Find a Babysitter Experience
When looking for a babysitter, one of the most important things you’ll need to consider is a sitter’s experience. While it’s not necessary for a babysitter who is caring for the kids while you go out to dinner to have a PhD in early childhood education coupled with 10 years of childcare experience, you definitely want your sitter to be comfortable around children so that she is prepared to handle whatever comes her way.
In general, the ages of your children and the intensity of care required can help determine the type and amount of experience your sitter has. Parents of newborns typically will require a sitter to have at least a few years of experience caring for newborns while parents of older children may require much less. Although some parents are willing to give a sitter her first break and hire her with no babysitting experience, these sitters have typically completed a babysitting training program, including CPR and first aid training.
Some parents are comfortable hiring teens whose only childcare experience has been caring for younger siblings, while others prefer to hire a seasoned nanny who does babysitting on the side. Although some sitters may not have formal babysitting experience, they may have childcare experience that they’ve gained by volunteering in a church nursery or working as a mother’s helper.
Parents must carefully consider how much experience they require a sitter to have prior to their sitter search. In addition to comfort level, parents should consider the ages of their children and their children’s individual needs when determining how much babysitting experience a potential sitter should have.
10 Ways to Evaluate a Sitter’s Experience
When hiring a babysitter, it is important to make sure that an applicant is a quality person who has had experiences that have prepared them to keep children safe and well cared for. Parents with young children want to be able to leave their kids feeling confident that the sitter will be able to handle any situation or problem that may arise. For this reason, it’s important to evaluate a babysitter’s experience carefully. There are a number of ways to evaluate a sitter’s experience, 10 of which are listed below.
- Ask for a full resume. Ask for prospective sitters to provide a resume. Don’t just ask for childcare experience because prospective sitters may have work experience that it not directly related to children, but is still relevant to being a good babysitter.
- Ask questions in person. Having a conversation about a person’s experiences will help to determine how the person’s experiences have actually influenced them. Rather than just a list on paper, talking about experiences helps them to become real, and can help parents get a real sense of a sitter’s previous experiences.
- Have prospective sitters evaluate their own experiences. Ask applicants to rate each of their past work experiences with a number between one and ten, with one meaning they did a horrible job and ten meaning they did an excellent job. Be wary of applicants who think they deserve all tens because no sitter is perfect.
- Speak with former employers. This is a great way to get a realistic glimpse at how a candidate’s past experience went. Ask open ended questions like “Can you tell me about a time when your sitter had to handle an emergency?”
- Talk to the kids that an applicant has babysat. In addition to talking to parents that a person has worked for, when practical, talking to kids they previously babysat can be useful as well. Ask kids what they liked or did not like about having the applicant as a sitter.
- Observe the sitter. Invite the sitter for a working interview so you can observe her in action with the children.
- Create scenario based questions. Ask an applicant questions in the form of scenarios that might happen while babysitting. “Tell me about a time when a child was crying?” This reveals how prepared they are for the unexpected.
- Ask to see skills demonstrated. If an applicant is certified in CPR and First Aid, it is perfectly acceptable to ask to see a demonstration of any related skills.
- Do a quick Internet search. Searching the Internet, especially local babysitting sites or forums, is a good way to make sure that a sitter hasn’t had any negative experiences that he or she isn’t mentioning.
- Ask for proof of experience. Ask your sitter to provide a list of references that can validate her childcare experience.
It is important for parents to be confident in a babysitter’s skills and character before leaving her alone with kids. By carefully evaluating a sitter’s experience, it will be much easier to relax when leaving the sitter in charge.
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