Where to Find a Babysitter

babysitting jobs

What to Look for in a Babysitter and Where to Find One

When you hire a babysitter or nanny, you are usually hiring a complete stranger to come into your home, have unsupervised access to all of your personal belongings, and be responsible for the lives of your children. Should you use a nanny service or babysitting service? Should you just check the newspaper?

Choosing a trustworthy babysitter is serious business and should not be taken lightly!  You hope the sitter you choose is trustworthy and she’s not neglecting your children or going through your private things. But, how would you know? You probably would not know for sure unless you were using hidden cameras.  But, you can do your best to prevent unscrupulous behavior by choosing your potential babysitter or nanny carefully.

You might feel comfortable hiring a certain babysitter just because you know her parents.  Sometimes this works out, but knowing her parents does not make a person an experienced, trustworthy, and reliable sitter.

So who should you trust?  How do you find someone you are comfortable leaving in charge of your home and your children?  Getting a referral from a trusted friend who has utilized the babysitter’s services before could be the answer. But if you can’t get any referrals, then you have to do the searching yourself.

Many times the newspaper’s classified section will list a few babysitters available in your area.  It will probably list a first name and a telephone number.  It may also have a sentence or two about the babysitter and why she is available, such as “college student on summer break,” or “retired teacher available after school and weekends.”  Then you need to contact her for additional information.

Some other places that babysitters post their availability are bulletin boards in grocery stores and libraries, and in newsletters or bulletins at local churches and houses of worship. Posting an ad for a babysitter in any of these places as well as in dance schools, gymnastics centers, and ice skating rinks is a great idea too.

The best place to look for a reliable babysitter may be on the internet at online babysitting services or nanny services. Online babysitting services and nanny agencies offer benefits that newspaper classifieds cannot match.  For instance:

  • Online babysitting services usually provide photographs of potential sitters.  While it is true “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” people do like to see a face when searching for a child care provider.
  • A short autobiography of each babysitter is usually posted with the photo.  This will give you some background information and an idea of the sitter’s age and experience level.
  • Some babysitting services and nanny agencies have pre-screened their babysitters and have made background checks available for members to review.  If a background check is not available, most agencies offer a service that will do a background check for you for very little money.
  • Many online babysitting services will also show each sitter’s rate of pay and possibly his or her availability as well.
  • Often you will find comments and referrals by other parents posted with a babysitter’s profile too.
  • You can narrow your search by choosing from a number of variables including whether the sitter smokes, has her own transportation, or has experience caring for children with special needs.

When you find a potential babysitter and are ready to interview her, consider your needs, and then jot down a list of questions.

  • Does the potential babysitter have First Aid and/or CPR training?
  • Be sure the potential sitter has had experience caring for kids in your children’s age group.
  • Ask about how she would handle behavior issues and any other issues you may be concerned with.
  • Also check to see if she is available the days and times you are most likely to need her. If you have found your potential babysitter through an online babysitting service or nanny agency, then most of your questions may already be answered for you.
  • Keep in mind that even if you have found your babysitter or nanny through an online babysitting service or nanny agency, you should always ask for references and check them yourself!

Once you have found the perfect babysitter for your family, find another one as a back-up!  You should try to have two or three that you can call in case one cancels at the last minute.  Babysitting services and nanny agencies usually have many available babysitters and nannies to choose from. When searching for a babysitter or nanny, keep your standards high – your children are worth it!

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