13 Tips for Hiring a Babysitter
If you’ve got children of any age, you’re probably in need of a night off once in a while. You totally deserve a date night, a morning coffee meet up, or an afternoon of kid-free errands! But, leaving the house without your children means hiring a babysitter, and that can be a stressful process.
Whether you’re hiring a babysitter for the first time or the hundredth time, you know it’s tough. It’s scary to leave your kiddos with someone other than you! Luckily, we’ve got 13 pro tips to help you find the perfect sitter.
You’ll have peace of mind knowing the kids are well taken care of AND peace of heart as you enjoy a few hours without the constant questions and the dirty diapers. Here’s our roundup of tips:
13 Tips for Hiring a Babysitter
Consider your children’s ages and needs.
Your children’s ages and needs are an important first factor to consider when hiring a sitter. In most ways, a newborn is going to be a lot more work than a nine-year-old. A child with a lot of medical needs will have its own challenges. Older children with busy schedules can be difficult as well! This is why it’s important to think through your kids’ ages and needs before seeking out a sitter.
Other things to consider are whether you need them full time or part time, or during daytime or nighttime hours. Putting kids to bed, making meals, and running daily errands make a taller order for your sitter. Before you hire someone, you want to make sure they’d be a good fit for your family’s specific needs!
Set your budget.
Setting your budget for a sitter isn’t a simple task! Consider again what you’re asking them to do during their time. Higher needs might require higher rates. Then, think about what you’re willing to pay for. Older sitters with lots of experience and credentials are going to cost more than a high schooler. Conversely, you may have a family member willing to do it cheaper than the average rate!
Once you know the type of person you want to hire, look into average babysitter costs in your area. You can ask what these rates are in a mom group or get quotes from a variety of babysitters. You’ll find where the industry trends and you can set the rate you’re willing to pay in that range.
Go over car seat safety and driving expectations.
Even if you don’t need your sitter to run errands or take your children to appointments, still go over car seat safety. You never know when an emergency may force your sitter and children out of the house! And, if you do want your sitter to take your kids all around town to the park, to practice, or the pool, going over car seat safety is even more important!
Start with how to properly fasten children into a car seat. Then, confirm your sitter knows to avoid common distractions, prevent hot car deaths, and maintain safety in parking lots. Of course, go over sleep safety basics with your sitter too. This goes for the car seat and your home!
Review all other house rules and expectations.
Every household has different rules. Make it clear to your sitter what your expectations and rules are within your home. Some people wear shoes in the house. Not everyone limits screen time. There are parents totally fine with roughhousing. Because of the variations from house-to-house, make your home boundaries clear!
Weigh the sitter’s age and experience with your wish list.
Before you go deeper into your hiring journey, come up with your ideal sitter age and experience-level. You now know your budget and what you want, so it’s time to choose the age and background of your sitter.
Maybe you think an inexpensive high schooler will be more than enough. Or, maybe you want someone with an extensive resume and more maturity. The choice is yours! Just remember that you’ll most likely pay a higher price for experience!
Make an emergency reference form.
Emergencies can happen, and you don’t want to leave your sitter with no resources. Ensure they have your number, your spouse’s number, and other emergency contacts. Provide them with the number for poison control, list allergies the children have, note where the fire extinguishers are, and communicate any other emergency information your sitter may require! (But, hopefully, they won’t need it.)
Get recommendations from a reputable source.
To locate your potential sitter, ensure you’re looking at a reputable source. A local mom group, online agencies, and recommendations from close friends or family members are all great ways of finding sitters! Most importantly, just sure you have trusted voices affirming your decision to hire that sitter.
Interview them and ask hard questions.
Interview your sitter! Even if it’s just through a video call. This will help you get a sense of their personality and allow you to ask questions related to your family specifically. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions about their experience, their comfort level with certain challenges, and their future background check. You can find some great interview questions here!
Look them up on social media.
If someone is going to watch your child, you need to know how they present themselves online. This will give you a good understanding of their maturity, priorities, and true personality. So, even if the interview goes great, look the sitter up on Instagram or TikTok and confirm they align with your values and expectations.
Run a background check and contact references.
Next, run a background check and contact their references. Spending time doing this may seem unnecessary, but it’s a step you DO NOT want to skip. This takes away your reliance on intuition and blind trust. Instead, you can set your confidence on facts from their background check, motor vehicle report, and reviews from past clients!
Confirm they know CPR or pay for a course.
Every child care provider should know CPR. Ask your sitter if they’ve been certified, and if they haven’t, pay for training. There are in-person trainings all over the country, but you can also access instant online training. Whatever you do, don’t let CPR certifications be optional. It’s a simple skill that could save your child’s life.
Set up monitoring equipment.
This one might seem intrusive, but it’s your house! Let your sitter know you’ll be recording, and don’t feel guilty for monitoring things. This will keep the sitter accountable and give you a way to protect your child from afar. You could skip this tip if you wanted, but if having a sitter is leaving you anxious, this can really help!
Make things as easy as possible for the sitter.
Making things easy for the sitter gives you and the child care provider confidence everything will go smoothly. Set out necessary diapers, clothes, snacks, and other supplies, so your sitter can easily access the things they need without digging and hunting around your home.
It might also be a good idea to go with frozen pizza over a homemade meal. And, perhaps skip the complex evening routine. Brush those teeth and get to bed! This will reduce conflicts and challenges for your sitter, which will make you, the babysitter, and your kids happier!
Do a trial run.
If you’re still unsure, do a trial run. Have your sitter come over while you’re home. You can get some housework done, enjoy a book, or even catch a nap! You’ll still be close by if things don’t go well, and you can observe how he or she interacts with your children. Hopefully, after this process, you’ll be 100% certain of your sitter choice!
Hiring a babysitter can be stressful, but with these tips you can have peace of mind that you made the right hiring choice!
No one will ever care for your child like you do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great sitter! It’ll take some time to find the right child care provider for your family, and that’s okay. With this much vetting, you can actually enjoy your day out. You’ll know your child is safe and well cared for with your new babysitter. Follow these tips and tricks to find a good fit for your family!
For more parenting and safety advice, browse all our blog articles. We’ve got tons of content that’ll help you make the best decisions for your children to keep your child safe—whether that be in the car or in the home! Safe in the Seat is committed to providing trusted safety information to give you deeper peace of mind. What are you waiting for? Schedule that date night!