• Ask Around
Check with your friends, neighbors and co-workers! See who they use or if they know someone that they would recommend. Also you can check with your church’s youth ministry too!
• Check with a local Non-Profit or Community Center
Non-profits like the YMCA, United Way or your local community centers may offer babysitting classes. They also might have a list of graduates that are available to baby sit in your area.
• Community College or University
Check with your local Community College or University to see if they have classes in early education? If they do, they may also have a list of young people that would be willing to baby sit and would also appreciate the experience!
• Go Online
You can go to www.babysitters.com to find a local babysitter or place an advertisement on a website like craigslist. If you do this though, be sure to meet with the person ahead of time, and check references!
• Check with local daycares or churches with morning preschools
You can call a couple of daycares in the area to see if they have childcare workers that also baby sit in the evenings or on the weekends. This way you will get someone with plenty of experience!
What do you do once you have some people to choose from?
• Meet Face to Face
Schedule interviews and don’t forget to have your children join you. They will be happiest with the decision if they can be a part of it too. Go with your gut feelings. Sometimes we will have an intuition of who is the best person for the job.
• Ask Questions
Make a list of questions to ask each candidate. Ask questions like these: What experience do they have? Why do they want to baby sit? What would they do in the event of an emergency? What would they expect to be paid? How would they handle it if an older child did not obey them?
• Get References
Before the interview ask each person to bring references with them. After the interview be sure to call and check the references and see if they are consistent with your impressions of the potential baby sitter.
What do you do once you have made your decision?
• Write up a Small Contract
It isn’t a bad idea to draw up a small agreement between the two of you. In the agreement, you might want to include your decision about pay, availability, emergency situations…etc., so when the occasion arises you will both know what is expected
• Make a List for that First Day
Make a list for the first day. Include information on how to reach you, neighbors they can call, how to handle emergencies, instructions or how to feed or give medicine, allergies, bedtime routines…etc. You might want to put together a little notebook if you will have multiple sitters with all the information they might need in one place.
• Welcome your New Sitter
Think of ways to make your sitter feel like she is welcome. Have special snacks or gifts for her. Be sure to tell the children, in front of the sitter that you expect them to behave and listen to the sitter.
• Be Considerate
Be considerate of your sitter’s time. If you tell her to be there at a certain time, then start paying her for that time, whether you leave on time or not. Come home on time too, and be sure to call if you are going to be late. The more considerate you are the more likely you will be to keep your babysitter!
• Show Respect and Appreciation!
Do what you say you will do. Stick to the agreement and ask for feedback too. Be sure to take time to do special things for the sitter to say how much you appreciate them. You can tip or leave little gifts with a card saying how much she means to you and your children.