Choosing the right babysitter for your child is a difficult decision for any parent. You want a babysitter who is trustworthy, dependable, and who will keep your child safe while you are away. If your family is looking for a sitter, consider these 5 qualities that you should look for in a babysitter.
1. Someone with Excellent Recommendations
When you are searching for a sitter, one of the best tips is to network among your friends, family, and co-workers to gather a list of sitters that they have used. Sitters who come highly recommended are more likely to be experienced, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. Think of hiring a babysitter in the same way that you would hiring an employee for your business. Would you want to hire an employee who did not have good quality references, and who was not recommended by past employers?
2. Someone with First Aid Experience
One quality that you should never compromise on is that your sitter have a CPR certification, or at least have basic first aid knowledge. Accidents happen, especially where children are concerned. Your sitter should know how to clean and bandage cuts and scrapes, perform CPR, and perform the Heimlich maneuver. If you have a baby or small child, it is important for your sitter know how to perform these life saving techniques specifically for infants and toddlers, so that their small bodies are not injured.
3. Someone who Bonds with Your Family
You want to look for a sitter who has a connection to you and your family. This is not to say that you will have some instant bond, in which a halo of light forms around the sitter's face, but when you interview potential sitters, you should be able to pick up on which individual will work best with your family. It is best to look for a babysitter who will reinforce your values and belief systems while you are gone.
The interview process should also involve your children spending time with their potential new sitter. You want to make sure that your children feel comfortable around their sitter, and that they are willing to communicate with her/him. Allowing your children to spend time with a potential sitter is especially important if you have an infant, since a baby's needs are more sensitive, and their schedules are more intense.
4. Someone who will Follow Your Rules
There is nothing worse than hiring a sitter who will allow your children to gorge themselves on candy and soda, and then allow them to stay up as late as they want. Therefore, it is very important to find a babysitter who will follow your household rules to the letter. It is a good idea to ask your babysitter's references about whether the sitter is good at following rules, and if they are perceived to have issues with authority.
5. Someone who is Mature
While there is no standard age for babysitting, it is important to hire a sitter who is mature and responsible, no matter her/his years. For example, it may be best for you to hire a 14-year-old who has helped take care of her 3 younger brothers and sisters, as opposed to a 16-year-old who has never changed a diaper.
The next time that you need a night on the town and are looking for a babysitter, remember to hire someone who has excellent recommendations, who has first aid experience, who bonds with your family, who will follow your rules, and who is mature. Using these five criteria for things you should look for in a babysitter will ensure that you select a sitter who is a right fit for your family.