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How to Choose a Good Babysitter

So you think you're ready to enjoy a night free of stepping on plastic army men and tiaras barefoot, no washing crayon off the walls, or picking the ...

How to Choose a Good Babysitter article provided by wikiHow. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

A babysitter and her charge.
A babysitter and her charge.

So you think you're ready to enjoy a night free of stepping on plastic army men and tiaras barefoot, no washing crayon off the walls, or picking the applesauce out of your hair? Before you start, you'll have to choose a babysitter.

edit Steps

  1. 1
    Ask other parents to recommend a baby sitter they trust. Inquire at work, church, or other social groups for teens or adults who want to make a little extra cash. If you can't get any trusted referrals from your social network, check the local paper or craigslist.org for advertised listings.
  2. 2
    See if the potential babysitter has children of their own, or a little brother, sister, cousin, nephew, who they take care of. Try and see how they interact with that child.
  3. 3
    Ask for references. Don't feel like you're hurting the potential babysitter's feelings by calling those references to make sure they are who they say they are.
  4. 4
    Meet or call the babysitter's references. It's your child that will be in this person's care, and you want to make sure that your child will be safe.
  5. 5
    Talk to friends to figure out how much the going rate is for babysitters in your neighborhood.
  6. 6
    Ask the babysitter questions like "What would you do if...Johnny started choking on a piece of food? A delivery man comes to the front door? Katie falls down the stairs?" A good babysitter will know how to respond in these kinds of situations. Meet with the parent or gaurdian of the sitter if possible, to ensure the safest care.
  7. 7
    Proceed with hiring the babysitter only when you are totally comfortable with them.

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edit Tips

  • Don't let anyone into your home to be with your child alone until you know them first.
  • Give the teens a chance, there are really responsible eleven, twelve and thirteen year olds who can never get hired because they are "too young", when they really are more mature than some of the older sitters that parents do hire.
  • Don't let yourself get cheated, for a teen or tween babysitter, ten bucks an hour is about average pay. You should expect to fork out a little more if you have a lot of kids, have pets, or housework that you ask them to do.
  • Specify exactly what you expect from your sitter and your children before the job, and consider installing a NannyCam that you can view on your cell phone or laptop.
  • What do you need the nanny for? Is it for cooking, housework, and keeping an eye on your child? Or is it taking your child to afterschool activities? Make this clear so that you can be more sure of your candidate nanny.
  • Consider doing a drug test, but make sure that your candidate is comfortable with this possibility.
  • Ask the babysitter for references, or other jobs they may have had. Call the references and listen to their feedback on the babysitter.
  • Some good questions to ask in an interview are:
-How would you deal with a temper tantrum?
-Are you CPR and First Aid certified?
-How would you handle an emergency?
-What age of child do you best work with?

edit Warnings

  • Babies and children have an excellent sense of people. If your one year old starts screaming at the top of his lungs when he sees the baby sitter the second time, something may be wrong. It could also be separation anxiety, but a parent is often able to notice when it is something different.
  • Don't hire a babysitter who is likely to smoke, drink, cuss, discuss innapropriate topics with, or watch innapropriate television shows with your children.

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