The following baby sitter tips were written by Amy Scholten, MPH; courtesy of www.somersetmedicalcenter.com
If you’re the parent of an infant, young child, or older child, chances are you will need a baby sitter at some point. Perhaps you work outside the home, or maybe you just need to get away for an evening. Whatever your situation, you want to be sure your children are in good hands. A baby sitter can be a big help, as long as you hire someone who is mature, experienced, capable, and who cares about the welfare of your children.
Your first challenge is recruiting a potential babysitter. Here are some ideas:
• Start looking for a sitter early. If you wait until the last minute, you may not be as discriminating in your choice.
• Ask family, friends, neighbors or coworkers if they know of any good baby sitters.
• Advertise for a baby sitter in your local church, civic organizations, high school, or newspaper.
• Find certified baby sitters in classes conducted by your local Red Cross or YMCA
• Check your phonebook or internet for baby sitting services. Here are some things to keep in mind:
° Services with an insurance bond will cover certain damages or losses to your property; however, most are not likely to protect your children in any way.
° Check to see if the sitting service conducts criminal history checks and screens its employees.
Once you have a list of possible babysitters, you can begin the screening process:
Check references carefully. Contact previous employers, teachers, neighbors, and relatives and ask them about the candidate’s qualifications as a baby sitter.
Interview potential sitters. Look for candidates that are responsible, honest, patient, positive, competent and caring. Here are some questions you may want to ask:
• How long have you been baby sitting?
• What age groups have you worked with?
• Do you know cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the Heimlich maneuver?
• Have you taken any baby sitting training or first aid courses?
• What days and hours are you available to sit?
Also remember to ask the candidate how he or she would handle a difficult situation, an emergency, an illness, or poor behavior from your child (look for ideas that are positive and helpful), and allow the candidate time to ask you questions.
Observe sitters. You want a sitter with whom you and your children will be comfortable. You should observe their interactions with you and your children. Here are some tips:
• Choose a sitter with whom you can relate — someone who shares your ideas about taking care of children and with whom you can be frank.
• Choose a sitter who loves children and relates well to them. The sitter should:
° Give children plenty of attention and enjoy playing with them
° Use a gentle tone of voice
° Smile and laugh with children
° Use positive ways to help children behave (not hitting, slapping, shouting at or scaring them)
° Keep the child comfortable and clean
Consider the age of the potential sitter. In terms of the baby-sitter’s age, here are some things to consider:
• What is the age of the child or the ages of the children for which the sitter will be responsible? In general, the younger the child, the older the sitter should be. For example, you probably wouldn’t want a 12- or 13-year-old taking care of a child under age three.
• How long will the sitter need to watch your children? If an overnight stay is required, the sitter should be older.
• Many capable baby-sitters are preteens or young teens. However, if your sitter is under the age of 16 and something happens to your children while you are away, you are legally responsible.
When the Sitter Arrives
Have the sitter arrive 15 minutes before you leave. Make sure the sitter knows:
• Where you can be reached (address, phone number, pager number)
• Rules about meals, play, TV, computer time, friends, etc.
• General safety guidelines including important names and phone numbers, potential hazards, how to bathe and change the child (if appropriate), and how to handle emergencies
• How to keep indoor play areas safe
• How to keep outdoor play areas safe
Talk to Your Children
You should talk to your children before the sitter comes and after he or she leaves (or the next day, if they are asleep). Before the sitter arrives, you should remind your children about safety instructions, their rights, and what behaviors are not appropriate. After the sitter leaves, ask your children about what they did while you were gone, what games they played, and if anything happened that made them feel uncomfortable or afraid. Ask them if they liked the baby sitter.
Hope the above baby sitter tips helps when you need a baby sitter service. You can find more baby sitter tips here.
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