Most parents need to consider hiring a babysitter to take care of children at some point. For first-time parents, this is an emotional time.
They're trusting their child to a relative stranger in many cases. It's not just the emotional toll; the cost of a babysitter also plays a significant factor.
Here are some suggestions on how to find a great babysitter, things to consider, and what to pay them.
3 Ways to Find a Great Babysitter
Referrals, other institutions, and agencies are three excellent ways to find the right sitter.
1. Referrals From Other Parents
By far, the easiest way to find a great babysitter is to ask around. Other parents have already done the legwork and may be able to recommend more than one.
Remember, not everyone will be compatible, and a great person to one might not be the best match for another.
2. Places They're Already Doing It
Professional babysitters often have day jobs at schools, daycare centers, hospitals, and places of worship.
It's worth speaking to these people and seeing if they're available after hours to babysit for you. More often than not, they've already been security-checked, so safety is assured.
3. Websites and Agencies
There are numerous sitter websites out there. The good news is that most do security checks on the applicants. Sites are great for reading reviews and matching personalities and types of people being sought. Nanny agencies are also an option. Like a match-making service, they do their best to find the right person to suit every situation.
These are the most expensive options as you pay the agencies' commission.
Additional Things to Consider
Here are other things to remember when choosing the right babysitter.
If the babysitter has come from an agency or a registered daycare service, they'll already have this. Others may provide their own; if not, numerous background check sites are available. Results usually appear in a few minutes, even with the most basic bits of information.
The Professionalism of the Sitter
How well does the babysitter present themselves? Do they dress appropriately, watch their language in front of the children, and act polite and respectful?
Being on time is an excellent character assessment. Naturally, unavoidable things happen, but if lateness is constant, it may indicate that they're not committed to the task. Consistent family emergencies or other actions causing them to leave early also show a lack of dedication.
Be wary of older teenagers or young adults with a boyfriend or girlfriend. They may take advantage of the situation to invite their partner over, and this activity may lead to them taking their focus off their primary task.
Connection With the Children
They may have every security clearance available and get the best reviews from everyone. But it's unlikely to work out if the kids don't like them.
Of course, some children may deliberately dislike anyone who isn't their parents, but it will still be possible to see if the rejection is sincere or fabricated.
What to Pay
You get what you pay for, so don't be stingy in this department. The average cost for a babysitter in the US in 2021 was $15 per hour, and the rate fluctuates from state to state and the child's age.
Babysitters of under twos tend to expect more, while those taking care of teens might accept slightly less.
Finding a Great Babysitter is a Breeze
Finding the right babysitter is easy, starting with friends and other parents in the neighborhood. Failing that, schools, hospitals, and daycare center workers may be interested.
Once the potential sitter has been found, do your own background check if they aren't from an agency. Be sure they're professional, interact well with the children, and display commitment.
Finally, ensure they're paid what they're worth. Consider paying slightly more if they're exceptionally great and should be kept around.
There you have it, straightforward, right?