Are you in the market for a new babysitter? Read these great tips from Tammy Gold, author of Secrets of the Nanny Whisperer – A Practical Guide for Finding and Achieving the Gold Standard of Care for Your Child:
4 Ways To Get & Make Your Babysitter The Best! By Tammy Gold
It can be very difficult to find the right sitter for your family. Whether it is someone who watches the children once a month or every week, it can be a challenge to know if it is the right fit. Here are 5 tips to make the search a lot easier!
1. Ask the right questions: Although it is wonderful to hear all about the babysitters life and what events she does, you also want to ask the right questions to see if she is a match for your needs. Generic questions pertain to the regular questions that most parents ask when interviewing sitters “do you like children?” “are you familiar with the area?” “have you ever been alone with kids before?” These questions are called “closed ended questions” and they usually refer to experiences in the past. I tell parents to use what I term “Gold Targeted Questions” which are open ended questions (questions that force a longer answer) that take place in the future. Such as “if we left for a movie and our toddler woke up crying can you tell me what you might do?” You want to focus on the right questions about 1. your family needs and 2. situations that may cause problems in the future.
2. Reference Check: If you are hiring a babysitter who will mostly be with the children when they are sleeping, it may seem like a waste of time to check references. However it is definitely worth the 5 minute call to see if there are any red flags or problems which may present themselves down the road. Even if the sitter is a friend’s child or a neighbor, you want to check how they were as a babysitter. Remember they might be the sweetest, nicest child who you may have known for many years, but this does not mean they will be great as a sitter. Asking references: 1. About how the babysitter did at their home with their kids and 2. Then asking the reference how you think the babysitter will do in your home with your children will yield a lot of good information. For example a reference may say “Marni was a wonderful sitter for us, however she was a little immature a couple of times she forgot to feed the kids dinner or put them to bed, which was OK because my kids are 8 and 10 and could get food and shut of their lights themselves, but if you are saying you have an infant who might need a bottle or a diaper change while you are gone, I just don’t think she will have the maturity to experience to handle that.
3. Outline Your Needs Ahead Of Time: Sometimes outlining your needs ahead of time and anticipating any problems can be a very eye opening experience. Initially you might think “I just need a warm body” while we are out, however if you outline what your children might need when your gone, any items that have come up in the past which have caused problems you can help narrow your pool of babysitter candidates and find the right ones who can handle the job. Saying “we have two twins, who have sleep problems and sometimes wet the bed” allows you to explain your needs to the candidates and lets you see which candidates can handle the job. A sitter might say “I have had this before, in the my other family I just help change the sheets, give them a hug and put them back to bed” lets you see this candidate is mature enough to handle something like this. A babysitter who laughs nervously or asks questions that don’t make sense can help highlight immaturity quickly. Also perhaps you have a child with allergies who wakes up with a reaction or a dog who might require a night walk- will allow you to better explain and train the eventual sitter for the job.
4. Create Fun Events & Give Important Information at A Trial: If the children are going to be awake when you leave and you sense any anxiety to a mini “trial” babysitting session before the real one. The sitter can come during the day or perhaps one evening and you can be home or pop in and out so that the children feel more secure. If your children are tough to warm up, arm the babysitter with tools for example if your daughter likes Frozen get a book from the library and give it to the sitter to read to your daughter, if your son loves legos, but is very shy purchase or borrow a new lego kit and have the sitter join your son in building it. Make sure to tell the babysitter what your children like and do not like in regards to foods and events and even actions or feelings. For example “Maya does not like hugs so give her a little space or Mario is terrified of Monsters so if you see any book or show with it on immediately turn the channel and start talking about his upcoming baseball game. The more information you give the babysitter about your children both physically and emotionally before she starts the better she will be able to manage your children. Most parents give an emergency contact number, but there are countless items to share such as “how to soothe someone if they get upset, ways to gently get them to bed, words or topics which may be off limits.” In this case knowledge is defiantly power!
Tammy Gold is a professional parenting coach and nanny who has appeared on The Today Show and Good Morning America. She is the author of “Secrets of the Nanny Whisperer: A Practical Guide for Finding and Achieving the Gold Standard of Care for Your Child.”
Tammy has been gracious enough to offer one lucky reader a paperback copy of her book along with a $35 Amazon Gift Card. Simply enter our giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below and we will choose our winner after 1/31/15. Good luck!