Beyond being trustworthy, a babysitter should be dependable, reliable, and affordable. She should interact with your child well. She should be agreeable and communicative.
It really seems like too much to ask from one person. At any rate, trustworthiness is not something you can compromise on. This is where background checks prove indispensable.
You can check the National Sex Offender Public Website and other free resources for statistics, facts, and registered offenders. You can also comb through your state registry. You don’t have to do this manually; you can use a service like CheckPeople. Below, we discuss how to find someone you can trust with your dearest and most precious person.
Your community is a rich resource, particularly if it has a local youth group, and you don’t mind a younger person watching your child. If the child goes swimming or does another sport, ask if you can leave a card at the local YMCA branch for coaches.
Parents can ask for professional references, LinkedIn profiles, and resumes. Inquire whether the sitter has done CPR or emergency skill training or taken a babysitting class. Where possible and applicable, both parents should be present for the interview. Ideally, introduce your child to the sitter while one or both of you are at home. This way, you can see how they will interact.
Reach out to organizations like the Red Cross or Safesitter, which also offer classes for babysitters nationwide. Some parents hire sitters or daycare teachers through religious organizations because of many of these run background checks. Moreover, they make sure their service providers have undergone specific training.
These are a great place to start. Ask relatives, friends, or coworkers about babysitters they have or continue to use. Before calling anyone that they’ve recommended, ask lots of questions about this person. A sitter who has worked for your bestie might not necessarily work for you.
Eventually, you’ll narrow your choices down to a few people. Then, proceed to interview them to see who’d be most suitable for your child. Signs that the sitter will make a good hire include good references, punctuality, and training. We’ll go into each one of these separately.
The candidate sitter should be able to provide at least three references. Being unwilling or unable to do so raises a red flag. When it comes to your child’s safety, no question is off-limits. Call these references and ask them what they liked and didn’t like about the person.
If they show up late for the interview, it’s clearly a bad sign. It does more than make a poor first impression. The last thing a parent wants to do before a big night out is sit around at home waiting for the babysitter. Lack of punctuality may signal a lack of interest or irresponsibility.
The Right Training
If your children are very small, knowledge of infant CPR and first aid is a big plus. If there is an emergency, you want them to be in good hands, right? You might even pay for the sitter’s CPR classes if she is willing to take them.
The Last Step
Speaking of payment: this is something to be discussed up front. Your location, the age of your child, the number of children, and the sitter’s experience are among the factors that will determine payment. You can ask people you know how much they pay or consult a babysitting app for this information. Many sitters also check such apps to see what rate they can command. On average, the rate for babysitters in the US is just under $12 an hour. Some sites help you determine the rate by assessing the number of children and the sitter’s age and experience.