Entrusting someone to care for your kids can be challenging. Finding a qualified babysitter requires time and effort, but your reward is assurance that your child is in capable hands. You'll want to find someone who is mature and friendly, has common sense, and is genuinely fond of children.
The recommendations of people you know and trust are your best bet for finding a reliable and capable babysitter. If you're new to the area and don't know how to go about finding a sitter, ask your neighbors or coworkers for recommendations, inquire at your place of worship, or ask staff in your pediatrician's office for suggestions. If your child is already enrolled in a daycare or after-school care program, staff members who are already familiar with your child may be willing to either babysit or provide sitter recommendations.
Interviewing sitters and checking their references will help you narrow down your choices. Prepare a list of questions to ask ahead of time. Ask about a sitter's experience caring for kids and whether he or she is certified in infant and child CPR or has taken a babysitter course. (Your local YMCA, community hospital, or American Red Cross chapter might have a list of babysitters who have completed their babysitting safety and infant and child CPR courses.)
Consider inviting a sitter over for a dry run while you're at home to familiarize him or her with your household and observe the interactions with your child.
Before you walk out the door, prepare the sitter with the following information:
Let your babysitter know your expectations before you leave. If you'd prefer that the sitter not leave the house with your child, make that clear. If the babysitter is a driver, let him or her know the rules about driving your kids. If the phone and visitors are off limits, discuss those restrictions.
Make sure the sitter knows these safety rules:
After you return, ask your kids if they enjoyed the sitter's visit. When you find a reliable sitter they like, you're sure to have a more relaxing and enjoyable time away from home.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: January 2014
|The Y The Y also offers camps, computer classes, and community service opportunities in addition to fitness classes.|
|International Nanny Association (INA) The INA is a nonprofit, educational association for nannies and those who educate, place, employ, and support professional in-home child care providers.|
|Au Pair in America This website, maintained by the American Institute for Foreign Study, has information on programs for au pairs and host families in the United States.|
|American Red Cross The American Red Cross helps prepare communities for emergencies and works to keep people safe every day. The website has information on first aid, safety, and more.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
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|Babysitting: The Basics If you're new to babysitting, check out our guide to learn how to be the best babysitter around. Been babysitting forever? Use the guide to check your skills.|
|Emergency Contact Sheet The best time to prepare for an emergency is before it happens. Fill out this sheet, and post it near each phone.|
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