At some point in our crazy journey of parenthood we’ve all needed a babysitter… Which means we’ve all realized just how virtually impossible it is to find someone who is the perfect fit, and who won’t break the bank.
After over a year as a SAHM, this momma has rejoined the workforce…which also means, I’ve rejoined the someone-else-has-to-watch-my-kiddo-force too.
So, how exactly do you pick the perfect sitter? Note: I have not personally used every resource listed in this post, so please do your own homework and research.
Try sites such as care.com or sittercity.com. They require tons of information from people soliciting their sitter services, and most have background checks available to.
You can even turn to Facebook to the local buy, sell, trade pages as they often contain a vast amount of information. Do your research. Ask for references. Meet with the sitter prior to dropping your child off, and go with your gut.
Your best place to start would be writing down just exactly what you want in a sitter so you can narrow your search down.
- CPR/SIDS/First Aid Certified
If you’re going to have someone with your child during the day, unless you’re going to wrap your kid in a bubble, it’s good to find someone who has been trained for the worst. Things happen. Even under the best care and watchful eye, things happen. If someone is prepared to deal with said “things” then it makes it all the better.
I have found that home childcare ranges from $50-$200/week. I always shoot for somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. It needs to be worth while for you to work. If you’re working just enough to pay for childcare, then what is the point of working? But also remember, you get what you pay for, typically.
Will the sitter be available when you need them to be? Do they offer drop in care or last minute care? Nights? Weekends?
- Meal Plans
Maybe it’s just me but this is a big one. If someone is going to feed my kid junk food all day and sugary juice, I won’t even entertain it. I’m not asking for free range chicken and bacon wrapped filets, but at least hit some different food groups other than “highly processed” and “full of sugar”
- Experience with food allergies
If the potential sitter has no clue what gluten is, and your child has a gluten allergy, this is probably not a good match. I prefer someone who knows the warning signs of a real, true allergy attack and knows when action is needed.
- Punishment tactics
This is a touchy subject. I am not so picky on who punishes my child…but better yet how they punish him. I had a potential sitter tell me that she has spanked children before. She has SPANKED a child that did NOT belong to her. I was baffled. I mean, I can deal with an age appropriate time out, removal from the situation, or even a stern “no”, but lord help the person who lays their hand on my child.
- Activity plan
Coloring? ABCs? Macaroni pictures? Something other than a TV on a constant repeat of a DVRd Peppa Pig? Ask. Seriously.
Are you expecting the potential sitter to come to your home and clean? Take the child to appointments, or play dates? Are you wanting them to help with bottle weaning, or potty training? This all needs to be conveyed and explained.
It’s hard enough to find child care. It’s even harder to find someone you trust.
Do your research. Don’t be scared to ask for references and follow your gut.
Your Mary Poppins is out there.