Finding a babysitter is hard – even for families well established in their communities. It gets to be brutal for families who don’t have a lot of relationships due to moves, new to parenting, or any other number of factors.
Chelsea and I have never lived more than an hour from our childhood homes but we’ve lived in 5 different cities in the 7 years we’ve been married. This has made it hard to establish roots anywhere and get to know family-friendly neighbours.
Added to that, we’ve had a breastfeeding newborn for many of our years together – we haven’t even needed a babysitter until very recently and that’s when we were struck with the realization – how do you find a babysitter when you don’t know anyone?
Get A Referral From Another Parent
Start talking to other parents you meet – our oldest started kindergarten last year and he made some great friends. In arranging playdates, we met a couple of great parents and their teenage daughter who had just started babysitting.
This was complete luck on our part but it’s a great way to find somebody you can trust.
Talk to parents at your children’s swimming lessons or other extracurricular activities. Get to know regular parents at your local park and ask around.
Having a referral from another parent will give you the extra piece of mind that helps when you’re leaving your kids with somebody for the first time.
Tap Your Network
Talk to your family, coworkers and friends and expand your net as wide as possible. Similar to a job hunt – you never know who knows somebody who knows somebody.
If you attend church, or your kids go to daycare check the bulletin boards there and see if there are any listings for babysitters. You can also ask around at these places – youth group leaders and daycare workers are already trained in taking care of children and some may also babysit in their spare time as well.
Have you checked our our post on parenting tips? There are 201 of them!
Look at Babysitting Services
There are countless babysitting services in major cities nowadays. These agencies curated qualified babysitters that are typically screened with background checks and training certificates.
These agencies can help provide peace of mind that the stranger has had some form of screening. The downside is that you still don’t have a referral from somebody you trust and they will typically come at a premium as well.
How Much Should You Pay A Babysitter?
$15 per hour has been typical in our experience. And luckily for us with 3 kids – doesn’t scale up with kids.
Things To Ask A Potential Babysitter
Once you’ve got a name or two you’ll want to ask some questions. Date night isn’t nearly as much fun if you’re not able to enjoy it worrying about your kids back at home.
Here are a few questions to ask your potential babysitter:
- What is your experience with babysitting? Ask about their previous babysitting jobs, the age range of children they have cared for, and how long they have been babysitting.
- What are your qualifications? Ask about any certifications, such as CPR or first aid training, that the babysitter may have.
- Can you provide references? Ask for the contact information of previous families for whom the babysitter has worked, and follow up with those references to inquire about their experience with the babysitter.
- How do you handle emergencies? Ask the babysitter about their ability to handle common emergencies, such as minor injuries or illnesses, and how they would respond in those situations.
- What activities do you like to do with children? Ask the babysitter about their approach to engaging and entertaining children, and whether they have any preferred activities or games.
- How do you discipline children? Ask the babysitter about their approach to discipline and how they handle challenging behaviors in children.
- Are you comfortable with pets? If you have pets at home, ask the babysitter about their comfort level and experience with pets.
- What is your availability and flexibility? Ask the babysitter about their schedule, availability for evenings, weekends, and holidays, and whether they are willing to work on short notice.
- How do you communicate with parents? Ask the babysitter about their communication style and how they would keep you updated on your child’s activities and well-being while you are away.
- Do you have any questions for me? Finally, give the babysitter an opportunity to ask you any questions they may have about your expectations, routines, or specific needs for your children.
Remember to ask open-ended questions that encourage the babysitter to share their experiences and perspectives. Trust your instincts when evaluating the responses. It’s important to know they are reliable, responsible, and compatible with your family’s needs and values.
Good luck with your search!
Remember, you don’t need to do anything you don’t want to do. It’s a big step leaving your kids with a new babysitter and it can be stressful. Hopefully our article here will help eliminate some of that stress though.