Educational Consumer Tips
Better Business Bureau
Choosing a caregiver to watch your children can be a nerve-racking task. Relying on family members or friends to babysit may not always work out, so it is important to start looking for a responsible caregiver before you need one. Doing so will allow both the children and parents to be comfortable with the babysitter or daycare.
Tips When Hiring Sitting Services:
Ask For Recommendations. Ask friends, family members, and coworkers if they have any suggestions. Inquire about local daycares or facilities they use, which are in a location that will be convenient for you. Also consider looking within organizations you already trust that offer child care services such as your health club or place of worship. There are also a number of websites that help connect parents with potential sitters. These websites typically offer basic background checks and provide profiles of potential sitters listing experience and other specifics. Check any recommended businesses at bbb.org to review their accreditation, ratings, and customer reviews.
Consider the Cost. If you have decided on daycare, calculate the costs involved and the options that are best for your family. Do you get reimbursed for days your child does not attend or days the facility closes? If you’re hiring a sitter, pay them generously and you may be the first call returned. Agree on a rate before they start babysitting.
Ask for References. Ask for a list of references from current or previous families. Call the references and ask about their experience and their child’s experience with the caregiver or services. Remember to visit the facility with your child and spend time talking with the care providers. Watch how the caregivers, parents and children interact. At the end of the visit, if you child is old enough, ask them about their experience to gain insight into whether they enjoyed their time and felt comfortable.
Look at Experience. If you’re hiring a babysitter to come to your home, ask about their previous sitting jobs and the ages of children they have taken care of before. Ask if they have any First Aid or CPR certifications as these can be a big bonus when considering your child’s care and safety. If they do not have certifications, consider recommending they take a class or offer higher pay if they do become certified. When hiring a babysitter, age is another factor to consider. Younger sitters will need to be picked up and dropped off. Older sitters will be able to drive themselves and can pick up your children at various activities.
Give the Sitter a Tour. If the sitter is coming to your home, be sure to give a detailed tour. Point out the exits, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and flashlights in case of emergency. Whether you hire a sitter or bring your child to a daycare facility, always leave a contact list with the person responsible for your child. Make sure the list includes: you or your spouse’s cell phone number, your location, an emergency contact number, the pediatrician’s number, and any food or medicine allergies.
Set Ground Rules. If the sitter will be coming to your home be sure to set expectations with them from the beginning such as no guests, no phone calls or texting (within reason), and no leaving home with the children without permission. Be sure to communicate your children’s routine and offer food and snacks or money to order food for both your children and the sitter.
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