For a parent, there’s not much more daunting a challenge than leaving your kids in the care of a stranger, so when it comes to hiring a babysitter for your children, the process can be incredibly tough. For many families, babysitters are a necessity and can help family life run a lot smoother, so we’ve come up with some tips to make the entire process easier and less of a worry for you.
Compare Different Options
There are countless ways to find a babysitter these days with more and more options available online. Just searching for a babysitter in your local area can inundate you with hundreds of results, but you should take your time to sift through them all until you find a few you’re happy with. Once you’ve chosen them, you can interview each one and meet with them in person to see if you’re a good fit for each other.
Know What You Want First
Before you can even hire a babysitter, sit down with your partner and come up with a list of important attributes that you want in a carer. This will make it easier to choose from a large selection and narrow down your search so that you’re only looking for sitters who meet the bill exactly.
The way you discipline your children is unique to your family, so you should communicate this with anyone who takes care of them for you. Also, you may have other rules for those looking after your kids which differ from your own parenting style, so it’s a good idea to explain the boundaries and what your child responds to best when speaking to the babysitter.
Define the Duties
Every parent is different and what we require from the carers of our children is different too. Whether you want to verbally communicate or have something written down, you should make it clear to the babysitter exactly what their duties are in your home.
Any parent knows just how easily their children pick up on their emotions, so showing them how excited you are about the new babysitter coming over to watch them will likely guarantee that they will feel the same way. In the days leading up to their first time with the new carer, make a point of saying how excited you are that they’ll be coming to visit. When the babysitter arrives, let your child open the door and greet them, so they feel involved in the process.
Use a Contract
If you hire a babysitter outside of an agency where there’s already a predetermined employment contract, it’s best to organise one of these yourself. Since you are essentially hiring an employee, it’s great to have everything in writing about pay rates, hours to be worked, and any other specifics you want to be covered.
Consider if you’ve set realistic expectations for the nanny or babysitter you have hired, without holding them to a regard much higher than you set for yourself. Sometimes even the best parents have to go off schedule and do things a little differently, so before scolding the babysitter for making a seemingly wrong decision while caring for your child, speak to them calmly first to find out why they did it.
Arrange A First Visit
Before you leave your child with their new babysitter, arrange for a visit for the two of them to meet for the first time. Have the babysitter come and visit as a friend without trying to force a relationship, as this has the potential to scare your child away. While there, you can show the babysitter around your house and explain where things are kept, as well as point out your basic routine at home.
Look Through All Documentation
There’s nothing more precious to us than our children, so you need to be extremely cautious when hiring a babysitter. Ensure that your chosen babysitter comes with all of the required paperwork including:
- Working With Children Check
- Police Check
- First Aid Certificates
- Childcare Certificates
- References (it’s best to phone these as well for a chat)
Leave Without A Fuss
Any childcare worker will tell you that the parents who hang around and cling to their children before leaving are the ones with the most upset kids. Children react to how we’re feeling, and so when it’s time to go you can give them a simple hug and kiss goodbye and explain that you’ll be back later. The longer you drag out the leaving process, the harder it’s going to be on everyone.
One of the toughest things we’ll ever do as mothers is to leave our children in the care of someone else, but establishing a long-term relationship with a carer or babysitter can be the best thing your family ever did.
If you’re looking for more tips on how to make parenthood a little easier, check out the rest of the Peachymama blog here.