Hire a Sitter
Once you’ve found a sitter you wish to hire, offer her the babysitting job. Be sure that job offer is contingent on the results of a background screening, however, if you’re conducting one.
If you want to increase your chances of securing a babysitter when you need one, you’ll want to have a pool screened babysitters at the ready. Having three to five prescreened sitters can help to ensure a sitter is available when you’re in need of one.
Before leaving your babysitter with your children alone, there are a few important things you’ll want to do however.
Give Your Sitter a House Tour
Before leaving your sitter with your children you’ll want to be sure she knows the layout of the land. It’s a good idea to show her where the children’s rooms are, where the food and snacks for the children are kept and where additional toilet paper is stored. You’ll also want to show her where the first aid kit is and where the fuse box and water shut off to the home is.
Review the House Rules and Children’s Schedule
If you don’t want your children convincing your sitter that chocolate is one of the four food groups in your home, you’ll want to be sure to lay down the house rules- as well as your child’s typical routine. Be sure to communicate meal, snack, nap and bedtimes with your sitter as well as screen time, phone and electronics limits – for both her and the kids.
Provide Your Sitter With Written Instructions
Leaving written instructions for your sitter can help to ensure that your children’s needs and your expectations are meant. Provide an outline of how your sitter should spend her time with the children. Be sure to list what the children should be served for food and snacks, as well as what time the children should be put to bed.
Provide Emergency Contact
Whether you’re just heading out to the store of if you’ll be gone for the day, be sure to leave your contact information with your sitter. Leave your full name and home address, the number to poison control and 9-1-1 and the location and phone number for where you’ll be. Leave your cell phone numbers and the number for your nearest neighbor and family friend.
Having your sitter arrive at least 15 minutes before you must depart can allow adequate time for preparing your sitter for her time with your children while you’re away.
10 Tips for Hiring and Managing the Right Sitter
Finding the right sitter for your children will help to ensure their safety and care of your children while in her care. As you consider hiring and managing a sitter, keep these 10 tips in mind:
- Don’t take short cuts. Resist the urge to hire the first sitter you meet. Take time to properly interview and screen a sitter before hiring to care for your children.
- Opt for someone with experience. Look for a sitter who has previous experience working with children. Prior babysitting experience or experience as a camp counselor or teacher may count.
- Consider qualifications. You’ll want to be sure your babysitter is trustworthy, reliable and dependable. A mature sitter who can stay calm even when the kids are causing chaos is essential.
- Rely on references. Take time to consider what others who have employed the sitter have to say. Be sure to listen the references voices and consider what the references don’t say, as much as what they do.
- Choose a sitter you trust. While you don’t want to exclusively listen to your gut you don’t want to discredit it. If you feel a sitter may not be trustworthy, listen to your gut.
- Require first aid and CPR. Be sure your babysitter has current CPR and first aid certification. If she doesn’t insist she does prior to her first sitting assignment.
- Choose someone you’re comfortable with. When considering a sitter be sure you’re comfortable with her. You want to be sure the sitter is compatible with your family and that you’re able to easily communicate.
- Talk about the rules. Make a point to discuss the house rules and any restrictions you place on your sitters with regards to texting and using their phones while caring for the kids. Be sure to let your sitter know if she’s welcome to snacks or if you prefer she bring her own.
- Check-in when you are out. Calling your sitter every five minutes is a bit much, but calling once or twice to check-in while you’re out is acceptable.
- Get a debriefing when you get home. When you arrive home take the time to talk to your sitter about how her sitting experience went. Encourage open and honest communication and insist your sitter do the same.
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