Leaving your baby or child with someone for the first time can be a big and scary step. Everyone wants to find someone they can trust and who has experience, and it can be hard to find the perfect person. If you are a working mother then you are probably looking for someone to watch your child during the day; if not, then you probably are just looking for someone to watch your baby for the occasional date night or when you need a break. Either way, here are several tips to help you decide on your very first sitter!
The first thing to think about is how old you want your sitter to be. Are you ok with a teenager watching your kids, or would you rather have an adult? Most adults already have jobs so sometimes it can be hard to find someone older (unless they already have kids and don't mind taking yours on too). Teenagers can be a great help, but if it's your first time you may want someone a little older.
Another age group to think about are college students. A lot of college students are looking to earn a little extra cash to get by, and they are also old enough to have some experience. If you are not sure what age to go with or if you don't have a preference, the next thing to look for would be how experienced they are.
How much experience would you like your sitter to have? Do you want someone who has had years of experience in babysitting or being a nanny? Maybe you would rather have someone with personal experience such as children of their own. No matter what you choose, make sure that your sitter has some type of experience before you allow them to stay with your child. A great way to know if a person would make a wonderful babysitter or if they have previous experience would be to ask to see their references.
When interviewing potential sitters, one of the first things to ask for would be their references so you can find out about their previous experiences with children. A good sitter should be able to provide at least three or more references of families that they have worked for in the past. When calling these references, make sure to ask about the sitter's experience, how many children they watched and what ages, and if they would recommend them to watch your child. Having good references can make a huge difference and give you peace when deciding on which sitter to choose.
Another thing to think about when choosing a sitter is the sitter's availability and schedule. Are they able to work the days you need? Will they have to take some days off because of other needs or will they be able to be there every time or almost every time you need them? If the sitter you choose has their own children, keep in mind that sickness, school problems, or other child-related issues may be a problem when it comes to availability.
Lastly, but also the most important, would be to take the time to interview your sitter. Keep in mind all the tips above and have a list of questions that you may want to ask them. Have them spend time with your child and see how they relate to and act around them. You may even want to have a separate trial run when you are at home. Ask them to come over to play with your child while you get some housework done. This will give you peace of mind about leaving your child alone with them for the first time.
Not sure where to start in finding people to interview? Care.com and Sitter City are great places to start!