Your children are the most precious things in your life, which is why you are very picky when it comes to whom you trust to watch them. Everyone has heard a horror story about a sitter who hits children or neglects them. So how do you find a sitter you can trust? There are a few guidelines that can help, and a few nanny cam devices to monitor your sitter to ensure that you have made a good choice.
Go with Referrals
One of the best ways to get a good sitter is to talk with people who have children your age in the area. Odds are they already have a local teenager or two they use when date night rolls around. Ask if they are willing to share a name and number. You can also find reliable sitters:
- At your church
- Through your community group
- By asking teachers or the people at your child’s day care
There are several websites solely devoted to helping parents find everything from nannies to au pairs to sitters in their area. Many of these sites actually run background checks and even provide information on if the individual is certified in CPR or bilingual. Most of these sites are free for parents to join but charge the sitters to register with them.
Conduct an Interview
It is entirely in a parent’s right to interview an individual before trusting her with your kids. You can meet her in a public place, or you can have her to your house so you can watch the way she interacts with your kids. There are several questions you should ask her, such as:
- How do you comfort children when they are upset?
- What methods of discipline do you use when children are unruly?
- Are you comfortable with putting children to bed?
- Have you ever had to handle an emergency? What did you do?
- What kinds of activities do you do with children?
Depending on your parenting style, you may have certain ideas for the kinds of responses you would like to get to these questions. Once you have covered everything you want to ask, open the conversation to see what kind of questions she might have. If you can, follow up with references she has, which should include parents for whom she has babysat.
Get Some Security
Many parents find that, even if they have thoroughly vetted the sitter, a little extra security gives them peace of mind. You can find this by installing a nanny cam, which monitors her behavior and how she interacts with your children. These can be hidden or they can be out in the open. You might also consider having a home alarm system installed, which keeps your children and the sitter safe if you are not home. Many alarm systems can be managed from your smartphone and will automatically notify the authorities if there is a security breach.
The most important thing about hiring a sitter is finding someone with whom you and your children are comfortable. Trust your instinct. If you do not like the way she answers your questions, move on to someone else. You are putting your children in her care, so make sure you have confidence in her ability to keep them safe.
Article written by Jen Blair of the Sprightly Shopper, Follow her on twitter @sprightlyshopr