Finding a reliable babysitter can be a daunting task. Where do you look? Who do you call? And what happens when the sitter you do have goes on vacation?
Throughout our years of parenthood, we've come to know the value in finding babysitters you like, respect, and trust. It takes time, but it is possible to assemble a group of go-to caregivers you can call in a pinch. Here are the things we look for:
The Right Qualifications:
Decide what's important to you, and then make sure your sitter has that type of training or relevant credentials. For example, maybe you should consider someone trained in first aid, early childhood education, or child psychology. Either way, it's important to think about and decide on the background you want your sitter to have.
The Right Recommendations:
Testimonials and recommendations are important. They give you a window into how a particular candidate will work with your children. Read over all relevant reviews and check out video testimonials. Most important, obtain contact information and verify recommendations directly from the source. This will also give you the opportunity to ask any questions you might have about a potential sitter.
The Right Fit:
A babysitter might have a laundry list of credentials and recommendations based on years of experience, but if his/her personality doesn't fit with your family, those qualifications are meaningless. Just like anyone else you let into your home for extended periods, you should like and respect your sitter. Try meeting a prospect in public before inviting them into your home. Go to lunch, meet for coffee, and ask questions. You can often accurately evaluate a potential babysitter based on this initial meeting.
The Right Perspective:
Any babysitter you hire should have the right outlook and be professional about the job at hand. He/she should be mature, respectful, and have a propensity to follow rules. Does your babysitter have good manners? Does he/she show up on time? These are two important benchmarks to look for, as they often give you insight into how things will operate after you leave your home. If you can, ask these two questions when you contact your candidate's recommendations.
The Right Goals:
You can learn a lot about a person from goals and aspirations. Find out what your babysitter plans to do in the future and how they fit into society at large. Does your babysitter spend time volunteering or raising money for charity? Does he/she have greater goals in terms of education and qualifications? Is your sitter committed to or involved with any community service organizations? Just like colleges and companies look at "extracurricular activities" when admitting or hiring potential candidates, so should you.
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Tip: Score each potential candidate based on the above categories. Assign 20 maximum points to each one, and add them together to reach your overall score out of 100. Did your candidate pass? What score is acceptable to you? And why did you decide on that specific number?