How to Find a Good Babysitter

So your spouse has just mentioned that the two of you are expected to attend the annual company awards dinner, and by the way, it’s this Friday.  But there’s no reason to panic. At some point, every parent realizes they need a babysitter.  Even if you’re lucky enough to have grandparents nearby, you can’t always be sure that the awards dinner won’t conflict with Bingo Night.  Besides, there are plenty of good, quality babysitters out there, so give Grandma a break and hire the young teen down the street.

Now, if you actually know a teen down the street, you’re ahead of the game.  For the rest of you who don’t even know your neighbors’ names, don’t worry.  Neighbors can be a great source of good babysitters, but there are a lot of other options.

Word Of Mouth Rules

The truth is, finding a good babysitter is like finding a good pediatrician, a good plumber, or a good mechanic: word of mouth rules.  Ask your friends, your co-workers, or members of your church group if they have a recommendation.  Somebody will have a lead on a good babysitter.  Keep in mind, the best babysitters not only come highly recommended, but they’ve also completed a babysitting course like Safe Sitter®. If your sitter has not taken a course, consider chatting with her parents about enrolling her in a local class.

Once you get a name and number, give them a call.  You’ll have to leave a message because teens don’t answer phone calls anymore, but go ahead and leave your name and cell phone number along with the following information: 1) you’re looking for a babysitter for two children – ages 5 and 7 – for next Friday, 2) Jane Smith recommended them, and 3) (this is the most important part) they can text you in response if they’d like.

If they’re interested in babysitting for you, they’ll call (Ha!) or text you back.  At that point, pull out this handy checklist of questions to ask:

  • Are you available at that date and time?
  • Are your parents okay with it?
  • How much do you charge? Don’t accept “Whatever” as a response.  It’s important to negotiate a fair rate in advance.  If you’re truly at a loss, offer minimum wage for up to two children.
  • Can you drive? If not, they’ll need to arrange transportation to your home, or you can offer to transport them.

Ask them to stop by in advance so that you can meet them, talk face-to-face with them, and introduce them to your children. If they aren’t acquainted with your family from school, church, or the neighborhood, then don’t skip this step; it’s important that everyone is comfortable with the arrangement before the babysitting job.

Congratulations!  You’ve got yourself a babysitter.  If you treat them right (pay them fairly, respect their time, and be courteous), your babysitter could be with your family for years.  You’ll get to have an occasional dinner out with your spouse without listening to arguments over who has the red crayon, and Grandma can still go to Bingo Night.

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4 Questions to Ask a Babysitter Before Hiring

3 Steps to Determine What to Pay Your Babysitter