Picking the Best Babysitter for the Job

There’s more to babysitting than showing up on time and hanging out with your kids. Your babysitter is being asked to assume responsibility for your child’s life when you’re away. There’s no bigger job than that! Think about what type of job you’re asking your sitter to do, and pick one that’s the right fit.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Consider the number of children the sitter will be caring for and for how many hours. (Tip: Extra money is usually paid for watching more than two children or sitting after midnight.)
  • Short babysitting jobs are best for new sitters. (Tip: The job is too long if it’s more than three hours when the children are awake and more than five hours when the children are sleeping.)
  • More than two children, especially with the dangers in the environment, are too hard to guard. (Tip: If your sitter is just starting out, he should ideally only babysit for one child at a time.)
  • Preschoolers (3- 5) are the best age group for young babysitters to begin babysitting for.
  • You shouldn’t have a new, young teen sitter babysit for infants or toddlers. Even with experience, a newborn (less than one month old) is not an appropriate babysitting job for a teenager. (Tip: Sitters shouldn’t care for infants less than six months of age until they’ve had at least two years of experience babysitting. Infants that age involve too many risks and may lead to frustration.)
  • Hire a sitter that’s taken a babysitting preparation course. It’s great for the safety of your children as well as your sitter. (Tip: Teens who’ve taken a course usually charge more for their life and safety skills. They deserve greater compensation!)

If your sitter hasn’t taken a babysitting preparation course, consider chatting with her parents about enrolling her in a local Safe Sitter® class. As a gift to your sitter (and her parents), you may even want to offer to pay the fee for her to get training. That’s truly a gift that will keep on giving. And you’ll never have to wonder if she’s the right fit for any job!

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