With the rise of double income households, managing children can be very tricky. A child needs constant care and attention to grow. When both parents are working this might get a bit difficult. Infants and babies need to be constantly fed, put to sleep and entertained. If parents are not at home to provide this, a babysitter is a good option. Babysitters have been around since centuries and provide parents with a much needed respite from the task of caring for children. Babysitters can also be employed for a temporary period if parents are traveling or have other tasks to accomplish.
Hiring a babysitter for your precious children is a daunting task. There are a million things you must keep in mind before hiring a suitable baby sitter. Parents need to be completely alert while screening candidates and should have a perfect understanding of the candidate’s capabilities and experience in the field. Make sure you ask yourself these few important questions before arriving at a decision.
Do you feel comfortable with them?
One of the first questions you must ask yourself is: are you comfortable with this person? If you are at ease in this person’s presence, then it is a good sign. If they make you uncomfortable or uneasy then do not proceed further. A babysitter should inspire trust and confidence in parents as well as children. Be sure to observe if your children are responsive towards this candidate as it is the children who have to spend a great deal of their time with him/her. Sometimes children might be too young to communicate so in that case you need to trust your instincts. Ask your older children what they thought about the potential new sitter. Whether they had fun with them or they trusted them.
Do they speak another language fluently?
The early years of any child are extremely influential. The child will pick up the manner of speaking from his or her surroundings. He or she will learn to speak the language of his parents, siblings, friends and babysitter. If you are keen on your child learning a second language, ensure that your babysitter knows any language other than your own. However, it is also important to decide what you want your child’s first language to be. If it is English, ensure that the baby sitter is fluent in English so that the child picks up the correct language.
Clean up and running errands
With children around, your house is bound to get messy. Clarify with your babysitter if he/she will help out with cleaning the house or putting the baby care items away. Also speak to them about laundry and washing of the children’s clothes. Since children are always running around, their clothes are naturally going to be messy. Strike a deal with your babysitter that makes them wash their clothes at the end of each day. Running errands is every parent’s burden. It might be difficult to juggle the number of errands along with childcare, so ask your babysitter if they are willing to share the load. Some babysitters may do this for an additional fee.
How will they spend their time with children?
It is important for the babysitter to engage children in fun activities in order to keep them entertained. Speak to your sitter about art and craft activities, educational worksheets and toys. A good sitter should be able to help children with their homework, encourage them to read and participate in children’s activities. Also, he or she should be open to taking children out to park or to friends’ houses where they can interact with other children their age. Outline the various activities or skills you want your child to be exposed to and ask your sitter if they can include them in their day.
While disciplining a child is the job of every parent, babysitters too should be made accountable. The babysitter should ensure that children respect their authority and do not misbehave. Work out a punishment/reward system that helps your child learn examples of good and bad behavior. Make sure you explain to your sitter the disciplinarian style you would like to follow. Take periodic updates from them about your child’s behavior and methods used by the sitter to reward or reprimand them.
Have a word with you babysitter about extracurricular activities such as baking, cooking, singing or dancing. If the babysitter has special skills in any extracurricular activities, try asking them to pass these skills onto your child. If the child is interested in any of these, the caretaker can help encourage and nurture these talents. Make sure you gauge your sitter’s personality correctly as that will propel their interaction with the children. If you are a type A personality, ensure that your sitter is of a similar mindset else there are bound to be arguments and differences.
Be upfront about the salary you are willing to pay and all your expectations from your sitter. Keep channels of communication open at all times so that both you and your sitter are satisfied with the arrangement. Work out a plan for salary payment options, cuts and bonuses. This will ensure a smooth and carefree payment process.
Are they willing to cook?
Some sitters do not see cooking as a part of their job while some love to cook not only for the child, but for extra payment they can make a meal for the whole family. They can even include kids in the process of shopping, cooking or backing. Make sure to find out their position about cooking beforehand.
Make sure to communicate your expectations clearly with the babysitter. Clear instructions are the key to success.