Whether you have a large brood of five or six children under the age of ten who are driving you into the realm of “I need some me time right now,” or have one beautifully cooperative baby who needs full time care while you return to the work—a—day world, hiring a babysitter is not only one of the most important tasks a parent can delve into but also one of the most difficult. Mothers and father rightly believe that no one can care for their children the way that they can. Thus, asking someone to do what you already know is going to be a second rate job in your eyes makes the tasks all the more challenging. Parents who are having great difficulty selecting the perfect babysitter usual have this problem because they are looking for a version of themselves, which of course they will never find.
Parents do not need to lower their standards when hiring a babysitter, but rather realize that what they are truly seeking is a highly qualified and likeable stand in for themselves. They do not need to find parent replacements. It’s perfectly acceptable and within your rights to asks the tough questions, but watch being so demanding that you scare off the right candidate. Remember that the interview process is a two way street. Some of the applicants you are going to speak to will simple need a job, while others are truly gifted with young children and are not going to be desperately seeking income. You are going to want to weed out the “J—O—B” seekers from those who are dedicated to the highly demanding task of watching your children in your absence.
Never hire someone who can not provide three good references. While it is important to check out the references provided, remember that these three people were placed on their application or resume because they are likely, in fact almost guaranteed to speak highly of the candidate. A much better reference is the applicant’s former or present employer. If they are not on the list of references, you will have to ask for their signature stating that it is acceptable for you to speak with their employer first. While not all candidates will be forthcoming (some employers do not permit moonlighting) most will even if they know their employer may speak questionably about them. If you are hiring a teenager and this is their first job, as to speak with three of their teachers rather than three references. While one or even two teachers might really enjoy having the kid in class, speaking to three is more than likely able to offer you either consistency or fair warning.
If you want to see one on one interaction between the possible babysitter and your child, allow the child to come into the interview perhaps once in the beginning of the interview. If possible, excuse yourself for a moment and then try to determine the applicant’s ability to speak and relate to your child. Even if everything in your gut makes you completely comfortable with the applicant’s ability to relate to your child, and they give all the “right” answers during an interview, take the time to check their references and talk to employers or teachers before giving them the job. Do this as quickly as possible, because if they are as good as your gut is telling you they are, chances are someone else will snag them up before you are through with your research.
Because hiring a babysitter can be an emotional experience, or an experience that many new mothers and fathers don’t wish to go through, it can take quite awhile before any type of advertising is done or the interviews begin. Even then, if the thought of leaving a baby at home with a stranger becomes overwhelmingly frightening, you may drag your feet, finding fault with perfectly good candidates because somehow you believe this will delay your return to work, even if only on a subconscious level. Sometimes this feeling is so strong that the night before a new mother is supposed to be returning to work, there still isn’t a babysitter lined up and it’s quite obvious she isn’t going anywhere in the morning. If you are noticing that this could realistically become your family’s dynamic, maybe it is time to address if there is really a need for a full time babysitter. Some parents just aren’t ready and aren’t going to be ready no matter what. Leaving your child even in the most competent hands can feel like a burden you can not trade for money.
No matter how many children you have or how long they need to be under the care of someone else, the recommendation of a trusted friend can go a long way. However, if your son’s play-date mother recommends Becky, you are not obligated to hire her. She might love Becky. You don’t need to justify your decision to anyone, as listing the reasons that you were unsatisfied during the interview can cause tension between you and another mother. You should allow the recommendation to carry the same weight as her other opinions, and then make up your own mind.
One of the easiest tricks to hiring a babysitter that you’ll be happy with is to simply sit and have a relaxed conversation with them. When people are interviewing, they tend to be formal, thinking hard about what they are saying, or not saying. When you relax the atmosphere and the two of you just end up sitting around talking about how frustrating a child can be when they are in the middle of a fit or how hard it can be to get a kid to go to bed at bedtime, you are likely to find some more honest responses which can be used as a better point of reference.
Always, at the very least, run their name through Google. It is better to do an entire background check, but this can be time consuming and can require a lot of red tape for those living in specific states. Even when your intuition tells you that you have found the right person, doing a few simple things like checking out the local courthouse records for any type of criminal activity, regardless of age, is just one more important step when hiring a babysitter. You are leaving in their care the most precious individual in your life. Start early, be thorough, and listen to your instincts. Settling on a babysitter that you are not completely satisfied with just because you are running out of time is not the calm and peaceful return to work you might be looking for.