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Top 10 Tips for Finding a Good Babysitter

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On the hunt for a babysitter? Here’s what you should look out for.

By MochaManual.com Staff

Attention Moms! Having trouble finding a great babysitter to watch your child? Finding a babysitter is important and can be easier than you think. Check out these tips on how to locate a babysitter that is perfect for your family and lifestyle:

1) Use who you have. There are probably tons of people around you on a daily basis who may know the perfect place to start looking for a babysitter. Start by asking friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors, doctors and parents in your pediatrician’s office for referrals. If no one around you has any tips, try the Internet. There are plenty of professional placement agencies as well as Craigslist. While Craigslist can be a little scary for some people, lay out exactly what you are looking for, hours, and hourly rate on the post. Also, don’t give out your phone number — only let people contact you through e-mail.

2) Conduct a telephone interview before an in-person interview. You can tell a lot from a person by how they sound and act on the phone. Let the phone interview be a chance for the potential candidate to explain their background, experience, etc.

3) Check their references. Once you find some potential candidates, have them provide at least three references for you to personally contact and make sure they actually have experience. Call each and every reference they provide to see if what they’ve told you thus far is true and if the person feels that they would make a great candidate for a babysitter. If their references check out and the telephone interview went well, ask them to come to your home to meet you and your children.

4) Make sure they enjoy interacting with children rather than receiving a paycheck. To ensure that they actually like spending time with children, have them watch your children while you’re home. Don’t stand over them, but be nearby so you can observe and hear how they interact with your children. It’s also important to see how they play with your children, if they’re creative and come up with interesting ways to entertain your children rather than placing them in front of the television.

5) Run a background check. This may seem invasive, but it is necessary to ensure that your child is safe with the babysitter and that you too feel comfortable leaving your children alone with them. Many online babysitting services offer background checks but if not, do one yourself.

6) Pay attention to any and all questions potential candidates ask. Questions such as, “What activities do your children enjoy?” show that the person is dedicated and interested to the position. If you spend a half an hour talking to them during the interview and they have no questions for you, chances are they are probably just looking for some money. Dedicated babysitters will want to know what children like to do, how to get them to go to bed, when to call you, etc.

7) Ask about babysitting courses and certifications. If the potential candidate is young, ask about any babysitting courses take,n such as one offered by the Red Cross. The courses not only teach how to care for children, but they require students to be certified in first aid. You can’t put a price on your child’s safety, so find one with the adequate courses and certifications.

8) They’re able to respond appropriately and quickly during emergency situations. It’s especially important with small children since they tend to get themselves in all kinds of situations from swallowing objects to falling, so make sure the caregiver you choose stays calm in stressful situations. Also, make sure they know CPR as well as other lifesaving techniques, just in case they have to use them. During the interview, ask some scenario questions involving emergency situations by saying “What would you do if…?” and see how they respond.

9) Ask your children how they feel about the babysitter. While this may not apply with small children, ask your children if they feel comfortable, as well as what they liked and disliked about the babysitter. If your children don’t feel comfortable or aren’t having a good time with the babysitter, it may be time to find another.

10) See how the babysitter reacts to your rules and routines. If your child has certain medication, food allergies, etc., make sure the babysitter understands and is willing to do what they need to in regards to any medical conditions your child may have. Also, if there is a certain time your child has to take medication, go to bed, have dinner, etc., make sure the babysitter respects that. As far as routines go, if you have a bedtime routine or like to get the children involved with dinner by setting the table, etc., make sure the babysitter knows exactly what you would like them to do. If you don’t communicate with them, you can’t expect them to know what to do.

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