These days, fewer and fewer families live near relatives, so it’s less feasible for parents in need of a night out to drop off their little ones at grandma’s or another loved one’s house. If you’re one of those moms or dads who doesn’t live within a reasonable distance to your family members, you might be unsure how you can find someone trustworthy to care for your kids. Here are a few suggestions to do just that.
The best way is to get a recommendation from other parents you know. With them, you can do a pre-screening and ask such questions as:
- How long have you used the baby sitter?
- What kinds of activities does the baby sitter do with the kids when you are gone?
- What do you pay per hour?
- Have you ever had any issues with the baby sitter?
If it seems like the baby sitter would be a good fit for your family, ask for the sitter’s contact information. Give the potential sitter a call to set up a time for him or her to come over to meet the family and interact with the kids in front of you. This will give you a gut feeling as to the sitter’s personality and whether you would feel comfortable leaving your kids with him or her.
Another way to search for a dependable baby sitter is to team up with other families who are in similar situations and trade watching kids while the other couple goes out. The extra bonuses for this option are that you actually personally know who is caring for your beloveds AND it can be a fun play date for your child. If you are wary about “keeping it even,” then you can use a website to set up a point system to prevent someone from taking advantage of the relationship.
College towns tend to have a deeper pool of potential sitters. Contact the college’s education department to see if they have a bulletin board of those interested in baby-sitting. Early and elementary education majors typically make great baby sitters and will sometimes test out what they are learning in their classes on your children. A true win-win!
If you are new to your area, or your social circle isn’t made up of fellow parents, you could always begin the search online. Many cities have secure websites that you can tap into to find local baby sitters, or consider nationally known pay-for-membership sites. The benefit of sites like these is they run the background checks for you and allow you to post a job listing that will let the candidates contact you if they are interested.
No matter how you go about finding a baby sitter, be sure to request references and a list of relevant training (such as CPR), and interview them beforehand, especially if you do not know them. Have them meet your children ahead of time so you can observe how they interact, and later, get your child’s input. If you are ever uncomfortable with a baby sitter, don’t feel like you have to continue to use him or her. When it comes to safeguarding the most important little people in your life, you don’t need a “good reason” to find someone new!