Hiring a babysitter can be an arduous process – how do you trust a complete stranger to look after your little ones? With the stories we hear nowadays, hiring an external care provider can seem scary. However, the reality is, it is often a necessity. Here is the ultimate babysitter background checklist to ensure the highest possible level of safety when hiring someone to look after the littlest members of the family. We suggest ensuring you are able to answer the following questions before entrusting your kids with your chosen babysitter.
1. Start With The Source: Where Did You Find Them?
There seem to be no shortage of websites claiming to be reliable means of finding a babysitter. So how do you know which ones to trust?
Your first port of call is counter-intuitive in this day and age – start off-line! Search within your community through word of mouth to see if anyone is looking for a babysitting gig, or if any fellow parents can recommend one to you. Great places to look include local schools, where older students may be looking for after school work, neighbours or even other colleagues who have young children as well.
If you’ve tried and tested the above methods to no avail, you may have to take your search online. It’s important that you use search engines to thoroughly research which agencies are reliable enough to use when finding a sitter. Yes, a quick google search might be easier. No, it’s not worth the risk just to save some time.
2. Do They Have A Good Track Record?
Whichever way you find your babysitter, references are a crucial element of the fact-finding mission. Previous employers’ reviews are fairly indicative of how you can expect the babysitter in question to perform.
Don’t settle for a couple of reference letters – get those contacts and call them up for a conversation (better yet, a coffee in person!) People fake references more than you know, so do all you can to ascertain if they have the experience they say they do.
Here are some good points to bring up with references:
- Verify details of employment type, duration etc.
- Ask specific details of childcare (age of kids, description of duties etc.)
- Strengths/weaknesses overall.
- What did the children say?
- What ended the term of employment? (if not ongoing)
3. Does The Paperwork Check Out?
Once you’ve checked on reliability and character of your intended babysitter, it’s time to move on to the fine print. There are a few documents they should have readily on hand to make the decision to hire them significantly easier.
- Valid driver’s license – both for identity and safety’s sake. You may not require your babysitter to drive, but it’s a useful skill to have in an emergency.
- Working with Children Check – Tutors, teachers, coaches all have them and so should any babysitter you employ. Advise interested candidates to look into applying on your state government’s website.
- National Police Check – this is an essential step in ensuring the candidate does not have a criminal background or any suspicious behaviour that may deter you from hiring them.
4. Are They A Cut Above The Rest?
Now you have the basics covered, and identity has been verified – what skills can a potential sitter have that makes them shine? Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
- First/Aid CPR qualifications – this is always handy to have and gives you faith that your chosen babysitter could handle an unexpected health emergency of your child.
- Artistic/Creative inclinations – ideally you want your child to be having fun after school. A babysitter with a keen interest or background in music, drama, dance or crafts is likely to bring those skills to their time with your little one.
- Language skills – some parents opt for an au pair from another country as a fantastic means for building your young one’s language repertoire with ease. This is also a budget-friendly option.
5. Let’s Not Forget The Fur Babies
To many, our pets are our children – so let’s not leave fur babies out of this equation. Websites such as Mad Paws are great for finding a pet sitter you love, as they include lots of information about potential employees – including national police checks etc. A lot of the same information applies, whether you’re looking for a pet or babysitter – in both scenarios you are allowing a new person into your house to take care of a loved one.
There you have it – now you’re equipped to begin your search for the perfect sitter to fill your family’s needs. For some people, babysitters are the right option. For others, depending on your work situation, you may want to look into childcare care centres as an alternatives Everyone has different priorities, and remember that other requirements aside, it’s so important to find carers who ‘click’ with your little one.