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Babysitter Basics for Parents

Author GreatDad Writers
Submitted 01-11-2007

All parents, at some point or the other, will need to hire the services of a babysitter. However, for many parents, this is easier said than done.

Finding the Right Babysitter

A babysitter essentially fills in for you, the parent, during your absence. To ensure that your child is in safe hands, it is essential that you get the right babysitter for the job. To do so:

  • Find out about potential babysitters by asking relatives, friends, colleagues, or community organizations.
  • Choose a babysitter based on the needs of your child and their age. It’s easier to baby sit a nine-year old than a baby.
  • Do not hire the first candidate who responds. Take time to screen candidates until you are sure that you have found a babysitter who is best for your child.
  • Look for someone who has the required credentials. A candidate with a certificate in babysitting, for instance, is likely to be more professional and competent. At the same time, don’t rely on classroom training alone to judge a babysitter or nanny. Sometimes, babysitting skills are more natural than learned. 
  • Always crosscheck references provided by a potential babysitter.
  • A very good test is to introduce the candidate to your child. This will allow you to evaluate how the prospective babysitter interacts with your child.

Preparing the Babysitter

Before leaving your child in the care of the babysitter you have appointed, it is important that you take some time to prepare the babysitter for the job. To do this:

  • Discuss your expectations clearly.
  • Tell the babysitter about any special requirements that your child might have.
  • Explain to the babysitter how to read the behavioral cues given by your child.
  • Inform the babysitter about any special tricks such as ‘trigger words’ to which your child responds.

After the Babysitting

  • Check in with the babysitter and ask if there is anything to report.
  • Ask what food was eaten, what specifically they did during the time.
  • Take any concerns you have about the care very seriously, and discuss these with the babysitter. If you are still not satisfied, it may be better to look for a new babysitter.