how to find a babysitter

July 18th, 2011

How to Find a Babysitter

It can often prove to be a chore to find a good babysitter. Especially if you have multiple children of varying ages, it can be difficult to find a sitter with the versatility to juggle the differing needs of the children, and at an affordable price.

However, there are plenty of resources for you to locate a babysitter:

1. Friends and Family
What better way to get a babysitter? This is probably your best bet, both financially and for security reasons. Those of us who have large extended families can probably easily find a youngster who needs some extra cash, and whom your kids are already familiar.
Also asking around your neighborhood is a great idea. Suburban neighborhoods are chock full of teenagers that have probably babysat for other members of the community.

2. Agencies
There are a significant number of agencies all over the country that can provide you with a great babysitter. Though chances are high you won’t be familiar with the individual chosen to watch your kids, you can be guaranteed they are qualified, and most likely have had training in emergency situations, which is something not guaranteed by seeking out friends and family.

3. Online Services
There are several websites available that can help you find a babysitter in your area. Services like SitterCity allow you to search for a certified babysitter by zip code. You can also find nannies for longer-term care through some of these services.

4. Posting
This method of locating a babysitter is going to bring you a variety of results. Posting an ad on Craigslist or other job listing service online will probably bring you a high number of responses. You can also consider posting flyers with pull-tabs at local high schools and universities on their community bulletin boards. A lot of students need extra money now and then, and will probably pursue any babysitting opportunity they can find.

So now that you have a lot of responses for a babysitter, it’s time to sort through the candidates. Even if you have qualified candidates from a local service, it doesn’t necessarily mean he or she will be the right fit for your family. You want someone with experience, but you also want them to have good chemistry with you and your children.

1. Phone Interview
Interview all candidates over the phone. Keep note of their tone, enthusiasm, and demonstrated knowledge of working with children. It’s also very important that they ask you questions; it shows a genuine interest in you and your family. Always ask for multiple references, including at least one previous client, as well as expected pay, availability, and any emergency training they’ve had (if you don’t already know).

2. Check References
Create a long list of questions for references. You don’t have to ask all of them, but create enough questions that will make you comfortable. In this case, it’s okay to ask probing questions; after all, this person is going to be watching your children.

3. In-Home Interview
After checking references, pick your top three and have them come in for an in-person interview. This should be a time for you to see how great your chemistry is with the potential babysitter. Let them sit down and interact with your kids; see how they play with them and talk to them. Note any red flags.

After these interviews you should be able to make your decision. Sure, it’s a long and time-consuming process, but you want to make sure that you are hiring someone whom you know will properly take care of your children and whom you will want to bring back every time you need a sitter.

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