How to Find a Babysitter

Tips for Finding a Babysitter You Trust

Leaving your little one with a babysitter can be scary, but thoroughly screening potential candidates helps you find a good match.

You desperately want some time out of the house, but it’s not easy to leave your little one with someone else. After all, no one cares for your baby quite like you do. It’s understandable to be nervous about using a babysitter, especially if you’re a new parent. But doing your research helps you find the best candidate, so you can actually relax a little while you’re away.

Ways to Find a Babysitter

If you don’t have family in the area, it can be a challenge to find babysitter with whom you feel comfortable. Getting recommendations from people you know helps you create a list of potential caregivers. Find potential babysitters through these sources:

  • Friends with kids
  • Neighbors
  • Colleagues
  • Church members or members of other groups you attend
  • Day care employees
  • Local mom groups
  • Online through Care.com, Sittercity.com and similar services

Tips for Choosing the Right Babysitter

Think about the type of babysitter you want. You should expect someone with experience caring for kids. The babysitter should also enjoy kids and seem enthusiastic about the gig. Age is another consideration. Some parents are OK with teenagers watching their kids, but others prefer someone older. If you have a newborn, stick with someone who is experienced and understands the special needs of a young baby.

Start by screening potential candidates, so you don’t waste your time on someone who isn’t a match. Check his or her qualifications to see if the person matches your criteria for a babysitter. Once you identify a few potential candidates, call each one to set up an interview. Have questions ready to ask about qualifications such as experience and the babysitter’s method for handling a variety of potential situations. This is also a good time to evaluate the potential babysitter’s interactions with your kids. Is it a natural fit? Do your kids respond well? Does the babysitter seem to know what she’s doing?

Choosing the best person for the job often comes down to trusting your gut. If something just doesn’t seem right about a babysitter, trust yourself and look for someone different. If your kids are old enough, ask them what they think before you choose someone. Talk to them after the babysitting experience to get their feedback.

Finding a Babysitter for a Child With Special Needs

If you have a child with special needs, it may seem almost impossible to get away even for a short time. Finding a caregiver who is experienced with children who have special needs can be a lifesaver when you have things you need to do.

Start with the connections you already have. If your child receives special services or therapy, ask for recommendations. Some of the people who already work with your child may be willing to provide occasional babysitting services. You can also check with your child’s regular day care providers since they’re already familiar with her situation.

If you know other local parents of kids with special needs, consider setting up a babysitting co-op. You can swap babysitting services with other parents with the peace of mind of knowing your child is with another parent who understands his needs.

Sometimes you may have to rely on a caregiver you don’t already know. Look for someone with specific experience in working with kids who have special needs. Check for CPR and first-aid training. Someone with a medical or patient care background can be beneficial if your child has special medical needs.

Interview potential candidates with specific questions relating to your child’s needs. These questions let you know if the person has the experience needed to care for your child. Check references to verify that the information the person provides is accurate.

×