Maybe you’re a new parent looking for – gulp – a babysitter for the first time. Maybe you just moved and don’t have anyone to turn to for help. Either way, nothing makes you feel quite like a grown-up like hiring a babysitter. After all, wasn’t it just yesterday that we were the ones doing the babysitting?
If this is your first time leaving your child, a great way to feel more comfortable is to start small and close to the heart. We all feel some trepidation about leaving our kids in someone else’s care. We are torn between wanting “couple time” away from home and worrying about with whom we can entrust our most miraculous creation. The easiest solution initially might be to ask a family member or close friend for help as you adjust to a childcare routine. But relying on family or friends is typically a temporary solution, and for many families, it’s not even an option. Rest assured – there is a babysitter out there who will be a perfect fit for your family.
Follow these 5 easy steps to hiring a sitter, and you will be out the door for date night before next weekend!
1. Meet Face To Face.
I can’t stress the importance of a face-to-face meeting. During this time, look for promptness, eye contact, and communication style. You want to meet someone with whom you connect and feel comfortable communicating. If your child is with you, pay attention to how this person interacts with your little one.
If the face-to-face meeting is happening at a neutral location, such as a coffee shop, show up about 10 minutes early. This gives you time to settle in, but most importantly, you can observe the potential sitter as he or she walks in. This will give you insights into his or her natural demeanor before being officially “interviewed.” If you are unsure about what to ask a potential babysitter check out this list for a great starting point.
2. Watch out for Red Flags
One of the biggest red flags is when sitters say they want to babysit because they need extra money. Of course, we know all babysitters want to earn money. However, that shouldn’t be the main impetus for choosing childcare as a way to earn cash. Without a love of children, a sitter who wants to babysit just for money won’t last long. We have been with our kids, and we know there are easier ways to earn extra spending money!
A second red flag is someone who shows up late for a face-to-face meeting. If he or she is not able to make it on time for an interview, will they be reliable as a babysitter?
Even if there aren’t any red flags, listen to your gut feeling!
3. Google Is Your BFF.
Once you have narrowed down your candidates, start internet stalking. Google them, check out their social media profiles, and see what else comes up. If something doesn’t feel right, pay attention. If necessary, a quick message to the potential sitter may clear up any confusion over what you may have seen.
4. Check References.
Congratulations, this is a huge step! If you are in the “checking references” stage, this means you have met a potential babysitter you’ve clicked with! For the most part, this is just a formality and a great way to gain some further insights into the sitter you met and love.
Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone or send a text message to check someone’s references. I rarely do not hire someone because of references. You usually will get great tips from other moms about the sitter you are about to hire!
5. Go With Your Gut.
Your mom or dad intuition is your best friend. Have confidence and trust your instinct!
The internet age has spawned myriad ways to find a babysitter. One thing that remains the same is this: Finding someone to watch your children is not easy. It could compare to dating – except sometimes finding a sitter can feel harder than finding your soulmate! Once you find that perfect babysitter, thank your lucky stars – then head out for a well-deserved date night.
Dawn feels fortunate to be a parent in Boulder, Colorado where there are plenty of outdoor adventures to keep her three boys entertained! A staunch believer in date night and “me time,” she loves blogging for (and utilizing) Sitter, an app that helps parents book and manage their sitters and find new sitters through friends.
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