Parenthood is one of the most fulfilling journeys that you can embark on. But it’s also tough and there are times that you need help. A lot of help. For these times, you want a trusted network of babysitters that you can tap into.
We’ve all no doubt heard the age-old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” These words remind us that – in addition to needing extra hands at times – it’s important for your child to spend time with other adults too. Children’s views of the world are shaped by the people with whom they have regular contact. So, by hiring an inspiring and experienced babysitter to expand your support network, you’re also creating a healthier and more fulfilling environment for your child.
Many new parents are nervous about finding their first sitter or don’t know where to start. But luckily, finding a great babysitter can be child’s play. No, really! Here are a few tips that will help you make sure that this new, special bond between your child and his/her sitter will get off to the best possible start.
Begin with the basics
There are some key details that will reveal if a potential babysitter has what it takes to work with kiddos in a professional and confident way. You’re of course searching for a babysitter who is mindful of your child’s routine and pays attention to personal hygiene. But other tell-tale markers of a pro – punctuality, removing shoes upon arriving, washing hands shortly upon entering, inquiring as to where to place their things and where to find your child’s things, etc. – show courtesy and manners, as well as knowledge of standard sitter protocol that anyone with experience should follow.
Find the right fit
Beyond the basics (professionalism, personality and experience), get to know this person on a human level by asking about their interests, hobbies, etc., as this will play a key role in the types of experiences they are introducing to your child. Got a mini-me at home who adores music, art, sports, or cooking? Find someone with these skills! They can foster your child’s natural interests and take advantage of babysitting time in an engaging and memorable way. It will make for a more joyful experience for everyone and can help your kiddo bond even more quickly with their new babysitter.
Consider your relationship too
While it’s very important to find the right fit for your child, it’s also a good idea that you get along with your sitters too. Ensuring a similar communication style and an easy rapport benefits everyone involved. When you come home from a work day or evening out, you’ll appreciate an easy breezy interaction with your sitter versus an awkward one. Most importantly, though, children can sense when you don’t get along with another adult and may begin to share your sentiment.
Prioritize what you are looking for
Seeking a French-speaking sitter who has 5+ years of infant experience AND an early childhood degree AND is CPR and First Aid certified AND is available afternoon 3-6 pm? It’s possible you’ll find them, but it’s possible you won’t. Determine the most important attributes you are seeking in a babysitter and recognize what things on your wishlist you can let go. Even after you do this, remind yourself to be flexible. Being aware of certain attributes or qualifications you’d like to find in a babysitter is a good idea, but allowing yourself the flexibility to compromise on these things if you meet someone who feels like a good fit is also helpful.
Instead of just making use of one babysitter, explore the possibility of hiring the services of a team. Working with a team places you in a stronger position to find the most suitable babysitter as you’ll have more than one option available. Maybe you want someone who’s extra energetic and fun for a date night, but later want to book someone who can help with homework or do after-school pickup. Never being in a bind if your regular babysitter isn’t available is a huge asset to your crew and much less stressful for you.
Write down the basic info beforehand
Make a list of everything you want your babysitter to know for their first session – from important contact info to the order of the bedtime routine to what book or toy your kiddo loves if they are inconsolable. This way you can be fully engaged when your sitter arrives to introduce him/her to your little one, and fully present when it’s time to say goodbye with happy words and big hugs.
Leaving your little one with a new babysitter can also be an emotional moment for some parents and children. Making a list to cover your bases ahead of time means you won’t forget important details in a frazzled exit and then spend the evening worrying and texting forgotten details to your sitter instead of enjoying a night out.
Communicate your needs clearly
One of the golden rules is not to take it as a given that your babysitter will know what your expectations are if you haven’t communicated them up front. In fact, the majority of babysitters are really grateful when they receive clear guidance, as long as it has been communicated in a respectful manner. So if there are any specific things you want your child or sitter to do – such as spend some time outside or finish homework before playing – be sure to relay them before you leave.
By following these simple tips, you and your child can develop wonderful relationships with other adult figures who will help to shape your little one’s life and you can feel secure knowing that you have a great team of help at your fingertips. It’s a win-win for everyone! So, start to grow your own network of trusted babysitters today.
Need a babysitter in New York City? Curated Care is a babysitting website that takes the worry out of finding childcare. Fully vetted & background checked. Connect with teachers and artists who infuse activities into babysitting time. Book and pay online for an easy, modern experience!
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