The first time we hired a babysitter for our girls I didn’t really know what the norm was. I remember texting my friend and asking her how things worked with her babysitter. How much do I pay them? Do I leave dinner? Do I make a list?
Our babysitter Melissa, is actually one of Ava’s former teachers. She had Ava in her class when she was a baby and again when she was two years old. She’s AMAZING! We are so lucky to have her.
Melissa has a lot of experience with babysitting so I asked her for her input on what babysitters really wish parents knew.
ONE. Make a list of anything you want them to know.
Include your child’s routines, schedules, meal times, food, bedtimes, how to reach you, etc. It’s better for them to have a list, then for them to feel like they have to bug you the whole time you’re out.
TWO. Word of mouth is the best referral.
Ask around for a good sitter. Ask a friend/teacher/church for a good sitter. We asked one of Ava’s former teachers if she was interested in babysitting. She said yes and has been such a blessing ever since!
THREE. Get to know them.
Set up an interview and pay attention to your child’s cues and how the sitter interacts with your children. If you’re interviewing a babysitter and your children act very different around them then that could be a red flag. You always want your kids to feel comfortable with the sitter. If they’re anxious or fidgety or crying more than usual then they may not be your best choice. Also pay attention to how the sitter interacts with your kids’ ages before deciding to hire them. Some sitters are great with babies while others might thrive with older children
FOUR. Leave all important contact information.
Leave your numbers and ask them to text or call with any questions. Also leave emergency numbers. It’s nice for them to know it’s ok for them to contact you with any questions.
FIVE. Ask how much they charge per hour. Don’t assume.
Don’t assume how much they charge per hour, especially for close friends or people you know. Make sure to ask. If you have more than one child ask how much per hour, per child. Have this figured out BEFORE they come so there is no guessing on either side.
SIX. Set clear expectations.
Let the sitter know what the kids can and can’t do while you’re gone. Are you okay with the children having screen time? Do you want them to play outside or play with toys? I love the idea of having a house rules and information sheet on the fridge or counter for the sitter. Remember, every house is different and has different rules and expectations. Don’t ever assume the sitter will know how you run your house.
SEVEN. Keep hours reasonable.
If it’s a younger babysitter try to keep the hours short. You don’t want to overwhelm them. If it’s a more experienced and older babysitter then you should be comfortable with leaving them for longer amounts of time.
EIGHT. Tell them when you’re going to be home and stick to it.
Give them a specific time that you will arrive home and try not to be late. If you’re stuck in traffic contact them and let them know.
NINE. Ask how the kids were.
This makes it easier for the sitter to tell you how your kids really were. If you don’t ask, then some babysitters might not feel comfortable letting you know that your child had a hard time that day or didn’t follow directions well, etc.
TEN. Remember you’re the employer.
This is something I struggle with when dealing with babysitters, but bottom line is they’re watching your precious children. It’s important not to be timid about communicating your rules and expectations. I also think it helps them to have a clear understanding and makes them feel more comfortable to know, than for them to just guess or assume.
BONUS! Offer dinner or snacks.
Offering or having some snacks or their favorite drink in the fridge is a plus but not a necessity. It’s nice to offer but not a requirement since you’re already paying them. I always like to offer or tell them to feel free to eat whatever, because I want them to feel welcomed…and come back. Haha!
I hope you learned as much as I did from these tips. If anything, these are good reminders of how important it is to keep our sitters happy in their work environment. After all, you always want a good sitter to return!