The following is a guest post I wrote for my friend Renee, who has a blog on early childhood from a nanny’s perspective.
If you are anything like me you are completely torn between a luxurious date night with your husband and the peace in your heart that comes from having your baby close by. Deciding to hire a babysitter for the first time can be quite a scary process. But it’s something you have to do at some point – for both you and your little one.
Lucky for us, my mother in law lives nearby, so we were able to leave Mazen in her loving arms for short periods of time when he was a tiny baby. Now that he’s a big boy toddler, we’re a lot more comfortable hiring babysitters to come and play with Mazen while we get a little taste of our adult lives back.
In addition to my own experience, I asked some of my girlfriends to share their tips for hiring a sitter, and this is our list:
-Our best recommendation for finding a babysitter is networking. Family friends, sitters of friends, social groups, neighbors and the like. But if you can’t seem to find anyone someone already knows, check out Care.com. A friend of mine has found a few of her best sitters through the site.
-When you interview your sitter, trust your gut. If anything about her (or him) bothers you, keep looking. Leaving your child is hard enough, so you want to be 100% comfortable with the person you choose. One friend added that doing a simple Google search of their name or checking out social media accounts can speak volumes about a person’s character.
-While I don’t think having a formal CPR training is absolutely necessary, it’s a great skill to look for when you are searching. You could also go over the technique with them before their first job.
-Before your sitter arrives, be sure to put all important information together in an easy-to-find location. We have a list of our phone numbers and emergency contacts posted on the inside of one of our kitchen cabinets. Another friend suggested drafting a letter of consent for the babysitter to use in case she/he needs to prove permissions to an emergency responder.
-I always give a new person a complete tour of the house and include both safety notes and things like how to use the remote control. I also show them where all the snacks are so they will be comfortable eating if they get hungry. At first I didn’t know if I should provide dinner or not, so I simply asked what they prefer. My sitters rarely come hungry, so I told them just to let me know in advance if they ever need me to provide something.
-I have a babysitter fund hidden away in my house so I can pay my sitters in cash. I always appreciated cash when I used to babysit, and I like having the money taken out in one lump “babysitting” sum in our budget rather than smaller checks here and there, which can be harder to track. I get out enough cash so that I don’t need to go to the bank more than once a month or so.
-And this last advice comes from my mom: Don’t worry if your child stays up a little past bedtime or eats one too many cookies – your babysitter is there to keep your baby safe and happy.