to look after their children.
Trust your kid’s instinct
When talking to a prospective babysitter it’s best to introduce them to the children they’ll be taking care of. Children are instinctively drawn to nice people. See how they interact with the children, what tone of voice and language they use. Is the babysitter too formal or too strict? Does she have a sense of humor? Is she dismissive of the children? Does she really listen to what a kid has to say or only pretend to?
If your child manifestly dislikes a certain person you don’t want to hire that babysitter and make your kid miserable while you’re not home.
Check references and background
Let’s say you’ve narrowed down your search to a couple of persons. Ask for a list of past employment, read their references and get in touch with the parents the babysitter has worked for. In most cases, other parents will be more than willing to share their experience as they’ve been in your situation and know how you feel about the prospect of having someone else look after your kids.
If you’re almost sure who you’re going to pick there’s one more step and this is an essential one. Ask the babysitter if she’s willing to undergo a background check. If she’s not, show her the door, no ifs, and buts. This should be non-negotiable as you cannot leave your children with someone with a questionable past.
To smooth things out, offer to run the background check like an afp police check or some other valid criminal history check which can usually be obtained online in countries like Australia or New Zealand. Ask the babysitter for her identification information and a recent photo, which is all you need to upload on the website. The process is so easy it can also be done on your mobile phone. The babysitter won’t have to go to any trouble to meet your demand and you’ll have the result sent straight to your email if you apply using a website.
When you talk to a babysitter, make sure she understands you’re in charge of your kids’ care even when you’re not there, what they eat, what they play with when they go to bed, etc. Make sure it’s someone willing to do as told and not a person who thinks she knows best. Your kids, your decision!