Few decisions a couple makes are more important than deciding who to employ to work as their babysitter. Both the person hired just to stay with the kids while the parents have an occasional night out and the person employed to give daily care for a working couple’s children must be selected carefully. One mother states, “Our babysitter is like a member of our family. Her health, attitude, personality, and competence are important to us on a minute-by-minute basis.” Young parents often feel nervous when they come to the important decision of who they should select to care for their little ones. Here are five things to consider when choosing a babysitter.
1. There is a saying in business, “The best way to know what a person will do in the future is to find out what he has accomplished in the past.” This is another way of saying that it is vitally important to check a prospective babysitter’s references. Your sitter will spend many hours alone with the most important and most helpless people in your life. It is best to ask not just for primary references, but also for secondary references. You can’t afford to make a mistake.
2. Don’t get in too big of a hurry! Sometimes the pressure to hire someone quickly can cause parents to overlook flaws and to hire a sitter before their doubts are resolved. It is beneficial to meet with the applicant on more than one occasion. Having the person and your children spend some time together while you are present will enable you to see how they relate to each other. The mother and the father may need to remind each other, “Slow down! Don’t be in such a hurry.”
3. Give due consideration to health issues. If your prospective sitter has not had the Red Cross Basic First Aid Training or another such course, it would be well to arrange for them to take one. Accidents happen quickly! After one occurs, it is too late to seek training in how to deal with emergencies. You may want to pay the cost of the course or the new employee’s time as she takes it.
4. Select a sitter with whom you share similar values. Little children are quick to learn things, both good and bad, from their caregivers. Before you hire someone, it is well to discuss the issues that are most important to you. There are parents who have been shocked by the racism, moral values, and attitudes their children have learned from their caregiver. Your sitter will need to understand what your core values are and abide by them.
5. Remember, the person you hire will not be perfect, and you must not be too quick to judge. Babysitters are human, just like everyone else. A good sense of humor, being appreciative, remembering the sitter’s birthday, and helping her feel special in other ways will enhance your relationship and result in better care for your children.