When searching for someone to look after your child, you want to make sure you find the best person. You may have several questions and considerations, and want more than a babysitter who simply likes kids. You want to know that your child’s caregiver will keep them safe, happy, and well taken care of.
Here are some characteristics to keep in mind when looking for a babysitter.
- Experience with children. Ask about specific experience your potential babysitter has with children in the same age group as yours. The younger your child is, the more experience a caregiver should have.
- Knowledge about children. Basic understanding of the practical aspects of caring for a child (such as diapering and feeding) and child development work in tandem with experience to create a trustworthy babysitter.
- Training in basic first aid. Many parents want a caregiver who can perform basic infant and child first aid and CPR if necessary. Additionally, your local hospital, Red Cross branch, or YMCA may provide information on babysitters who have completed this training.
- Safety-conscious. What is your potential babysitter’s attitude toward safety? Will they hold your child’s hand when crossing the street? Do they ensure that your child is playing with age-appropriate toys? Do they understand your child’s allergies or medication? Ensure the babysitter’s practices towards child safety align with your own.
- Responsibility. Whether you’re meeting friends for dinner or taking a couple of hours to run errands, it’s important that your babysitter is someone who you can depend on. Look for a babysitter who respects your time, your home, and the most important aspects of caring for your child.
- Good judgment and problem-solving skills. You know that life with children can be unpredictable, and a good babysitter is able to adapt to changing conditions. Look for a babysitter who can confidently handle issues that may arise, such as a fight between siblings over a toy, or a toddler who refuses to eat their lunch.
- Appropriate communication with you. A good babysitter works with you to ensure your child is happy and healthy. Look for a babysitter who makes an effort to keep parents informed of any issues that arise, and gives general updates about the time spent with their child.
- A bond with your child. The most qualified babysitter in your area likely won’t work out if they don’t connect with your child. A connection will take time, but you can look for a babysitter whose personality is likely to mesh well with your child’s.
When searching for a good babysitter, ask friends and other parents for recommendations to help you narrow down your options. Your child’s daycare center may also have suggestions. You might consider starting out by hiring your prospective babysitter for an hour while you do tasks around the house. This trial run can help you assess their abilities and observe how they interact with your child. This can help you gain confidence that you have found a good babysitter who you can trust to care for your child.