‘Tis the season when parents need to go to evening holiday activities without the kids. Seeking to hire babysitters should be a serious consideration for them. When you entrust the care, safety and health of your children to a stranger, whether a teen or a mature person, you should follow some sensible rules that will assure your children of the best of care.
1. Know the babysitter’s family: If it is stable and loving, you can expect the babysitter to behave in that manner with your child. A babysitter from a disruptive family may not be the best choice. If the approved family lives nearby and you know them as neighbors and friends, that makes your choice easier.
Additionally, the fact that the families are friends can assure you that the babysitter will need to be on her best behavior while at your house. Another advantage is that the babysitter can call her own family for help if there’s an emergency or question about childcare that requires a quick answer.
2. While good grades are not necessarily a requirement for babysitter skills, they always indicate a responsible attitude to school work and everything else in the teen’s life. In interviewing potential babysitters, you may want to ask about school grades, extracurricular activities and volunteer work. If you’re considering several candidates, this information could give you an opportunity to choose the one who’ll be most compatible with your kids.
3. Ask all potential babysitters for references from other families where they’ve cared for the children. Call the families and ask if they’re satisfied with the babysitter’s behavior.
4. If you plan to be away overnight when babysitting and additional childcare and meals are necessary, determine if the babysitter is reliable and mature enough for that job. In this situation, you may give specific orders and expect them to be obeyed that forbid smoking, drinking, long phone conversations, unauthorized visitors or other misbehavior.
You must be absolutely certain that the babysitter will honestly and thoroughly follow your instructions. You should expect nothing less than competent care for your child(ren) until you come back the next day.
5. If you’ll be away frequently, especially overnight or longer, you should consider hiring a bonded and insured babysitter from a professional agency. You should check references and plan to interview several candidates to find the one you believe will be most compatible for your family.
Hiring babysitters is a serious responsibility, and should be done by parents with a combination of thorough research and common sense.