For many parents, finding a great babysitter is harder than it looks. With all the horror stories parents hear about bad babysitters, it can be difficult to find someone you actually trust.
Many teens babysit as a way to make some extra cash, and more often than not, a responsible teen is a great option for a babysitter for your children. The following are some tips for finding a great teen babysitter.
Know where to look.
Don’t advertise for a babysitter in the newspaper or online classifieds. Instead, ask for recommendations from people in your neighborhood, workplace, or church. In addition, ask around to see if your friends have teens that would be willing to babysit on occasion.
In addition, another great place to look for teen babysitters are those who have taken Safe Sitter or equivalent courses from the Red Cross or local YMCA. This training helps teens know how to handle an emergency when babysitting, which could be the difference between life and death in the event something goes wrong. Call your local branches to see if they keep any updated lists of available sitters.
If you do find a sitter through these means, make sure you check references. Ask the people recommending them what they like or didn’t like about the sitter; they may think she was great, when in fact you’re looking for different qualities.
Make sure the sitter is comfortable with your kids.
Consider having your sitter come over for a “trial” run before you actually hire her for a real job. Let her watch your children while you are still home so you can casually observe how she interacts with them. Or, interview her before you hire her and let her meet your kids.
In addition, you’ll want to make sure she is comfortable with each of your children, not just certain age groups. She may be great with your preschool aged children but have no clue how to change a diaper. Or, she might want to spend the whole time playing with and holding the baby while ignoring older children. Make sure she is capable and comfortable around each child or at least each age group, if you don’t do a trial run.
Find someone with experience.
You wouldn’t hire someone who had never picked up a hammer to build your house, so why would you hire someone with no experience to watch your kids? Look for someone who has experience babysitting, whether it’s younger siblings or the children of friends, to watch your kids. This way, she will be better equipped to handle any of the surprises that your children might throw at her.
While it’s not something that all teens know, you should seriously consider hiring someone who is CPR certified. At the very least, you will want someone who knows what to do if an infant or child is choking as well as basic first aid, such as how to stop bleeding and how to disinfect and bandage a cut.
Finding a great teen babysitter is something you should take time to do; after all, you are entrusting her with your most precious cargo. Be sure to ask for recommendations; interview her, and see how she acts with your kids, and above all, trust your instincts and you will be able to find a great teen babysitter.