Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ready To Hire A Babysitter? Here's How

Recently I was blessed to find myself sitting in a pedicure chair next to my best friend, chatting away while our feet were massaged by professionals – such a luxury! That experience was worth every penny, as, being almost eight months pregnant, getting to my toes with any sort of grace is no longer possible.

During our conversation, my friend asked when I first left my child with a babysitter. My husband and I, like my friend, are fortunate enough to have relatives close by with whom we feel completely comfortable leaving our daughter. We haven’t yet had to hire a babysitter that’s not a relative.

As our polish was applied, my friend and I further discussed the matter. How do you find a reliable, in-home babysitter?

I decided to do a bit of research, as I am thinking about hiring a neighborhood girl to come over and play with my daughter this summer while I’m at home tending to our newborn. What expectations should I have? What sort of qualifications do babysitters need to realistically have, especially when they are usually teenagers that live down the block?

Real Simple’s Jenny Rosenstrach offers invaluable tips in her article, “How To Prepare for a Babysitter.” It even includes a link to a babysitter-hiring checklist.

Moms on also have great advice:
  • have a get-to-know you session with the prospective sitter and your child so that you can make sure they “click”
  • make it clear they are not to be on the cell phone while on the job
  • provide firm instructions on what to do if they can’t get your child to eat his meal or take a nap
  • ask for references and actually call them!
  • and don’t be afraid to take your time making a decision.
There are great resources for finding a babysitter online as well. Check out this video from Parents tv.

Do you have any tips? Please share them with me! I’ve got just a few months left to find someone reliable, affordable and fun!


  1. Ask around--a good rec from a trusted friend can help make it easier to make the leap to having a non-family member watch your child.

  2. I have no local family for childcare help, so it's been a challenge. I asked my close neighbors and my previous care providers for referrals. Also, I checked out local church flyers and other childcare associations, such as Bright from the Start, and for information and suggestions. I even found my daughter's "nana" by putting a flyer around our neighborhood. Good luck:)