Leaving your little one alone with someone new for the first time can be scary for both parents and kids. Follow these tips to make sure you select the right babysitter for your family and set them up for success!
Ask for Recommendations
Ask around. It is best to go with recommendations from family and friends you trust. Your child’s teacher may also know someone suitable. Alternatively, online resources like Care.com allow you to search and review local sitters. Contact a few - it’s a good idea to have one or two back-up babysitters in your contact list. Once you have a potential sitter, ask for a list of references and call them.
In addition to asking how long he/she has been providing childcare, ask what types of families they have worked with. Are the families similar to your family? Are the kids the same ages? Were there similar duties they helped with (baths, cooking dinner, homework help, etc)? If they have had similar responsibilities in the past, it will be an easy transition for everyone.
Ask “What If?”
You want to make sure your sitter is quick-thinking and can be prepared for any worst-case scenario. Ask questions like, what would you do if…. Anna started choking on a piece of food? Parker falls down the stairs? A delivery man comes to the front door and you are upstairs with the kids?
Trust your Gut
A candidate might have a remarkable resume, great references and perfect answers for all your questions, but something just seems off. Trust your instincts. Only bring someone into your home that both you and your child feel 100% comfortable around.
Observe an Introduction
Ask them to come over and help out while you are there. Introduce the sitter to your child, and have them supervise in an area where you can observe. If you have an older child, you can ask them to help them with their homework while you prepare dinner. Watch how they pay attention to your child and listen to how your child responds.
Instructions for your Babysitter
Before you walk out the door, make sure to do the following:
- Go over your child's usual routine and general house rules, including any limits on TV and computer use.
- Review a phone list. Make sure the sitter knows where you will be and how to reach you at all times. Your list should include neighbors, near-by friends and relatives, poison control, and your doctor’s contact information. Add your home phone number and address to the list so the sitter can provide to a 911 operator just in case of emergency.
- Show the babysitter where fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and first-aid kit are located.
- Let the sitter know of any special allergies or medical needs, writing down any directions for medication.
- Teach your child about 911 and how to call for help, so that they know what to do in case something happens to your babysitter.
Remember, chances are everything will go smoothly. Following these tips will ensure both your child and sitter feel more comfortable together. You can enjoy your much-needed time alone and feel at ease knowing your child is in good hands!