Follow these six steps to locate a babysitter that’s a good fit for your family.
People often ask me how to hire the perfect babysitter. Helping people find great child care is what inspired me to build Care.com. I was in college when I had my first son, and my husband and I needed quality care in order to continue our educations. So I understand the importance of having trusted child care when you can’t be there.
What makes a babysitter perfect, though, is unique for each family. But no matter what you’re looking for, following these six steps can help you find the perfect person for your family:
1. Make a list. Write down the skills you’d like the care provider to have (sports, math, art), what you’ll need done (cooking, homework help, carpooling) and the experience and education you prefer. Also, ask other parents what they looked for in their nanny.
2. Write and post an ad online. When putting together a job description, explain your needs and what you’re looking for in an ideal candidate. The more specific you are, the better the matches you’ll receive.
3. Categorize candidates. Once the responses start to come in, sort through them by first setting aside those who aren’t a good fit, and classify the rest as a favorite or a maybe.
4. Interview your favorites. Invite the three top candidates for an in-person interview someplace quiet and away from home. Finally, invite the care provider(s) you liked from the first interview to spend time with your kids and see how they connect.
5. Check references and background information. I recommend running a backgroundcheck in addition to calling all references. Also, consider asking for more references than initially
provided, to reach a wider range of sources. Speaking with a teacher or boss from an unrelated job, for example, can often give a fuller picture of a persons maturity.
6. Hire. Hire your favorite applicant before someone else does
Tip:Babysitters typically work for a family on occasion, while nannies usually provide more full-time help. Even when parents only need regular part-time help throughout the week,it’s still usually best to seek a part-time nanny. Learn your neighborhoods going rate by asking trusted friends who have hired nannies in your area.
Tip: Be sure to check in on your new hire a few times (even unannounced) just to make sure everyone’s happy.
Child care check list
Make a list of all these items and place it where your nanny or sitter can easily reference it:
- Your children’s full names
- Your address and home phone number, including the ZIP code and cross streets
- Contact information for parents and/or guardians, including work and cellphone numbers
- Pediatricians name, phone number and address
- Dentists and orthodontists name, phone number and address
- Drug and food allergies, including warning signs of an attack and what to do if the child is having an allergic reaction
- Medical conditions, including symptoms to be aware of
- Current medications, just in case a nanny or sitter has to tell a medical professional in your absence
- Health insurance info, including the policy number, subscribers name and phone number
- Emergency contacts, in case parents or guardians can’t be reached
Sheila Lirio Marcelo is the founder and CEO of Care.com, the largest online care destination in the world with 7 million members in more than 15 countries.