How to make your babysitting experience great
Photo courtesy of Rocket City Sitters
Leaving your child with a babysitter can be difficult for both you and your child. Several factors go into choosing the sitter that best fits your family’s needs. Finding the right sitter will ensure that everyone in your family has a positive experience.
Many parents choose to have a family member stay with their child. Since parents and children are more familiar with family members, they tend to be more comfortable with them. However, situations arise when family members are unable to babysit, so parents must look for other options.
Whether going through a babysitting agency or just using a friend’s sitter, making sure the sitter is qualified will help ease your mind when leaving your child in someone else’s care.
Most importantly, you should feel comfortable when you talk to the sitter. If the first impression is not good, you are unlikely to ever feel completely at ease with them as a sitter.
Make sure the sitter has experience with other children in your child’s age range. Even though a sitter might be very comfortable with toddlers, this does not necessarily mean he/she has experience with infants. Ask the sitter if she is CPR and First Aid certified for infants and children, so that if an emergency arises, he/she will have the knowledge to handle the situation.
The sitter should be able to give you several quality references of families he/she has cared for in the past, so talk to other families who have used the sitter to find out if they are happy with the level of care provided. Performing a background check (with the potential sitter’s permission) can also help put your mind at ease.
Once you have determined that the sitter is qualified, you should observe how the sitter and your child interact with each other. Having the sitter spend time with your child while you are at home can let you see how they get along. You could have the sitter come over early while you are getting ready, or even have him/her visit the night before to walk her through your child’s bedtime routine.
If your child has any special needs or medical concerns, be sure the sitter is aware of how to handle them. Make sure the sitter also knows which toy is your child’s favorite or where his comfort item is located to help calm him down if he/she becomes upset.
It is just as important to familiarize the sitter with your home. When giving the sitter a tour of your home, mention the rules of the house, including off-limits areas, point out where the phone is located and how to handle incoming calls, show the sitter how to operate the security system and identify the location of the first-aid kit and fire extinguisher. Leave a list of contact information, and tell the sitter if you plan to call to check-in while you are out.
If you are still having a difficult time leaving your child or if you think your child will have a hard time without you, start by just leaving for a short period of time. Run a few errands or just go out for dinner. When everyone is comfortable, try a longer night out.
Although the first time leaving your child in someone else’s care can be hard, it can also be a rewarding and exciting experience. It is healthy for parents to take time for themselves and for children to spend time away from their parents. By finding the right sitter, you can make sure that both you and your children have a great experience.
Adrienne Stephens is an owner of Rocket City Sitters, an award-winning Huntsville, Ala.- area business that connects local families with experienced, certified babysitters. All Rocket City Sitters are infant and child CPR and First Aid certified, have several years of childcare experience, are at least 18 years old with their own transportation and have passed a thorough background and reference check. Created in 2009, Rocket City Sitters was awarded the Madison Chamber of Commerce Start-Up of the Year Award in 2010 and the Women’s Business Center of North Alabama’s Start-up of the Year Award in 2011.
As of March 28, 2012, this service provider was highly rated on Angie’s List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check AngiesList.com for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie’s List.