Hiring a babysitter isn’t as simple as it once was. Previous generations just called the teenager down the street, and parents never thought about background checks, social media postings, or CPR training. Today, it is important to interview a potential sitter and do a thorough background check before leaving your children in her care.
Teenagers vs. Nannies
If you are only looking for someone to watch your children while you go out for the evening, a teenager babysitter is still an excellent choice. If you are looking for daytime childcare while you are at work, a professional nanny is what you need. Either way, a complete background check is necessary. Check out social media sites to see what the candidate posts. By looking at their social media postings, you will get a good idea of the sitter’s opinions and lifestyle. Don’t stop at just a Google check. If you are hiring a professional nanny, make sure you do a professional background check.
Investigate Resumes and References
Image via Flickr by Arild Langtind
Next, go over the sitter’s resume and references. Require the candidate to give you three references, at least two of them previous employers. Call the references, and ask any relevant questions including how the children felt about the person. When interviewing a teenager, references from teachers or camps where they have counseled are great resources. When speaking with references, be candid and let them know you are considering hiring this person to take care of your children.
If the resume lists employers without references, you can call them and verify that the sitter did work there and the dates of employments. Remember, you are hiring this person to do a job and conduct the interview in a professional manner. An hour is an unreasonable amount of time for the interview. Let your children visit with the sitter for the last 20 minutes of the interview and see how they react to the candidate. Also, make sure you have a written job description so the person knows what you expect of them.
Setting the Rules
Once you decide on a perfect candidate, go over all your rules before the first time she takes care of your children. Make sure the babysitter understands her first priority is the safety of your children. Don’t be afraid to tell your sitter to leave their phone at home or at least, not to post to social media while they are in your house. Teenagers, especially, are easily distracted by texts and posts.
Explain emergency procedures, and make sure the sitter knows of any allergies your children have and what to do if an allergic reaction occurs. Write out where you will be and how to contact you. Make sure the sitter knows bedtimes, computer, or television rules, and what your children can eat and drink. Tell the babysitter to keep all doors and windows locked.
Your children’s safety and care are most important, so make sure before you hire a babysitter that you do your job and thoroughly check out a potential sitter. That way you will have peace of mind when you are away from home.