What is the “perfect babysitter?” Simply put, as a mom, I believe the perfect babysitter is someone who brings joy to your child, keeps him or her safe, and follows the instructions your family has laid out. Oh, and someone who gives you and your spouse a much deserved break!
It can be incredibly difficult to find the right babysitter for your family, but I assure you it is worth the effort. When you see your child interact with a person who makes him or her happy and you feel confident your little one is safe it makes leaving to run those errands, go to work, or enjoy a night on the town unimaginably easier.
Since filling that very important position is not easy, you may have to seek multiple sources. These are all avenues I personally have explored to find a babysitter for my little guy.
The Perfect Babysitter: Who to Ask
If you have family nearby, it can make hunting for the perfect babysitter as easy as picking up the phone. Calling 1-800-Grandma to the rescue is a luxury that some may be fortunate enough to have. Depending on maturity level, your siblings, nieces, nephews, or older children may also be able to fill the role of babysitter.
Referrals from Friends or Coworkers
For many of us, our friends are like family so asking their advice on how to find the perfect babysitter is a wise decision. Does your girlfriend rave about her babysitter? Ask if she’d mind if you borrowed hers. However, exercise “babysitter etiquette” and don’t hog your friend’s caretaker or get upset if she doesn’t want to share. I have learned firsthand people can be a bit territorial when it comes to their babysitter especially when they have found a great one. Who can blame them?
When Marge is out pruning the rose bushes, waltz on over and ask her if she knows of any neighbor girl who babysits. You may discover your perfect babysitter is just two doors down. This is an especially viable option if Marge herself has young children and may on occasion use a babysitter.
Often times local daycare workers are looking to pick up extra hours by babysitting on the side. If you do not currently take your child to a daycare then ask friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers for highly regarded daycares in the neighborhood. You can also do a simple Google search for local daycares but be sure to read the parent reviews before you make that phone call.
If you can find a reliable, trust worthy college student you may have hit the babysitting jackpot. Babysitting is a great job for college students who generally tend to be in need of fast, reliable cash. They are typically great at playing and being goofy which is a big requirement for finding the perfect babysitter.
Consider calling the college or university’s education department to see if there are any students looking for part time work. You could also run an ad in the student newspaper or ask student services if there are any bulletin boards you can put a “want ad” up on.
Though the prospect of hiring a total stranger from a babysitter service to watch your little angel can be a bit scary (trust me I understand), remember babysitting services like Care.com conduct several levels of background checks that would not be completed when you hire your neighbor girl Stacy. Babysitting services are typically very professional and offer you a good selection of candidates to choose from. This process does take time and can be costly, but it can also result in you finding the perfect babysitter for your family.
Be open minded when searching for your perfect babysitter and be willing to explore multiple resources. Of course no one will take care of your child as well as you will and finding the next best person may take some effort and money, but there’s no more important job.
What other suggestions do you have for finding the perfect babysitter? Please share in the comments.
Yes, this is a challenging topic. Thanks for the reminder about using care.com. The services that do the background checks are great. Also my wife and I never considered that local daycares might pickup baby sitting. Just figured that they only would do only care with long term commitments. Will have to check it out. One thing we started was a baby sitting exchange among the moms and dads in our local community. Just trying it out now…