8 Things You Should Know About Your Babysitter

by Kerri Zane on March 27, 2015

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BabysitterFor any parent finding and hiring the right babysitter can be stressful. For a single mom the angst is notched up a level. Raising our kids in a single parent household generally means we deal with a lot of guilt.  So, actually attempting to leave your children in the hands of a “stranger” can be unnerving for you and your kids. At the same time, it is imperative that single moms occasionally go out on a date and/or have a social life. Scientific research has confirmed that it is critical to your overall well-being. That means that trusting an outside resource for babysitting is a necessity.

My advice is take time to think about the skills, characteristics and “extras” that are most important to you and your kids. Set up an interview with the sitter, or as Urbansitter, the online babysitting resource suggests, “try a ‘working interview,’ where you can get errands done at home while the sitter watches your kids for the first time.”

Here are 8 things you should know about your sitter before you head out the door for that date.

1. Is Your sitter trustworthy?

Number one on the list is for you feel comfortable and safe leaving your kids with them?  If there’s anything about the sitter that makes you nervous you are not going to relax and your date will be toast. Think about what skills this person has that will get you to your comfort zone. For example, do you want someone who is Red Cross certified? Does your sitter know CPR and first aid? Does he or she know how to administer an Epipen if your kids have severe allergies? Do you have a pool, or another feature in your home that requires special precautions?

2. What do your kids think?

If your kids are old enough to communicate with you, they’ll able to tell you whether the babysitter was fun, or not. Kids are extremely intuitive and they generally have no filter. They’ll tell you how they really feel.

3. Will they clean up?

Everyone loves a sitter who is neat and tidy. Coming home to a house that has been picked up is a blessing.

4. Will they take the kids outside?

We all need fresh air and so do our kids. Find a sitter who can as easily stay in the house with art projects or head out to the backyard or park for some sunshiny play.  My eldest daughter’s first sitter was afraid to walk around our neighborhood, (trust me it was a safe ‘hood), so my daughter never went outside either. Needless to say that sitter didn’t last.

5. Do they love arts-and-crafts projects?

Have you seen the credit card commercial where the sitter helps her charge create a paper mache Eiffel Tower hat? That is what you want. Someone who will get down and artsy with your kids. You might need to pay them a little extra for supplies, but it’s totally worth it!

6. Are they able to follow your discipline style?

You’ve got rules and they can’t be undermined. Make sure your sitter is comfortable with them upfront and they have no qualms appropriately employing them. By the same token, you don’t want someone who might be more dictatorial than your style. Have a very clear and concise conversation.

7. Can they help kids with homework?

While homework might not be a top priority when hiring a sitter it can be helpful if they can support your child’s academic efforts. Ask is this is something they’d be willing to do and what subjects they excel in. There is nothing better than coming home and having homework assignments completed so you can enjoy some fun time with your kids.

8.Do you live nearby and have reliable transportation?

The last thing you need to complicate your life is an inconvenient or unreliable sitter. When you speak with a prospective sitter make sure they have a car or know how to use public transportation. Or better yet can walk or ride a bike to your house!

All of the above information was provided by UrbanSitter. It is a service that replicates the traditional word-of-mouth process that parents rely on to find sitters, but increases efficiency. Parents can view sitters that people in their network (like friends, moms groups, school affiliations, sports teams) already know and trust. The site works much like OpenTable for dinner reservations. Parents can search for sitter availability by date and time and then book jobs (or interviews) in real-time, and it is easy to schedule recurring jobs with favorite sitters. Click here to sign up and see if there’s a convenient and affordable sitter that’s right for you.

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