It is very important to know how to find a good babysitter as no one can be a parent all the time. Parents need to take time for themselves and each other. Most children delight in their favorite babysitter as much as tired parents anticipate a treasured night out. Unfortunately, the flip side prevails with other children.
Some children are panicked by the sound of a doorbell, fearful that a stranger is about to enter and Mom and Dad will leave. The best babysitter is a friend, relative or someone you and your child know well. Because that’s not always possible, here are some suggestions on how to find a reliable babysitter:
• Call neighbors, friends, and the local high school counselor and ask for recommendations. Some hospitals, organizations, churches and synagogues sponsor babysitting training for their young members.
• Interview potential babysitters in your home so you can see how they interact with your children. Ask questions that reflect the babysitter’s ability to handle common situations, such as what they would do if a child were injured.
• Establish rules. To avoid misunderstandings, agree on a fee in advance. Some babysitters require travel time or a guarantee if you should cancel. Discuss whether it’s all right for the sitter to have company while working. It’s a good idea to ask a babysitter to come to your home 15 minutes before your departure time so you can review details and help your child get acclimated. Be sure to say whether any parts of your home are off limits, whether the babysitter is to clean up after herself or your child and what is available for snacking.
• Prepare the babysitter. Discuss your youngster’s likes or dislikes as well as any routines your child is accustomed to. This will make your time away from home easier on everyone. It’s also helpful to leave a list of favorite games, books and foods as well as any instructions about television or video games. Make suggestions about books to read aloud to your child or games to play.
• Prepare your child for the time you will be away. Explain that the babysitter is acting as your substitute for a little while. Review the normal rules with the sitter and your child. Include bedtime and bath expectations.
• Leave emergency numbers and information about where you will be on your refrigerator or by the phone. If you’ll be out of town, it’s wise to leave a form consenting to medical treatment for your child.
• Say goodbye. When it’s time to go, go. It will be easier for both of you if the sitter and your child are occupied at departure time.
• Call home. Limit yourself to one call while you’re out. Tell your kids that if they have cooperated with the babysitter when you call, they’ll earn an extra bedtime story the next night. If you find a babysitter with whom you and your children are comfortable, hope the babysitter is available next time.