The best sources of child care information are the recommendations of family, friends, and neighbors. You may also advertise in the newspaper or through your local high school, church or civic organization.
Tips for Parents – Finding the Babysitter
Hiring the Babysitter
- Once you have a list of possible sitters, check their references carefully.
- Contact past employers, teacher, relatives, friends or neighbors and ask them about the sitter’s qualifications for child care.
- Interview several prospective sitters personally and observe their interaction with your children.
- Look for mature and responsible people who listen and respond well to your children and appear relaxed and happy with them.
- Outline the duties and responsibilities then discuss an imagined emergency situation and how he/she responds to it.
- When you decide on a sitter who meets your standards, discuss the hours and pay.
- Also write down his/her name, home address and telephone number and , if an adult, their driver’s license number.
- When the Babysitter Arrives Ask him/her to arrive at least 15 minutes before you leave.
- Take the sitter around the house and show him/her any first aid equipment and all doors and possible exits.
- Discuss the rules regarding the television, snacks and bedtime with both the children and the sitter present.
- Other potential situations that may place the sitter and the children in an uncomfortable situation (e.g.. neighborhood crime, street situations, a non-custodial parent, an unfriendly pet at home or nearby) should be discussed.
Babysitter’s Specific Information
- Phone numbers where the parents are going and a reasonable time of when they will return.
- A list of phone numbers for police, fire department, ambulance, and any other important names and numbers beside the phone.
- Include names and phone numbers of neighbors who may be able to assist in an event of an emergency.
- A complete street address of the house and explicit directions of where it is. This is good information to have available should the sitter need to contact the police, fire department or ambulance.
- List any medical problems that may arise and how to deal with them as well as any medicines to give, plus family doctor’s name and phone number.
- Print a copy of the Street Smart Kidz Emergency Phone List and fill it out.
- Discuss rules concerning answering the door or other situations that may place your sitter and the children in an uncomfortable situation. (ie. neighborhood crime, street situations, a non-custodial parent, an unfriendly pet at home or nearby)
Upon Your Return Home
- Ask the sitter if the children are safe and if anything happened; telephone calls, visitors, etc.
- Make sure the sitter is escorted home and wait until he/she is safely inside before you leave.
- Do not hesitate to praise your sitter for a job well done.
- With good pay, good praise and the sitter feeling that they are doing a good job, the safety of your children should increase.
- When the sitter has left, talk to your children about what they did while you were gone such as games they played and other activities.
- Ask your children if anything happened that made them feel uncomfortable or afraid.
Safety Tips for Babysitters
It is extremely important that you take your sitting job very seriously and make a conscientious attempt to take the best care of a family’s most important possession, their children.
- Do not look upon your babysitting time as leisure time for you to invite your friends over or to be constantly on the phone such that the children are left unattended.
- Remember that your first responsibility is to the children you are caring for.
- Lock all the doors when the parents leave.
- Watch the children carefully and keep them away from dangerous objects or chemicals to avoid household accidents.
- Do not permit your friends or guests to visit without permission.
- Do not leave the children alone in the house at any time.
- When the children go to bed they should be checked regularly.
- Stay awake while babysitting.
- If the telephone rings, do not tell the caller that the children are alone with a babysitter. Ask the caller to leave a message.
- Never allow a stranger into the house.
- Do not open the door to anyone unless the parents have given prior permission. Ask to take a message.
- If the children are taken outside in the yard, they must be watched carefully. The parent will let the sitter know who their children may play with or visit.
- If you take the children to a public place watch them carefully and do not allow them to wander. Make sure all the windows and doors are locked before you leave on your outing.
- When you return, if something seems suspicious (broken window or door open) call the police immediately from someone else’s house.
- Arrange transportation to and from your babysitting assignment.
- Do not take a ride home from someone who appears to be under the influence of alcohol.