Monday, December 28, 2020

Tips for Hiring a Babysitter for the First Time

Whether your child is a tiny baby or an older tween, hiring a babysitter for the first time can feel daunting. You’ll be excited to need a babysitter because it means you’re going somewhere by yourself, or as a couple, and it might have been many months (even years) since that last happened, but you’ll also be nervous. After all, hiring someone to take care of your kids while you’re not there isn’t something that you should take lightly, and you’ll need to think carefully about exactly who you’re going to employ for the role. 

So that you can enjoy your evening or day without feeling the need to check in with your babysitter every few minutes, you’re going to want to put a good deal of preparation into picking the right person to help you out. If you can do this, even if it takes some time, then you can be more relaxed and enjoy yourself more, and that is priceless. If that sounds like a good idea to you, read on to discover some useful tips when it comes to hiring a babysitter for the first time. 


Image from Pixabay



As mentioned above, when you take the time to research your potential babysitter or babysitters, you will be much more prepared for the event itself, and therefore be able to relax more doing whatever it is you need to do without your kids. Knowing that you’ve chosen the right babysitter, one with excellent references and plenty of experience babysitting children of the same age as yours, means you can stop worrying about that one thing at least. 


This is why it’s crucial to interview any potential babysitting candidate. When you do this, when you ask pertinent questions, you can ascertain just who is going to be best for your children. Experience and references are important, but you should also ask questions about work ethic, about how they would respond in an emergency, and about their rate of pay. Knowing all of this in advance means you can make a decision based on the information provided, but it also means that you can gauge what the babysitter is like as a person. Did you enjoy speaking to them? Were they respectful? And, perhaps most importantly of all, did your children get on with them? It’s a good idea to have the children join you for at least part of their interview, as their input will be invaluable. 


When working out which questions are best to ask, the key is to ensure they are specific to your family and the circumstances. If you need the babysitter to be able to collect the kids from school every now and then or take them to a class where you’ll pick them up from later, you’ll need to know if they can drive, for example. Or perhaps you’ll want them to give your children dinner, either regularly or on an ad hoc basis. If so, you’ll want to ask questions about whether they can cook, and what kind of healthy foods they plan on making. 


Choose The Right Occasion 

It’s far better to be less stressed overall when you are hiring a babysitter, as this will help the situation feel much more positive, and will enable you to be more in control, which is important for parents. 


Rather than waiting for an important occasion that leaves you no choice but to hire a babysitter, thus potentially rushing the process and leaving you feeling out of control and nervous throughout, manufacture a ‘test’ for the babysitter so that you, they, and the children, feel happy about things before a babysitter is truly needed. 


Arrange for the babysitter you have chosen to take care of your children for a couple of hours while you go somewhere local. You can just take a long walk, or go to a cafĂ© with friends, or anything you want to as long as you are away from the house for two to three hours. Because you don’t have anything specific to do or anything particular to be, if there is a problem you know you can get home quickly, and it won’t change any of your plans. Ideally, you won’t be contacted at all, and when you do get home everyone will be happy. This ‘trial run’ will have minimized your nerves and shown you that your choice of babysitter was a good one. Next time you need them, you won’t hesitate to book them. 


Leave Instructions & Communicate 

Every household will be different, so don’t expect your babysitter to have their own set of rules that they stick to – they are going to want to know what yours are. Have these rules set out ready to go through when the babysitter arrives and things will be much easier. It’s a good idea to have your babysitter arrive a little early so that you’re not rushing out of the door, throwing a list of instructions at them as they go. 


Take the time to go through each point and show them where everything is. There’s no point in researching the best thermometer for home use only for it to be hidden and undiscoverable if the babysitter needs it. Favorite cups and utensils should be explained, as should favorite toys (especially if the child can’t sleep without them), and details about the bedtime routine – including timings – should be discussed. In this way, the babysitter can just get on with their job without having to call you to ask questions all the time, and you can relax knowing that your children’s routine isn’t going to be too much different from usual. 


Make sure you also leave all your contact details with the babysitter just in case they need it. That includes your cell details, but also where you are going to be and the contact number there. Remember, as great as cellphones are, there isn’t always reception everywhere you go, and a landline can be exactly what is needed. 


Finally, if the babysitter is going to be eating at your home, let them know what’s available for them to use. Teach them how to use the oven and microwave, and how to turn on the TV and use the remote control. These may seem like small things, but if you like the babysitter and want to use them again, they need to be happy to come back – sitting alone after the kids have gone to bed with no food or TV might not be a great incentive to come again. 


Trust Your Instincts 

Your instincts, or a ‘gut feeling’ can be important, and although we might try to ignore them these days thinking that we know better, it’s always a good idea to listen to these instinctual feelings, especially in a situation that is unusual and that you really don’t want to get wrong. 


If you like the babysitter and get a good feeling about them then this is a great indicator that they will be right for you, even if they don’t have a huge amount of experience. If you get a bad feeling, even if you can’t quite determine why this is, then it is wise to take note of your feelings. 


A lot of the time we try to dampen down these gut reactions to things, telling ourselves they are nothing to worry about, but these reactions hark back to millennia ago when our ancestors had to trust their guts to stay alive. Even if the situation isn’t quite as dire as that today, it’s still something to bear in mind.

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