Parents looking for a night out or last-minute childcare usually turn to a tried-and-true solution: babysitters. Whether you look at a professional service or hire a local friend, finding a reliable babysitter is truly an immensely helpful accomplishment. But plenty of parents struggle with knowing exactly what they should expect from their evening childcare provider. Some may have impossibly high standards, while others may have few to none. What should parents keep in mind when hiring a babysitter?
What to Look for in a Babysitter
Babysitters come with a range of experience and skills, and it’s not realistic to expect anyone you find to be the perfect fit for you and your children. However, there are several things you can reasonably require before hiring a babysitter. Here are several factors to look for:
- Good chemistry with kids
- Reliable transportation
- CPR and first aid knowledge
- Childcare experience and knowledge
1) Good Chemistry with Kids
This should go without saying. A babysitter should not only enjoy working with children, but also be genuinely good at it. Can they play and have fun with the kids without letting them stay up all night or eat all the snacks in the house? Do the kids look forward to seeing them again? Do the parents feel comfortable leaving the house with them in charge? The answers to all these questions are important in the hunt for a quality babysitter.
2) Reliable Transportation
Like any employee, a babysitter should be able to arrive at work at the scheduled time and be responsible for transporting themselves home afterward. This means that reliable transportation is essential. Since teenagers and young adults without vehicles of their own often work babysitting jobs, reliable transportation could mean taking a public bus, riding a bike, or hitching a ride with available family members. The exact mode of transport isn’t important. The bottom line is that anyone you hire should be able to get to your house on their own.
3) CPR & First Aid Knowledge
Any babysitter you hire should know how to handle an emergency situation. After all, very young children can easily choke on food or toys, and no one is completely safe from heart troubles. Does the babysitter know what to do if the kids need immediate first aid? Ask about Safe Sitter certificates or any type of first aid training they may have had.
While it’s impossible to predict every single emergency that could occur, it also pays to ask about other situations where first aid isn’t the proper response. For instance, what if someone tries to break into the house? How should the babysitter respond? Safe Sitter classes cover these situations as well. As a parent, you should always ask how your childcare provider would handle any type of bad situation.
Like in any job, references are important. Ask your neighbors if they know the potential babysitter and what they can tell you about them. The more responsible and kid-friendly the potential babysitter is, the higher the chances that you can trust them with your child’s care.
Pro Tip: Babysitters often get their start looking after family members or local kids. See what their family has to say about their childcare skills too.
5) Childcare Experience & Knowledge
On your hunt for references, it’s also good to ask about the caretaker’s experience and/or knowledge of babysitting. Experience can be rather loosely defined. For instance, someone who has never babysat for money but is always watching and playing with their siblings or local kids could qualify. They know how to keep kids safe and happy, after all!
Finding a Reliable Babysitter
A trustworthy babysitter is truly a treasure for parents and children alike. Find someone you like and can trust and that works well with your kids. Give yourself peace of mind when you go out.